Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple is an ancient temple that draws devotees from all over Kerala and elsewhere. It is a pilgrim centre which is devoted to the serpent gods and is located among woods in Haripad, 32 km from Alappuzha.
Valia Amma in Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple
The pooja rituals are led by a Brahmin lady who devotees call Valia Amma. The senior-most lady member of the family takes on the mantle of Valia Amma. She lives as a brahmachari and observes penance. Visitors to the temple make it a point to visit Valia Amma and get her blessings. The ancestral house is called Illam.
A trust manages affairs of the temple. The trust includes only members of the sacred family. The temple trust follows the pooja pattern and administrative affairs of the temple in accordance to the instructions of Valia Amma and ancient traditions.
The idol in the sreekovil is deep inside and it was nearly impossible to make out the idol from where the devotees are allowed to stand.
Lord Parasuraman may have established Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple. The legend is that he reclaimed land from the sea and created Kerala.
The Mannarasala Temple has over 30,000 sculptures of snakes along the paths and temple grounds and is the largest such temple in Kerala.
According to legends, Appooppan Kavu is the abode of Sree Nagaraja.
There are several offerings which are unique to the temple. Perhaps the best known among them is Uruli Kamathal which is for conceiving a child.
Mannarasala Aayilyam is the main festival at the temple. On the Aayilyam day of the Malayalam months of Kanni and Thulam, poojaris carry the serpent idols to the Illam. Valia Amma then carries the idol of Nagaraja in ceremonial procession to the temple.