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Home / Kerala / Kerala Temples / Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple Hours, History, Festivals, Poojas

Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple Hours, History, Festivals, Poojas

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Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple Timings:

Morning: 5:00 AM to 12:00 Noon.
Evening: 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM.

On Sundays the temple will be open till 1.00 PM.

Of all the places of Serpent worship in the world. there is none that is more benign, owe inspiring and legendary than Mannarasala, as blessed and envisaged by Lord Parasurama, the creator of Kerala. In the light of experience, many devotees who have experienced and heard about the miraculous powers of the serpents and the presiding deities here, tell many stories about Mannarasala temple. It is not a rare thing to see the same serpent appear in the same location for a number of days in the temple premises. On the steps of the gatehouse, on the hedgerows, among the creepers; those who perform bhajanam in the temple can stand very close at any time and pray.

Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple History:

In the light of experience, many devotees who have experienced and heard about the miraculous powers of the serpents and the presiding deities here, tell many stories about Mannarasala temple.

The divine serpents

It is not a rare thing to see the same serpent appear in the same location for a number of days in the temple premises. On the steps of the gatehouse, on the hedgerows, among the creepers; those who perform bhajanam in the temple can stand very close at any time and pray.

Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple Yellow Snakes:

On one occasion, about six decades ago, a fierce yellow serpent started dancing on the eastern bank of the holy pond near the Appooppan Kavu carrying an evil snake in its mouth. Then it vomited the evil snake and released it. The serpent raised its hood either out of fear or out of a desire of revenge. The fierce snake with a sense of humour swallowed that cobra again. The late Valia Amma came to know about it. She came to the spot with tears in her eyes and spoke a few words. The serpent did not budge. This drama lasted for half an hour. Amma became sad. With the chanting of manthras, she prayed for the release of the cobra. No more delay, the serpent left the cobra, bent down its head and went straight into the Appooppan Kavu, as if nothing had happened. The nature of the yellow snakes of Appoppan Kavu is beyond description, and is wonderful.

Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple Festivals:

Anniversary Celebrations:

The Ayilyam day in Tulam, Kanni and Kumbham months in the Malayalam calendar and the Mahasivarathri are celebrated here with great pomp. The Ayilyam in Kanni is the birthday of Nagaraja and that in Kumbham is the birthday of Anantha, the Muthassan of Nilavara (cellar).

The most celebrated festival at Mannarassala 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.

Mahasivaratri:

Sivarathri, the day of the great festival in Siva temples, is given unusual importance in this temple of Nagaraja. Celebrations are also held accordingly though this is not very widely known even today. The installation of the Nagaraja is in accordance with the concept of Siva. The poojas also are on the Saivite model. Thus Sivaratri assumed special importance among the annual festivities. The festivities on Sivarathri day at Mannarasala are also associated with Vasuki, the King of Serpents. Legends say that once Vasuki went round the gigantic Thanni tree in front of the temple in a sportive mood and stretched his hoods shining with jewels towards the east; opened his mouth and hissed; all the sands in that place flew away; and a little pond came into being. This is Karoli pond (Karoli Kulam). On Sivarathri day, it is believed, he goes in procession in that direction to have a glimpse of his playful creation.

Annual pooja in Nilavara:

Only once a year Nurum Palum is offered and performed in the cellar (Nilavara): that is on the day next to Sivaratri. On the fifth day after Sivaratri, the Mother comes to the Illam after the daily pooja in the temple, and opens the cellar. The prasadam of the Nurum Palum is distributed among the members of the family by the Mother. After the pooja in Nilavara, Nurum Palum and other poojas are performed in Appooppan Kavu ( Grandfather’s Grove), which is the abode of “Muthassan”.

Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple

Deeparadhana:

Only for Sivarathri is the evening ceremony for lights held in this temple. After the meal, there is no Pooja in the sanctum sanctorum. It may be that Sivarathri was chosen for the ceremony of lights because fasting is compulsory on that particular day. All Poojas including the ‘Athazhapuja (evening worship) are performed on that day. The main items of that day are Sarpabali and Ezhunnallethu (procession).

