Mannarasala Temple is a temple devoted to serpent worship. Serpent worship is part of Hindu religious practices and Kerala is a place where one would come across temples dedicated to serpent gods. Serpent worship is practiced in several ancestral homes, which also have special worship places called Kaavu (serpent grove).
It is located near Haripad, 32 km south of Alappuzha, 14km from Kayamkulam. A Brahmin family manages the temple, headed by a priestess. As per belief, the first priestess of Mannarasala gave birth to a five-headed snake, which resided in the ancestral house to safeguard the family. Sarpa Yakshi and Naga Yakshi are the beloved consorts of Nagaraja. People also believe that Nagaraja as the installed deity is endowed with the form of Hari (Lord Vishnu) and the spirit of Lord Shiva.
Also the turmeric paste available in the Mannarasala Temple too holds a special distinction of being a highly curative medicine. The serpent gods invite large number of female devotees, who lack fertility and wish to have children. Such ladies return to the temple once their wish comes true and would make offerings such as bringing back their children to conduct thanksgiving ceremonies.
- What is the history of Mannarasala Temple?
- What is the significance of Mannarasala Temple?
- What are the timings of Mannarasala Temple ?
- What is the dress code for Mannarasala Temple?
- Which festivals are celebrated at Mannarasala Temple?
- Which Sevas and Poojas take place at Mannarasala Temple?
- How to reach Mannarasala Temple?
- Where to stay near Mannarasala Temple?
- Where to eat near Mannarasala Temple?
- What are some of the temples near Mannarasala Temple?
What is the history of Mannarasala Temple?
The history of Mannarasala Temple as the supreme place of worship of the serpent Gods relates wtih Parasurama, the creator of Kerala. Legend has it that the first priestess of Mannarasala gave birth to a snake (that had five heads), which resided in the ancestral house to safeguard the family.
Though a land area has formed, the place remains as a piece of land with high concentration of salt, which prompted the people to leave the place in hurry. Saddened by this, Parasuraman decided to start a penance in order to please lord Siva, who ordered him to worship Nagaraja.
After another rigorous penance, finally Parasurama became able to satisfy Nagaraja who blessed him with a desalinated land and also granted the eternal presence in Kerala. Thus as per the wish of Parasurama, Nagaraja decided to reside at a place selected by Parasurama.
What is the significance of Mannarasala Temple?
Mannarasala Temple helps clear all problems associated with sins related to snakes etc. The location is very calm, serene and feel of freshness is good because of the trees. This temple also helps clear all problems associated with sins related to snakes etc.
Moreover, the Mannarasala Temple covers an area of 16 acres of dense green forest grove. The two main idols are Nagaraja or the serpent king and his consort, Sarpayakshini.
The most popular offering of Mannarasala Temple is ‘Uruli Kamazhthal’, the placing of a bell metal vessel upside down in front of the deity, which restores fertility to childless couples.
Further, the location is very calm, serene and feel of freshness is good because of the trees and the location.
What are the timings of Mannarasala Temple ?
Darshan Timings: 5 AM to 12 PM, 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM.
|Morning Darshan||5 AM||12 PM|
|Evening Darshan||5:30 PM||7:30 PM|
What is the dress code for Mannarasala Temple?
One needs to be in traditional attire to visit Mannarasala Temple. Though there is no fee for darshan but some special poojas which you perform based on your birth star or your astrological requirements require you to pay extra cost at the temple.
Which festivals are celebrated at Mannarasala Temple?
Devotees celebrate the Ayilyam day in Tulam, Kanni and Kumbham months in the Malayalam calendar and the Mahasivarathri here with great pomp. The Ayilyam in Kanni is the birthday of Nagaraja and that in Kumbham is the birthday of Anantha, the Muthassan of Nilavara (cellar).
Mannarasala Festival (utsavam)
On the day of Ayilliam asterism in the months of Kanni and Thulam (September and October), all the serpent idols in the grove and the Mannarasala Temple are taken in procession to the illam (family connected with the temple) where the offerings of Nurum Palum (rice flour and milk), kuruthi (a red liquid made of turmeric and lime) and cooked rice are made.
Annual pooja in Nilavara
On the fifth day after Sivaratri, the Mother comes to the Illam after the daily pooja in the Mannarasala Temple, and opens the cellar. The prasadam of the Nurum Palum is distributed among the members of the family by the Mother.
The installation of the Nagaraja is in accordance with the concept of Siva. The poojas are also on the Saivite model. Thus Sivaratri assumed special importance among the annual festivities.
The festivities on Sivarathri day at Mannarasala are also associated with Vasuki, the King of Serpents. Legends say that once Vasuki went round the gigantic Thanni tree in front of the temple in a sportive mood and stretched his hoods shining with jewels towards the east; opened his mouth and hissed; all the sands in that place flew away and a little pond came into being.
