Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple near Haripad in Alappuzha is dedicated to Serpant Gods, Nagaraja, Nagayakshi and Sarpayakshi. The worship and Pooja of this temple is very different from that of other temples in Kerala. Daily poojas are offered for Sarpayakshi. There is an Ilanji tree in front of its shrine with several pits for serpents.
The entrance to the temple, surrounded by about 16 acres of thick green forest, is lined with rows of stone images of serpents reportedly 30,000 of them. On the eastern side of the temple ‘Pulluvans’ (a community) sing ‘Pulluvan Pattu’ (serpent songs) with ardent faith. On the south west of the shrine is the ‘Thevaram chamber’ where the great mother worships Nagaraja.
The festivals of this temple include the Mahashivarathri and the Ayilyam day that falls during the Malayalam months Thulam, Kanni and Kumbham. The Ayilyam during the Kanni month is the birth of Nagaraja and the Ayilyam in Kumbham is the birth of Anantha.
The Ayilyam that falls in Thulam is celebrated well even though it has not much specialty. Every year on the day next to Shivarathri, ‘Nurum Palum’ is offered in the cellar. The offerings made here are those things that will make the serpents happy.
An ancient secluded snake temple in a forest glade, a Brahmin priestess as its chief and over 30,000 figurines and images adorning the lanes and the trees along the way—Mannarasala Ayilyam is not just another temple festival.
No wonder thousands of devotees flock the Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple every year to be a part of the ceremonial procession with serpent idols being taken to illam (the Brahmin’s ancestral home) and offerings being made to the snakes. One of a kind, the festival is dedicated to the snake lord and the presiding deity of the temple, Nagaraja.
When : November 1
Where : Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple, Harippad, Alleppey, Kerala
Why Should You Go : To see thousands of snake images at the temple and indulge in the cultural ethos of the place.
Please Note : Since it is a religious affair, dress accordingly and observe the sanctity.