Mannarasala Temple, Alleppeym Kerala, IN

Deities: Nagaraja
Location: Alleppey, Kerala
Importance: 30,000 images of snake-Gods.
Best time to visit: August to March
STD Code: 0477

Mannarasala Shree Nagaraja Temple is a very ancient and internationally-known centre of pilgrimage for the devotees of serpent gods. One of the rarest temples in the world where serpent deities are worshipped, particularly by woman priests. A fine example of eco-friendly existence. The Mannarasala temple is located about three kilometres to the south-east of the bus station in N.H.47 at Haripad, in Alleppey district of Kerala. Haripad, a culturally renowned ancient town with prominent role in the history of Central.

The sacred temple of Mannarasala is located amidst the shade of ancient trees entangled by many kinds of creepers, foliage and thick growth of cane and groves, exclusively dedicated as the habitat of divine serpents. The presiding deity at Mannarasala is Nagaraja. He is Anantha (Vishnu) and Sarparaja is Vasuki (Shiva). It is believed that Nagaraja, as the installed deity, is endowed with the form of Vishnu and the spirit of Siva. (From the phenomena observed at the time of the installation the power of Vasuki was manifested and that of Anantha interiorized. Taking into account the power of Vasuki which was manifest; the Saivite form of worship was followed. (This may be reason for the magnificent procession taken out here on Mahasivaratri day). Anantha represents the ‘Vaishnava Sankalpa’ and Siva represents the ‘Shaivaite Sankalpa’.

The couple should come to the temple and pray to the God for his blessings. Receipts for the offering have to be taken from the administration office. Offering includes a bronze Uruli that can be used to cook at least a score of rice, a Nilavilakku (bronze lamp), garland etc. In the presence of the temple authorities, the couples should offer the Uruli with its mouth upwards in front of the Nagaraja shrine after three rounds to the mannarasala temple with due prayers. An offering have to be given to Sarpayakshi as well. After Pooja, Valiamma will take the Uruli to Nilavara and it will be kept there with its mouth downward, which will be opened only after the couples get a child. Expenses for this offering are charted in a way to offer at least two Kadali fruits every day to Nagaraja, for about one year.

Legend:
Though the legends related to the origin of a place cannot be deemed as its history, the story on the evolution of Mannarasala temple as the supreme place of worship of the serpent Gods is associated with Parasurama, the creator of Kerala.

The history of Mannarasala has been mentioned in the ‘Mandara Salodayam’ Sanskrit poem written by Mannarasala M.G.Narayanan Nampoodiri of the sacred family, who wrote it on the basis of reliable accounts and legends traditionally handed down and in the light of old books available with the Mannarasala temple. Since the poem was incomplete, the history narrated here is from the book ‘The Serpent Temple Mannarasala’, published by Mr.N.Jayadevan of Manasa Publications (Translated to English by the renowned scholar Dr.Ayyappa Panikker). This book is also based on the advice and instructions received from the former Great Mother, and in accordance with the other members of the family as well as the old records examined for the purpose.

Legends say that when Kerala became habitable, a large number of Brahmins came as followers of Parasurama. He proposed his chief disciple to be in charge of worship to the serpent god and instructed him to follow various Pooja patterns to maintain the sanctity of the place. Thousands of people come here to carry out this sacred and rare offering to Nagaraja.

Festival:
The most celebrated festival at Mannarasala is the Ayilyam of Thulam. In the beginning, the Ayilyam of Thulam had no speciality or importance. It was a regular custom for the Maharaja of Travancore to visit this temple on Ayilyam day in Kanni. On one occasion, the Maharaja could not reach the temple as usual and had to postpone the visit to the Ayilyam day in Thulam. The royal palace met all the expenses for the celebrations of that Ayilyam. Several landed properties were given away to the temple free of land tax in order to make the festival more attractive, as an expression of repentance. Thus the Ayilyam of Thulam came to secure a royal splendor and official glamour without difficulty. The Ayilyam days of Kanni and Kumbham are still celebrated with befitting grandeur.

How to reach:
by Air: The nearest airport is Cochin, 64 km to the north; Trivandrum International Airport is 159 km to the south.
by Rail: Alleppey has recently been linked to Cochin by rail. Some trains link alleppey to cities like Chennai and Bokaro. The Alleppey Railway Station is 5 km from the central bus stand and the boat jetty.
by Road: Alleppey is on the NH 47 highway and is connected to all important towns in south India by public state transport buses. The most celebrated festival at Mannarasala is the Ayilyam of Thulam. In the beginning, the Ayilyam of Thulam had no speciality or importance. It was a regular custom for the Maharaja of Travancore to visit this temple on Ayilyam day in Kanni. On one occasion, the Maharaja could not reach the temple as usual and had to postpone the visit to the Ayilyam day in Thulam. The royal palace met all the expenses for the celebrations of that Ayilyam. Several landed properties were given away to the temple free of land tax in order to make the festival more attractive, as an expression of repentance. Thus the Ayilyam of Thulam came to secure a royal splendor and official glamour without difficulty. The Ayilyam days of Kanni and Kumbham are still celebrated with befitting grandeur.

Visit www.eTirth.com for more information on Temples, Ashrams, Gurus, Festival and Daily Panchangam (Hindu ephemeris).

If you love to read visit www.KathaVarta.org for Religious stories.

Last but not least, if you want to visit above Holy Pilgrimage, please contact and visit our associate partner www.YatraKhoj.com and e-mail at yatrakhoj@yahoo.com.
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