The Mariamman Temple is a Hindu Temple in Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, located near to Ben Thanh Market.
Gopuram above the entrance to the Mariamman Temple
The Mariamman Temple is open from 07:00 to 19:00 every day and admission is free, although you will be asked to take your shoes off when you enter the temple.
About Mariamman Temple
The Mariamman Temple was constructed in the late 19th Century by immigrants from Tamil Nadu in India. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Mariamman, also sometimes written as Maariamma. Mariamman is a fertility goddess widely worshipped in South India and believed by some to be an incarnation of goddesses worshipped in other parts of India such as Kali, Parvati and Durga.
Inside the Mariamman Temple
Migrants from Tamil Nadu have constructed temples to the Goddess Mariamman all over South East Asia. There are, for example, temples to Mariamman in every state in Peninsula Malaysia, most notable of which is the Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur. As well as being the goddess of fertility, Mariamman is also believed by many South Indians to have the ability to cure them of disease and to be the protector of Hindus travelling abroad.
Main shrine at the Mariamman Temple
The most striking feature of the Mariamman Temple is the gopuram tower which is constructed above the main entrance to the temple. A ‘gopuram’ is a classic feature of temple architecture in Tamil Nadu state and is a tower with representations of Hindu gods and important characters from Hindu mythology built into the structure. The gopuram tower at the Mariamman Temple in Ho Chi Minh City is 12 metres tall and features a number of different Hindu gods represented by colourful statues.
Secondary shrine at the Mariamman Temple
Inside the Mariamman Temple is a large square room. In the centre of the room is the main shrine to the Goddess Mariamman. In the relief above the shrine the seated goddess is flanked by Ganesh and Naaga, as she is traditionally depicted in the shaktha agamas.
Vietnamese worshippers at the Mariamman Temple
Whilst the Mariamman Temple was initially built as a place of worship for the Tamil community, in the modern day the majority of worshippers at the temple are Vietnamese nationals. Vietnamese people often have complicated religious beliefs which combine belief in one of the mainstream religions, such as Buddhism, with worship of other gods or spirits, and some Vietnamese people also worship the Hindu Goddess Mariamman. If you visit you will see mainly Vietnamese people at the temple offering gifts. The number of Tamil people living in Ho Chi Minh City has dwindled since the 19th Century due to the many years of conflict in the country during the 20th Century and the maintenance of the temple is now funded by the Vietnamese government.