Mannarasala Sree 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 Mannarashala temple is located about three kilometers 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 Travancore, is rich with its exquisite green paddy fields, towering coconut palms and serene atmosphere of the adjacent hamlets. Now Haripad is a well-developed town with enough civic infrastructures like shopping complexes, hotels & lodges, educational institutions and hospitals.
The ancient Subrahmanya Swamy Temple in Haripad, which is one of the renowned Subrahmanya temples of Kerala and a testimonial to the glory of the great Kerala temple architecture, is located on the way to the Mannarasala temple.
Proper signboards are available from the N.H.47 to the temple. Since the temple is very renowned, accessibility to the temple may not be a problem for the devotees. Various cabs and auto rickshaws are available near the Haripad bus station and Railway station to reach Mannarasala at nominal fare. Since located 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 and train.
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 Mannarashala 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
Mannarasala Uruli Kamazhthu
Uruli Kamazhthu in Nilavara (offering of traditional bronze vessel) is one of the most popular devotee offering in Mannarasala. Known for begetting children to couples, thousands of people come here to carry out this sacred and rare offering to Nagaraja.
According to Mannarasala temple sources, there are certain strict rituals to be followed for this offering. It is advisable only for married couples who have not been able to have children for years, since their marriage.
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.
Once the couples are blessed with child, they should come to the temple with the child for prayers. They should submit either silver cradle or a miniature baby in gold or a miniature divine serpent in gold to the Nagaraja, in accordance to their financial abilities. Then Valiamma will open their Uruli kept in the Nilavara after due prayers.
According to temple sources, devotees can source all that are required for this offering from the temple administration office at nominal costs. Normally more than 5000 Urulis are offered in a year at this temple.
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.
Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple
Mannarasala P.O, Haripad
Alappuzha Dist, Kerala, India, PIN: 690 514
Tel +91 479 2413214
Mandaram Guest House and Vegetarian Restaurant
A/C and non A/C rooms available.
Contact for reservations: 0479-2417662, 0479-2417663