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Mannarasala Temple – The Serpent Shrine That Grants Wishes

Kerala's Mannarasala Temple

Of all the temples in the world dedicated to worship snakes, there is none like the legendary Mannarasala temple. Lord Parasurama, the creator of Kerala blessed the temple himself. The presiding deities at the temple carry miraculous powers. The temple has a rich history with stories from its origin to the miracles caused due to the worship of Nagaraj.

The serpent god Nagaraja is worshipped in this temple. Moreover, you will find the temple amidst trees in a quiet and cool place. As a result, it is the largest of its kind with the images of a thousands serpents. Hence, devotees travel to the Mannasala temple, worship snakes and provide offerings in the beliefs that it will make their wishes come true. The temple is located in the Alappuzha district of Kerala.

Mannarasala Temple in Kerala
Entrance of the Mannarasala Temple

The History of the temple

The Mannarasala temple history stems from the story of Parasurama, the creator of Kerala. Parasurama, the son of the lord of the seas, decided to seek redemption for the sin of killing Kshatriyas. Subsequently, he approached rishis who suggested that he should gift his own land to the Brahmins. Further, Parashurama threw an axe, gifted to him by Paramasiva, into the sea. Finally, with his blessings, Parashurama reclaimed land from the sea, which then came to be known as Kerala.

But people began to leave as the land was infertile. So, he undertook penance to please Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva told Parashurama that the land would be fertile only when flaming serpent poison would spread everywhere. Nonetheless, with the determination to make Kerala an evergreen area, he travelled to the most deserted forest with his followers to worship Lord Nagaraj. Pleased by the devotion Nagaraj appeared before him and granted his desire.

The story of a childless couple is where the Mannarasala temple story stems from. Above all, Vasudeva and Sreedevi are the couple responsible for it. They took care of snakes that were being attacked centuries after the temple came into existence. Nagaraj blessed them with a child due to their devotion. Since then, there is belief that he took a seat in the Mannarasala temple to bless devotees and grant their wishes.

Serpent Gods' idols in Mannarasala Temple
Idols of Serpent Gods in Mannarasala Temple

The Worship at Mannarasala Temple

The rituals and the worship at the Mannarasala temple are very different from most temples in the world. Above all, the Mannarasala temple poojas are led by a Brahmin lady.

A brahmacharini is the senior most Brahmin lady in the family line. She holds the status of the mother who offers penance and lives as a Brahmacharini. Therefore, the Mannarasala temple amma is at the heart of the temple and there is a belief that the mother is divine herself. She performs austerities, observes fasts and blesses the devotees who travel to worship the deity.

Mannarasala Temple rituals
Rituals performed at Mannarasala Temple

Offerings at the temple

The Mannarasala temple offerings, also known as ‘mannarasala temple vazhipadu’ is auspicious. Above all, it is an offering given to the temple based on your capacity and wishes. Some of the offerings are:

  • A pot of gold and other precious items for wealth and prosperity.
  • Divine ornaments and silk grains for fame, education, and prosperity.
  • Salt is offered by those who wish to recover from an illness.
  • Turmeric for protection from poison.
  • Green peas, pepper, and mustard for curing diseases.
  • Images of serpents, tree, earth or a serpent cave made of gold offerings are for protection from damage.
  • Ghee is for long life
  • Ripe kadalai fruit, milk or nilavara payasam for getting whatever one wants
  • Finally, a vessel by the name Uruli, made of bronze, brass and other metals to perform a ritual called Nurum Palum. In short, it is a ritual is for having a child.

Mannarasala Nagaraja temple timings

In the morning, the Mannarasala temple timing starts at 5 AM and continues till 12 PM. On the other hand, in the evening, the Mannarasala temple pooja time is from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM. In addition, on Sundays, the temple is open till 1 PM. Above all, if you seek to have the blessings of the amma, you can book an appointment during the Mannarasala temple amma visiting time. It is easier to meet her before 6 PM.

Devotees at Mannarasala Temple
Devotees flock to Mannarasala Temple in Kerala

Interesting facts about Mannarasala Temple

  • This temple is one of the very few temples where a woman is in charge of the management and the pooja itself. The priestess is the Mannarasala Amma and is the oldest member of the family of Brahmins who serve the temple.
  • The major deities in the temple are Vasuki and Vishnu Swaroopa who represent Lord Shiva in spirit.
  • Mannarasala temple dress code is usually a traditional attire. But the temple does not follow a strict dress code.
  • Deities at the temple are worshipped on their anniversaries. Hence, the priestess performs Ayilyam thrice a year. The day itself is the Ayilyam day.
  • Mahashivaratri is also celebrated in the honor of Lord Shiva

Mannarasala Temple is one of the oldest shrines in South India and attracts visitors from all over the country who travel to seek the blessings of the serpent gods.