Bannari Amman Temple is one of the most famous Amman temples in Tamil nadu and is located in Bannari on NH 209, near Sathyamangalam, Erode district. The main deity is the goddess Mariamman (the goddess of rain), a powerful goddess of Tamil and Kannada folklore. Approximately every village in the Kongu region of Tamil Nadu has a Mariamman temple
People in the past have witnessed the wonderful sight of tigers and cows turning off the river. The shepherds used to take the cattle to the fields and made fun of the pasture. The cows feed on the grass that is found here in abundance. These cows were returned to the stables at dusk. The shepherds used to milk each cow and deliver the collected milk to the cow owners. One cow in particular did not allow the shepherd to get milk, nor did she allow her calf to get close to her.
About 300 years ago, the dana Nayakkan or Dhandanyakkan forest was called “Bannari”. This Bannari name for this great historical place originated due to the great temple “Bannari Amman Temple”.
The shepherd has his own doubts about that particular cow and decided to keep an eye on her. He allowed the other cows to graze and secretly pursued that particular cow. He walked alone to a Vengai tree and stayed under it. Milk began to flow from her udder automatically. He was amazed at such a strangling sight and told the other pastors.
The news spread like wildfire to the villagers. The next day they were on site to witness the wonder. They found that the cow repeated the same behavior. The milk drained from the nipples of his udder in a particular place in the middle of the grass. They removed the thickly grown grass and bushes there and, to their surprise, they found a hill of sand and a Swayambu Linga near it. Linga is a special divinity and therefore they felt that the place under the Vengai tree should have a heavenly meaning. They prayed to the Linga with their hands joined. Among the devotees who were there, one went into a trance. As the spokesperson for the Deity, he began to convey the divine message to everyone. According to his words, it was understood that the deity safeguarded the Tamil Nadu merchants who passed through that road to Mysore to sell their wares carried by cows on their backs.
The deity was in love with the picturesque beauty of that place and she decided to stay there to bless and protect the pilgrims. Furthermore, she wanted a temple to be built there so that the people of that place and its surroundings would pray to her on behalf of Bannari Mariamman. Thus Bannari became the permanent abode of the goddess.
The above story has been represented by a set of paintings on the wall of the temple.