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Mannarasala Temple

Although legends are not possible to be translated into historical notes, yet the relevance of Mannarasala Temple has been associated with legends. Due to the long years of worship of king of serpents, Nagaraja in this Mannarasala temple in Kerala, near the town of Haripada, is the presiding deity. Although the temple has a number of legends, those related to the miracles by the serpent deity are very famous, with many people affirming to have been blessed. The most common blessings for which devotees turn up in thousands at this temple is that of children to females. Mannarasala temple in Haripada in Kerala is a well frequented place and one of the most famous shrines for serpent puja in India. The main deity is the Nagaraja, who is considered to be the forms of both Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva as Vasuki. It is thought that the form of Vishnu is internalised while the exterior form is that of Shiva, the reason for which the pujas are conducted in Saivite rituals.

The temple is headed by a head priestess, while there are two women who assist the head-priestess. There are plenty of legends based on which such a custom is being followed and the history of the establishment of the deity at this place is related to Lord Parsuram, who decided to make Kerala his home. Powerful as he was, he was also a great sage who requested the Nagaraja to provide fertility to the land. According to legends, then the poison of the snake was spread all over the place, making the greenery and fertility come out of the land. Such reasoning has been attributed to the popularity of the land of Kerala.


In the Mannarasala Temple of the Serpent God, the Ayilaym is the most famous celebration, usually held during the months of September and October, which are known in local calendar as Kanni and Thulam. During this ritual, most of the idols found in the temple premises are taken in a procession in a grand manner to the illam, which is the family that is related to the serpents. During the procession, a ritual which is highly revered is the carrying of the main serpent idol by the eldest female member of the family, who after taking charge of the temple rituals lives a life of abstinence. At the illam, the snakes are provided with Prasad comprising of kuruthi, Nurum Palam and rice. These are products consisting of flour, milk, turmeric of red color and lime. Lots of offerings are provided by the devotees, who have come from far and wide, mostly consisting of gold coins and effigies, silver, copper, grains, coconut, melons, plantains, sandalwood, and a number of things. The historical anecdotes state that the origin of Ayilyam dates back to the days of the rule of King of Travancore, who failed to come one day to the temple for prayers and arranged for the procession to take the idol to the palace.


Being located in kerala, the languages spoken by people are mosly malayali and some also speak tamil. Although devotees arrive from a number of locations, for their benefit some people are able to understand hindi and mostly English.

Reaching Mannarasala Temple

The location of this temple is near the town of Harripada, which is situated at a distance of 3 kms in the Alleppey district of Kerala.

By Road

Haripada being a well renowned town since the days of the state of Travancore, presently has developed into a bustling region. There are lots of hotels and lodges, shopping complexes and guest houses, allowing devotees to reach Haripada by bus from different parts of Kerala or in cars. From the National Highway near Haripada, devotees can easily reach the temple and even auto rickshaws and cabs are available. The city of Haripad can be reached from Thiruvananthapuram or Kochi, which is located at distances of 113 and 102 kms respectively.

By Air

People interested to pray and seek can reach the airports of Thiruvananthapuram and Cochin, from where one can easily reach Haripada and then to Mannarasala temple.


Temple complex

Installed deity in the Mannarasala Temple is the Serpent God Nagaraja, believed to have two forms, that of Vishnu and Shiva, the latter having more importance. Most of the celebrations are centred on the important deity, with daily pujas and offerings and celebrations during different times of the years such as Ayilyam, Toolam Puuyam, and others. Although the construction of the temple complex is not very extravagant, the relevance of Mandara trees around which the praying is done, are the primary features. It is known as the Mandarasala, where the main deity of 5-hooded serpent is placed. Some also call it as the illam, the holy house in which the serpents have their abode.

Apart from the Nagaraja, which is prayed and revered, there are other serpent gods of importance, which have also got their shrines adjacent to the Mandarasala. In two different sanctums, there are the idols of Sarapayakshi and Nagayakshi. In front of these sanctorums, there is an Ilanji Tree, which is the place where a number of serpent images and serpent pits can be found.

Towards the east side of the main temple, there is the place where song recitals are done to please the serpents. This is the place known as Pulluvanpattu, where the people from Pulluva community still practices this near-extinct form of recitals of songs.

Along the path which leads to the main shrine, on either side are a number of Chitrakudas, where images of many serpents are found. It is believed that the followers of Serpent God Nagaraja are living in these Chitrakudas. These places are also meant to house the serpents which have been brought from groves in different households due to the city expansions.


One of the most well known puja offerings by devotees is that of a bronze vessel which is filled with Nurum Palam and other food items, mostly for being blessed with a child. This is known as the Uruli Kamazhthal. But the basic philosophy of the temple is that one can offer anything according to his or her capacity ranging from gold items to simple food items. These would be readily accepted provided the devotees have real prayers and sincere requests.

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