Mannarasala Ayilyam – one of the mysterious temple festivals of Kerala.
Date: 23 October 2019
Venue: Sree Nagaraja Temple, Mannarasala, Harippad, Alleppey.
Kerala is an extraordinary wonderland that travels with time while retaining its precious heritage and is a repository of unique experiences as well. The lively and exotic temple festivals of God’s Own Country Kerala are too surprising and experiential that offers you a chance to delve into the vivid culture and tradition of the state. Each and every temple festival of Kerala proves to be a fascinating eye-opener to some of its bizarre rituals and customs. The Mannarasala Ayilyam Festival will be one of the strangest festivals you will ever come across in Kerala that makes you dumbfounded with its unique legend and rituals.
The major festival here is the Ayilyam festival that falls on the Ayilyam asterism in the Malayalam month of Thulam, which roughly corresponds to the months of October / November. This year 2019, the Mannarasala Ayilyam falls on October 23 Wednesday.
Be a part of the unique temple festivals of Kerala and have a blessed time in this beautiful land that always surprises you with its extraordinary culture and traditions.
About Mannarasala Temple:
Located near Harippad in the Alappuzha or Alleppey district of Kerala. Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple is an internationally renowned temple dedicated to the serpent god Nagaraja. It’s beautiful setting amidst dense green forest grove creates a tranquil and eco-friendly ambiance all around. This divine shrine is under the support of a Brahmin family. And unlike other temples in the country, Mannarasala Temple is headed by a priestess whom the devotees fondly call as Mannarasala Amma. It is said that the deity of this shrine is blessed with the spirit of Lord Shiva and has the form of Lord Vishnu. The temple is adorned with over thirty thousand paintings and drawings of snakes all along the paths crisscrossing the serene forest area. Mannarasala Temple is often visited by swarms of devotees from far and near to offer prayers to the serpent god, Nagaraja.
Though the legends related to the origin of a place cannot be deemed as its history, the story on the evolution of Mannarasala as one of the foremost places of worship of the Serpent Gods is associated with Lord Parashurama who is widely believed to be the creator of Kerala.
(Click here), to know more about the history of Manarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple in Alappuzha, Kerala.
About Mannarasala Ayilyam:
As a serpent shrine, the Ayilyam of Thulam in the Malayalam Calendar which is popularly known as the Mannarasala Ayilyam is the major celebration of Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple. It is celebrated with much religious fervor on the Ayilyam asterism in the Malayalam month of Thulam which roughly corresponds to the months of October and November.
The main attraction of this festival is the grand procession in which all the serpent idols in the sacred grove and the Mannarasala Temple are taken to the Illam (the Brahmin ancestral home) where special prayers and offerings like Nurum Palum (rice flour and milk) are performed. The chief priestess (Mannarasala Amma) will carry the golden idol of the main deity to the Illam.
Mannarasala Ayilyam festival dates between 2018 & 2024
|2018||Thursday, 1st of November|
|2019||Wednesday, 23rd of October|
|2020||Monday, 9th of November|
|2021||Saturday, 30th of October|
|2022||Wednesday, 16th of November|
|2023||Monday, 6th of November|
|2024||Saturday, 26th of October|
Plan now and witness one of the mysterious temple festivals of Kerala on your visit to Alleppey/Alappuzha and seek the blessings of Lord Nagaraja (the serpent king) with our special holiday tour packages and customized temple tour packages.
Rituals Performed During the Festival:
The rituals for Ayilyam festival commences with the opening of the temple for ‘Nirmalyadarshanam’ which is then followed by special poojas administered by the Karanavar, the male head of the Mannarasala Illam. Then the chief priestess, Mannarasala Amma will give darshan to the thousands of devotees who flocked near the temple complex to celebrate the festival. After the nivedyam(sacred food), a mass feast for the devotees will be organized, known as ‘Prasadamoottu’ which is then followed by the Nagakkalam rituals administered by the Karanavar.
After these rituals, the grand procession, ‘Ezhunallathu’ takes place during which the Mannarasala Amma carries the Nagaraja Thirumukham and Nagaphanam, the Elayamma carries the idol of Sarpayakshiyamma and the Karanavar carries the idols of Nagachamundiyamma and Nagayakshiyamma to the Illam.
After reaching the Illam, Mannarasala Amma performs special prayers and poojas which is followed by the ‘Thattil Noorumpalum’ ritual conducted by the Karanavar which marks the end of the annual Mannarasala Ayilyam Festival.
Why the Temple is So Special?
- Mannarasala Temple is known Internationally for serpent worship.
- It is deemed as one of the largest Nagaraja Temples in the southern state of Kerala.
- It is one of the rarest temples in the country where the pooja and other rituals are carried out by a woman, mainly the oldest female member of the family of the Brahmins who serves the Mannarasala Temple. And the devotees fondly call her (the priestess) as Mannarasala Amma.