Sarpabali The Poojas for Sarpabali are performed by Valia Amma herself on the platforms in front of Nagaraja and Sarpayakshi. The members of the Illam grind rice in the mortar for the Nurum Palum of the Sarpabali on Sivarathri day. The Sarpabali is the offering made by the Illam. Hence, grinding rice is a voluntary sacred offering by the members in the family. That only on Sivarathri day is the Sarpabali which is pleasing to Nagaraja offered on behalf of the Mannarasala family because of the special attachment to Siva, the Sarpabhushana (one who wear serpents as ornaments). In the last quarter of the night – the images of Nagaraja and Sarpayakshi from the temple are carried on head – the senior and the junior are taken out in ceremonial procession towards the due east of the temple and placed at the foot of a divine tree about half a kilometer away. The journey is around the Illam; when the procession returns to the sanctum sanctorum by the southern side of the temple, the scarlet glow of the rising sun will have come up in the sky. The bright light of the traditional torches (theevettis), silver umbrellas, decorative discs and fans (Aalavattam and Venchamaram), all accompanied by musical instruments add to the grandeur of the celebrations. Sarpabali is more of a ritual of the members of the Illam, when compared to other festivities where devotees are offered to take part and share the devotion of the festival.

Sarpam Pattu (Serpent song):

Though a very rare and hilarious process in terms of the poojas and execution, Sarpam Pattu is most pleasing of all Poojas to the serpents. This holy ceremony is to be conducted once every forty-one years. There are records of Sarpam Pattu held several times, After 1073 M.E. it had been continuous except for once. The details of the Sarpam Pattu of 1074 have been recorded clearly. Thereafter in 1151 (1976) M.E. this ceremony attracted public attention.

Conduct of Sarppam Pattu requires huge spending and manpower for many months. Six to Seven Kanyakas (virgin Brahmin ladies), Amma and Valia Amma participate in the Poojas that may last for many weeks, until the Amma realises in her trance that Nagaraja is satisfied with the Pooja. Separate poojas are offred to the nine Nagas namely Nagaraja, Sarppa Yakshi, Naga Yakshi, Naga Chamundi, Nilavara Muthassan, Kuzhi nagam, Kari Nagam, Mani Nagam and Para Nagam during these days. The ladies of the family who partake in this festivitiy avoid rice meals during these days, as part of the rituals.

The Yajnavedi (the altar of sacrifice) is in the yard south of the cellar. When floor decorations, songs, serpent dance, and sacrifice for serpents as well as Nurum Palum are performed in the presence of Valia Amma, the place around the altar becomes a fantasy world of devotion, thanks to the songs of Poojas and dances, the many types of musical performances, the decorations, the accompaniments etc. At such times the temple gates are not closed. The rituals that go for days and nights last until the day when Amma becomes divinely possessed and makes prophetic announcements.

Pallippana and Gandharva Song:

The year after the Sarpam Pattu is celebrated Pallippana. It is the ‘pana’ performed by the Velan tribe. Gandharva song is held during the year after Pallippana. The ‘Kurups’ draw the figures on the ground known as Kalam, Valia Amma performs the Pooja; and this is known as Gandharvan Pattu.

Pulasarpam Pattu:

Pulasarppam Pattu is an annual offering in Pulakkavu, situated to the north-east of Illam. The main Pooja here is Nurum Palum. Valia Amma has the right to offer pooja. (Nurum Palum is offered here regularly on Ayilyam Day in Kumbham or on any other Ayilyam coming thereafter).

Kavumattam and Sarpabali:

Families without serpent groves are rare in Kerala. It is believed that several hardships arise from the anger of serpents when people encroach or clear these holy small jungles. Kavumattam is a traditional ritual performed to shift the serpents from their place of permanent residence to a place that they deserve which pleases them and honors them. Kavumattam is done with the blessings and instructions from Valia Amma. There are rituals concerning the installations of Chitrakudas. The serpent deities that are brought over through invocation are installed in Chitrakudas and propitiated with special Poojas. Rows of Chitrakudas installed in this way can be seen in the jungle to the northwest of the temple. There are long lasting and varied Poojas and rituals for Sarpabali. The Sarpabali that begins after sunset will come to an end only during the last quarter of the night. Cheria Amma grinds the rice for Nurum Palum. The head of the family often goes to perform Sarpabali in other places.

Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple Amma :

The beliefs and rituals associated with the Mannarasala temple are different from most other temples, and this is one rare temples where the puja pattern is headed by a Brahmin lady. Legends say that when the Muthassan left for the Cellar (More details in History), he had given certain rights and instructions to his mother. He instructed that ‘Mother herself must offer me worship. On certain special days men may be given a chance to worship. After Mother’s time, the senior-most Brahmin lady in the family will have the status of the Mother. From the time the mother assumes this high position Mother should live as a brahmacharini and observe penance. Those who worship me with devotion will have children, will be cured of diseases, will have long life and health and wealth; the men of the family will have the title of ‘Vasukisridevi”. He reminded that the rituals and customs suggested by Parasurama are inviolable.

Valia Amma:

Valia Amma is the heart and soul of Mannarasala. The resplendent brightness of Valia Amma who has turned into a symbol of Naga deities through fasting and other austerities has not dimmed in the least by now as a result of the performance of rituals and poojas. Pilgrims cannot leave Mannarasala without seeing that fascinating divine glow with their own eyes and feeling contended. The sight of faithful devotees, who come here to seek the blessings of Nagaraja, waiting for long to see the flicker of the eyes of the great mother, so serene and compassionate and filled with blessings, continues even today. That holy lamp sheds brilliant light on the temple and the environment, and endows it with heavenly glory. It has been the presence of and the contact with, the Mother, who has assumed a divine form and reached the heights of spirituality, that has been the sole source of prosperity for the members of the family as for the devotees.

Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple Valia Amma

Valia Amma’s pooja pattern:

Valia Amma has a special pattern of pooja everyday, and she must perform pooja in the sanctum sanctorum itself on certain days like
On the first day of every month, malayalam calendar

  • On the day of Pooyam star each month, malayalam calendar.
  • From the beginning of Magha to the eve of Sivaratri.
  • Thiruvonam in the month of Chingam.
  • From the 1st to the `12th of Karkitakam.
  • Twelve days before Ayilyam in Kanni and Tulam.

When Valia Amma attains Samadhi:

When the earthly life of a Valia Amma ends, the ceremony of cremation is different from that of other family members. The dead body is placed in the four-chambered house of the illam. (The ‘Samadhi’ itself will be in the southern hall of the four-chambered building). The cremation is held in a particular place between the temple and the Illam. During these days, only milk and fruit will be offered in the temple ( After offering nivedyam the door will be closed immediately and will be opened the next day; on that day also it will be closed as on the day before. The mourning goes on like this for three days).

Former Valia Amma:

The former Valia Amma, who attained Samadhi on 24th October 1993, had a long and expert experience in Nagapooja, and was a great hermitess; a brahmacharini. When she attained Samadhi at the age of 91, she had completed many decades as Valia Amma. She, Savitri Antharjanam, was born on Anizham Star in the Month of Tulam 1079, and her wedding was on 18th of Chingam 1092. She assumed the position of Valia Amma on 28th Tulam 1093 and started Nagaraja pooja on 23rd Makaram 1094. Her Satabhishekam (Celebrations for completing 80 years of age) was celebrated with great pomp and splendor on 4th November 1986). When she attained Samadhi, numerous leaders and prominent personalities from different walks of life had flowed to Mannarasala to pay homage to that great spiritual hermitess, who had blessed the devotees and spread the divine radiance for many decades as Valia Amma.

Valia Amma of today:

Valia Amma of today is Uma Devi Antharjanam, and she was consecrated as the Valia Amma on 24th October 1993, when she was 64 years old. She is also the wife of the late Shri. M.G.Narayanan Namboothiri.

Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple Uruli Kamazhthu:

The beliefs and rituals associated with the Mannarasala temple are different from most other temples, and this is one rare temples where the puja pattern is headed by a Brahmin lady. Legends say that when the Muthassan left for the Cellar (More details in History), he had given certain rights and instructions to his mother. He instructed that ‘Mother herself must offer me worship. On certain special days men may be given a chance to worship. After Mother’s time, the senior-most Brahmin lady in the family will have the status of the Mother. From the time the mother assumes this high position Mother should live as a brahmacharini and observe penance. Those who worship me with devotion will have children, will be cured of diseases, will have long life and health and wealth; the men of the family will have the title of ‘Vasukisridevi”. He reminded that the rituals and customs suggested by Parasurama are inviolable.

Valia Amma:

Valia Amma is the heart and soul of Mannarasala. The resplendent brightness of Valia Amma who has turned into a symbol of Naga deities through fasting and other austerities has not dimmed in the least by now as a result of the performance of rituals and poojas. Pilgrims cannot leave Mannarasala without seeing that fascinating divine glow with their own eyes and feeling contended. The sight of faithful devotees, who come here to seek the blessings of Nagaraja, waiting for long to see the flicker of the eyes of the great mother, so serene and compassionate and filled with blessings, continues even today. That holy lamp sheds brilliant light on the temple and the environment, and endows it with heavenly glory. It has been the presence of and the contact with, the Mother, who has assumed a divine form and reached the heights of spirituality, that has been the sole source of prosperity for the members of the family as for the devotees.

Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple Dresscode / Tips:

The Mannarasala temple dress code should be strictly followed. Women should wear saree and men should wear mundu (traditional clothing) and children should wear anything that is fully covering.
If going in pursuit of getting pregnant, you will have to meet an amma who sits inside the temple. Even generally, visiting her and receiving her blessings is considered auspicious.

If you are unaware of the norms of the temple, better to find out before stepping in and offending someone.

Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple Offerings:

Mannarasala is a place where prayers have been granted, where Serpent-worship has been sanctified for ages.
We don’t have to worry about what can be dedicated to propitiate the Lord Nagaraja and the serpent gods. You may offer anything according to your capacity, such as things which will make the serpents happy (articles that can be used in Abhisheka and Alankara; incense, flowers, lamp etc., which can be used for worship.) Those who suffer from incurable diseases, those possessed by fear as a result of the anger of serpents and thereby find life unendurable – all of them come here to stay and pray (bhajanam) and go back with their wishes fulfilled. There are some special ritual practices and regulations for this bhajana.

In recent times, the fame of this temple has been spread far and wide for the prayers answered for having child to couples. The ‘Uruli Kamazhthal’ offering with devotion and prayers, has helped numerous devotees to have children, who come to this temple.

Main offerings:

For wealth and prosperity: A pot filled with gold or a gold pot filled with other things.
For education, prosperity and fame: Silk grains, divine ornaments.
For recovering health: Salt
For protection from poison: Turmeric
For curing diseases: Pepper, mustard, green peas etc.
For protection from damage: Serpent cave made of gold etc., images of serpents’ eggs, tree, earth etc.,
For long life: Melted butter (ghee)
For getting whatever one wants: Milk, ripe kadalai fruit, nilavarapayasam.
For having child: A vessel named Uruli made of brass, bronze etc. for performing ‘Nurum Palum’.

Offerings- details:

** It is mandatory to produce ‘prashnacharthu’ (directions from experts) for performing the Nurum Palum for sarppahimsa and eliminating sarppasthanam.
It is mandatory to book in advance for the offerings with the star mark *.
It is advised to source pooja materials like salt, turmeric, puttu (abode of serpents), Sarppavigraham, Uruli etc. from the outlet of Devaswom.
Sarppavigraham, Mutta ( egg), Puttu etc. should be made only of any four metals like Gold, Silver, Iron or brass

Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple Contact Details:-

Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple
Mannarasala P.O,
Haripad,
Kerala.
Phone: +91 479 2160300, 2413214
e-mail: info@mannarasala.org

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Note: We will give astrological reading / solution for those who are longing for children and do not give predictions for Job, etc.

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