Nestled in a forest near Haripad, Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple is dedicated to the snake god- Nagaraja. Nagaraja is considered to be a form of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Flocked by pilgrims and devotees who believe in serpent worshipping, the temple is marked with over thirty thousand paintings and drawings of snakes. The unique temple is also known to have umpteen number of snakes crawling all over the place at all times.
The major festival here is the Ayilyam festival that falls on the Ayilyam in the Malayalam month of Thulam, which roughly corresponds to the months of October or November. The festival is associated with the visit of the erstwhile Travancore Royal family to the Temple. One of the major highlights of the festival is the procession in which all the serpent idols in the Temple and the sacred grove are taken to the Illam (the Brahmin ancestral home) that manages the Temple. The priestess carries the idol of Nagaraja – the presiding deity of the Temple. Special prayers and offerings are made which is a spectacle to watch.
Why you should not miss the festival
The venerated temple is managed by a Brahmin family and is headed by a priestess, unlike the generic priest. Besides, the temple has picturesque surroundings to accentuate the charm of the bountiful nature. The premises also house a small quaint pond and an open courtyard blessed with lush greenery all around.
You do not need a better excuse to start packing your bags and head out to explore Kerala. While the festival may not be very famous, it is surely a celebration of its kind. Besides, the serene surroundings are sure to give you the much-needed break from the concrete jungle. The dates of this year’s festival fall on 23 and 24 Oct 2019. In case you are worried about transportation, here’s all you need to do. Follow the link to rent a car in Kochi.
Additional Information –
Nearest Railway Station – Harippad, about 4 km
Nearest Bus Stop – Haripad KSRTC bus stand, 2 km
Nearest Airport – Cochin Internation Airport, 100 km