The famous Nagaraja temple “Mannarasala” is covered in a forest glade.The beliefs and rituals associated with the Mannarasala temple are different from most other temples, and this is one rare temple where the puja pattern is headed by a Brahmin lady.Women seeking fertility come to worship here, and after the birth of their child come to hold thanksgiving ceremonies here, often bringing new snake images as offerings. A divine turmeric paste which is available at the temple is believed to have curative powers.
The story on the evolution of Mannarasala as one of the foremost places of worship of the Serpent Gods is associated with Lord Parashurama who is widely believed to be the creator of Kerala. Lord Parashurama in order to release himself from the sin of killing Kshatriyas approached the holy Rishis. Rishis suggested that he should make a gift of a land of his own to the Brahmins. He threw into sea the axe which Lord Shiva had given him with his blessings. Thus he reclaimed the land from the sea and gave it as a gift to the Brahmins according to the rites. This land came to be known as Kerala. Kerala, full of forests, was heavily infested with extremely poisonous snakes. To get protection from the snakes Snake worship was initiated. Parashurama set out with his disciples in search of a deserted jungle in order to please Nagaraja. He found a suitable place near the seashore in the southern part of Kerala.
Parashurama installed, according to Vedic rites, Nagaraja, who is Brahma, Vishnu and Siva in one in the ‘Thirthasthala’ (Hall of pilgrimage) filled with Mandara trees, the place now known as Mannarasala.The main offerings by devotees include silk grains, ornaments,salt, turmeric, pepper, mustard, images of serpents’ eggs, tree, earth, Melted butter (ghee), Milk, ripe kadalai fruit, nilavarapayasam etc. For having child, a vessel named Uruli made of brass, bronze etc. for performing ‘Nurum Palum’.
Myths say ponds will dry up once the kavu (the sacred green patches) are disturbed. Mannarasala Temple surroundings stand an illustration of this faith. Water-filled ponds are in plenty among the green patches here. The ponds and kavu preserve each other. The idols of snakes are seen beside the ponds as if they are standing guard. Fresh air and green vegetation energise the mind and body.
Pulluvan pattu is the music for serpent gods. It is believed that the lullaby of the Pulluvorkudom can free one of his/her curses. A day in Mannarasala starts with the pulluvan pattu on the entrance on the eastern side and will go on until the end of the day. The Pulluvas will play the Pullorkudom for devotees who will mention them their name and birth star according to astrology.