- The major deities of Mannarasala Temple are Vasuki representing Shiva and Anantha representing Vishnu Swaroopa.
What you experience during the Mannarasala Ayilyam festival?
First of all, the temple and its awe-inspiring environment are so tranquil and breathtaking to gaze at. Once you are at the temple, you will be embraced with spiritual vibes of the temple which fills your mind and soul with absolute devotion. The rituals and offerings during the Ayilyam Festival seem very strange and astonishing.
The temple complex will be thronged by thousands of devotees during the Ayilyam Festival to seek the blessings of Lord Nagaraja. To be a part of this festival is a uniquely enriching and divine experience of a lifetime.
Other popular festivals of Mannarasala Temple
- Maha Shivaratri:
The installation of Nagaraja in the Mannarasala Temple is in accordance with the concept of Siva and the poojas are also performed on the Saivite model. Hence, the temple celebrates Maha Shivaratri in great passion and enthusiasm.
- Annual pooja in Nilavara:
On the fifth day after Mahashivratri, the priestess of the temple, Mannarasala Amma, comes to the Illam after the daily pooja in the temple and opens the cellar. Nurum Palum which is the prasadam(sacred food) of the temple is distributed among the members of the family by the priestess. After that, other poojas and rituals are performed in the Appoopan Kavu (Grandfather’s Grove), the abode of “Muthassan”.
The evening ceremony during which the temple is adorned with lights is known as Deeparadhana, but it is done only during Sivaratri. The major events of the day are Sarpabali and Ezhunallathu (procession). All Poojas including the ‘Athazhapuja (evening worship) is performed as well as fasting is compulsory on that day.
Interesting facts about Mannarasala Temple
- In the path towards the Temple and among the trees one can find over 30,000 images of snakes in various sizes and shapes.
- Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple is believed to possess Sarpa Dosha Nivarana that is to overcome from snake curse.
- Many barren women visit the temple and offer ‘Uruli Kamazhthal’, the placing of a bell metal vessel upside down in front of the deity to seek blessings of the Nagaraja for children.
- Another interesting custom of this temple is that devotees dedicate small stone idol of serpents to the temple, to show their gratitude towards Lord Nagaraja.
- Turmeric paste is given as Prasada at Mannarasala Temple and this turmeric paste is believed to have great curative powers.
- It is said that the serpents guard the property of the temple and snake bites seldom occur here.
Nearest Tourist Attractions
Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple: One of the oldest and most popular temples in Kerala which is regarded as the Dwaraka of South India. Here, Ambalapuzha Pal Payasam (delicious sweet pudding) is very famous which is believed that Lord Krishna (Sri Guruvayurappan) visits this temple daily at the time of Pal Payasa Nedyam to have it. The idol at Ambalapuzha is likened to Parthasarthi form of Vishnu, holding a whip in his right hand and a conch in his left.
- Chettikulangara Devi Temple: The temple is known for its spectacular Kettukazcha festival, called Chettikulangara Bharani. The most unique feature of this temple is that the Goddess is worshipped in three different forms: Maha Saraswathi, Maha Lakshmi and Durga or Maha Kali. Chettikulangara Devi is the supreme mother goddess, Shakthi Devi in Hinduism.
- Chakkulathukavu Temple: Dedicated to Goddess Durga, the Chakkulathukavu Temple is regarded as the “Sabarimala of Women”.
- Parumala Church: It is a world-renowned Christian pilgrimage site that houses the Tomb of St. Gregorios (Parumala Thirumeni) who belongs to the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church.
- Karumadikuttan: It is known for the large black granite statue of Lord Buddha in a sitting posture which serves as a reminder of remnants of Buddhist culture that prevailed in Kerala.
Alleppey is an abundance of nature’s magical vistas. Here, in a spectacular setting of lush carpets of greenery, shimmering backwaters, grand canals, tranquil lagoons, virgin beaches, visually delighting paddy fields, and palm-fringed landscape, you’ll experience nature at its fullest glory.
(Click here…) to find the tourist attraction places in Alleppey and plan your trip to visit Alleppey.
Ways To Reach:
The nearest airports to Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple are Thiruvananthapuram International Airport and Cochin International Airport which are situated at a distance of 118 Km and 112 Km respectively. On reaching the airport, one can hire a taxi or bus to reach the temple.
The nearest railway station to Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple is Haripad Railway Station which is situated at a distance of 3.4 Km. On reaching the railway station, one can hire a bus or an autorickshaw to reach the temple.
The nearest bus station to Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple is Haripad Bus Station which is situated at a distance of 3.4 Km.
For more details and bookings, feel free to visit, www.keralatourism.holiday and get a free quote for your itinerary.