After the meal, there is no Pooja in the sanctum sanctorum. It may be that Sivarathri was chosen for the ceremony of lights because fasting is compulsory on that particular day. All Poojas including the ‘Athazhapuja (evening worship) are performed on that day. The main items of that day are Sarpabali and Ezhunnallethu (procession).
Which Sevas and Poojas take place at Mannarasala Temple?
Valia Amma has a special pattern of pooja everyday, and she must perform pooja in the sanctum sanctorum itself on certain days like
- On the first day of every month, malayalam calendar
- On the day of Pooyam star each month, malayalam calendar.
- From the beginning of Magha to the eve of Sivaratri.
- Thiruvonam in the month of Chingam.
- From the 1st to the 12th of Karkitakam.
- Twelve days before Ayilyam in Kanni and Tulam.
Sarpayakshi & Nagayakshi
The main Mannarasala Temple premise has two separate sanctum sanctorums, one devoted to Sarpayakshi and the other for Nagaraja. Sarpayakshi also enjoys special privileges like offering daily poojas, and is in the Sanctum Sanctorum. In front of the shrine of Sarpayakshi, there is an Ilanji tree (Mimusops Elengi). Serpent images surround it and it has numerous pits for serpents. Also, the quiet shrines of Nagachamundi and Nagayakshi are to the south-west of the Mannarasala Temple and housed in Chitrakudas.
How to reach Mannarasala Temple?
Here’s how to reach Mannarasala Temple:
- By Air: The nearest airports are Thiruvananthapuram International Airport which is at a distance of 121 kms and Nedumbassery International Airport which is at a distance of 132 kms.Cochin International Airport, about 115 kms from Alappuzha
- By Train: It takes 3 minutes to travel from Haripad Railway Station to Mannarasala Shri Nagaraja Temple. Approximate driving distance between Haripad Railway Station and Mannarasala Shri Nagaraja Temple is 3 kms or 1.9 miles.
- By Road: The Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple is about three kilometers to the south-east of the bus station in N.H.47 at Haripad, in Alleppey district of Kerala. One can also find various cabs and auto rickshaws near the Haripad bus station. Since it is near the highway almost equidistant between the cities of Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi (approx.113 kms and 103 kms respectively), it is easy to reach Haripad via bus.
Where to stay near Mannarasala Temple?
- Mandaram: The temple guest house “Mandaram” has good rooms & all basic facilities including food.
- Alleppey Prince Hotel, Pozhiyoram Beach Resort, Palm Beach Resort
Where to eat near Mannarasala Temple?
There are several hotels around that includes all the tasty and mouth watering recipes. Meat, Vegetables and greens are also prepared with different spices.
Some of the famous restaurants are Thaf, Cassia, Indian Coffee house, Sisir Palace, Casia, Mushroom and many more.
What are some of the temples near Mannarasala Temple?
Sree Subrahmanya Swami Temple
Sree Subrahmanya Swamy temple at Haripad is one among the oldest temples of Kerala. The temple is one of the oldest and most important temples of Lord Subrahmanya. Popular as Dakshina Palani ( Palani of south). Devotees believe that the temple there even before the advent of ‘Kaliyuga’. This temple enshrines an imposing idol of Subrahmanya which Parasurama worshipped.
Kavarattu Sree Mahadeva Temple
It is at Kumarapuram in Alappuzha District Kerala, India. The Festival occurs during the month of “Kumbham”. This is an occasion when the entire city becomes focused on the temple. Tender coconut frond and plantain leaf-stalks are useful for street decoration.
Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple
Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Temple is a famous Hindu Lord Krishna temple situated 14 km south of Alappuzha in Kerala, India. The erstwhile ruler of Chembakasserry Sree Pooradam Thirunal Devanarayanan Thampuran built this templeduring 15th – 17th AD.
This temple is located Chengannur, a village situated 40 km away from the town of Kottayam in Kerala. Lord Maha Deva is facing east and the Goddess Bhagawathy is facing west in this temple. One belief is that when Lord Shiva cut the body of his consort Sati Devi into pieces and threw them all over India, the middle part of her body fell in the place where this temple is present. Because of this, they believe that the Goddess in this temple has monthly periods. People also believe that because of this, the Shiva Linga in this temple is on a triangular pedestal.
Panachikkad Saraswathi Temple
Panachikkadu Saraswathi Temple, popular as Dakshina Mookambika Temple (Mookambika Temple of the South), is in Panachikadu village around 11 km from Kottayam in Kerala, India. Moreover, the temple is 4 km from Chingavanam town between Kottayam and Changanassery. Lord Shiva, Lord Ganapathy, Sree Dharmashasta, Nagaraja, Brahmarakshasu and Yakshi are also the deities that the devotees worship in Panachikkadu Temple.
Ettumanoor Mahadeva temple in Kottayam district is famous for its murals, especially the painting of Nataraja in the gopuram and ezharaponnana. The major worship in this temple is lighting of lamps.