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Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple, The Biggest Serpent Temple in Kerala

By September 7, 2023No Comments
Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja

Have you ever wondered what possible reason could be behind people worshipping snakes, especially in some parts of Kerala? What you don’t know is the several tales of devotion, protection and myth that are still known in these regions. So, especially for you, we have come to uncover the mystery behind the snake temple in Kerala, Mannarasala Temple. Before we begin, let us tell you one of the major plot twists: Lord Parshuram plays an important role in the origin of Serpent worship in India.

What’s the back story behind the origin of the Mannarasala temple? It is time to explore everything one by one. So, what are you waiting for? Join us as we discover some amazing tales or myths related to Kerala’s one of the most beautiful temples, Mannarasala Nagaraja. 

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Origin of Serpent Worship in Hindu Mythology

Hindu mythology has hidden several layers of folklore or tales. One such tale is the origin of serpent worship in Hindu mythology. Rumour has it that this tale includes the aspects of protection and wisdom. So, without wasting any minute, let us take you back to the time of the origin of Ophiolatry, aka Serpent worship. Ever heard of the legendary sage Lord Parshuram? Yes, the very sage who is known for tales of anger and short temper! He is the side character of this story. As per the mythological beliefs, once Lord Parshuram threw his axe into the sea. 

Though the reason he did that is still not clear, his deed created magic. Miraculously, wherever the axe landed, the water of the sea made space and revealed land. But here comes the plot twist that makes the entry of the main character of the story: King of Serpents, Nagaraja. The land that was revealed was either inhabitable or infertile. So, Lord Parshuram turned to Lord Shiva for some help. It was Lord Shiva who suggested that only the king of serpents, aka only Nagaraja, can do something.

As per the instructions, Lord Parshuram worshipped Nagaraja to seek a solution to the problem. Seeing his true devotion, Nagaraja Anantha got happy and announced that all his serpents would make the land fertile by spitting venom. And since Hindus, especially those living in Kerala, have been worshipping Nagaraja as the protector of their land. 

Also Read: 6 Different And Beautiful Architecture Of Temples In India

History of Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple 

Let us jump to the next biggest snake temple in India, which is Mannarasala, located in Harppad, Alappuzha, Kerala. Do you know what fact makes this temple outshine the others? ‘Sarppakavus’ forest of snakes is the home of several rare medicinal plants and reptiles. Talking about the Mannarasala temple history, the temple is located in the same place where Lord Parshuram spent years seeking the blessings of Nagaraja Anantha. The area where he meditated was home to Mandra trees (Ethyrina).

This is why when Lord Nagaraja promised Lord Parshuram that he would stay there, this place was called ‘Mandarasala’ that later became Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja temple. This was the Mannarasala temple history we talked about. But let us tell you another interesting story that involves true devotion and care. Once, there was a fire breakout in the jungles of Mannarasala, ultimately injuring lots of serpents.

Seeing the pain and misery, a couple named Vasudevan and Sreedevi came forward and took care of the serpents like their own child. Little did they know that their small act of love could gift them with Nagaraja’s blessings in the form of two children. One child took birth in a human form, while the other was a naga (serpent). The human form took the responsibility of the ancestry. However, the other decided to meditate. Due to the time and devotion to meditation, Sreedevi could not meet her other son. However, Nagaraja allowed her to pay a visit to her son once every year. It was the beginning of the main poojas and ceremonies that still take place today. 

Festivals Celebrated in Mannarasala Temple 

In the heart of Kerala is a temple famous for its rich and magical history. But what about its famous rituals or customs? Are they magical, too, or do they hold some religious significance like their history? So, let us discover all the famous festivals celebrated at the biggest snake temple in India, Mannarasala Temple, one by one. 

1. Mannarasala Ayilam 

Mannarsala Ayilyam is one of the most important occasions at Mannarsala Naga Raja Temple, which is famous for snake encounters. The festival falls on the Ayilyam constellation in the Malayalam month of Thulam, usually in the months of October and November. The main attraction of this festival is the grand procession in which all the snake idols are carried from the sacred forest and Mannarsala temple to Illam, the ancestral home of the Brahmin family.

2. Maha Shivaratri 

The biggest snake temple in India, Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple, also celebrates the Maha Shivratri festival with great devotion and enthusiasm. But the celebration is nothing like what you think of. Away from the popular tradition, here in Mannarasala Temple, the Saivite tradition is followed. The Saivite tradition is one of the popular forms of worship of Lord Shiva that revolves around Raja yoga. 

3. Annual Pooja 

If you think that Maha Shivratri is the only big festival celebrated in Mannarasala Temple, then you might be wrong. The fun begins on the fifth day of the Maha Shivaratri in the form of Annual Pooja. On this day, the main priestess of the snake temple in Kerala (also known as Mannarasala Amma) takes a short break from her temple duties and visits the Illam.

So, in the annual pooja of the Mannarasala temple, after performing the daily pooja and rituals, Mannarasala Amma open the doors of the cellar and presents something magical to the devotees. What is it? Well, it is the sacred food called Prasadam, which is distributed to the main family members. Once this ritual takes place, now is the turn to perform the other important rituals at the Grandfather’s grove, which is the home to ‘Muthassan’. 

4. Deeparadhana 

Imagine a beautiful evening during Maha Shivaratri when the temple is lit up with thousands of diyas. We are talking about another tradition followed during Maha Shivaratri, called Deeparadhana. As the name suggests, this festival includes seeking the blessings of Nagaraja by lighting candles or diyas. For people living there, this day, which is also known as Ezhunallathu, holds a special place. Usually, during this day, all the devotees observe a fast to express their true devotion to the Almighty. In the evening, the fast ends with Athazhapuja. 

Also Read: 5 Alluring Temples Of Gujarat You Must Visit


Well, that’s a wrap on the myths related to the biggest snake temple in India, Mannarsala Naga Raja Temple. However, if you are curious about the other aspects of Hindu mythology or even astrology, then don’t hesitate to visit InstaAstro. Here, you can get a chance to communicate with your stars and know what’s going to happen in the future with our free and accurate daily, weekly and monthly horoscope.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

1. Which is the biggest snake temple in India?

As per the beliefs, Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja temple is the biggest snake temple in India. Located in the greens of Harppad, the temple’s rich history makes it unique and one of the significant snake temples in India.

2. What is Mannarasala Temple history?

Mannarasala Temple history includes the elements of richness and magnificence. As per popular beliefs, Lord Nagaraja once promised to stay at the place where Lord Parshuram meditated for years. That place was later known as the Mannarasala snake temple in Kerala.

3. Who is the king of serpents in Hindu mythology?

Hindu mythological beliefs claim that Vasuki, the son of Kashyap and Kadru, is the king of serpents. Vasuki sits around the neck of Lord Shiva and is famous for its magical and destructive powers.

4. What is the Nagaraja mantra?

One can make use of this sacred magical Nagaraja mantra to seek the blessings of Lord Nagaraja. It is believed that reciting the mantra with utmost devotion is the only way of getting rid of all your problems in your life.

5. What is the origin of snake worship in Kerala?

The origin of snake worship in Kerala relates to one of the legendary sages in Hindu mythology, Lord Parshuram. The tale includes Parshuram wanting to solve the problem of land fertility. And this is when Lord Nagaraja takes centre stage, sending his serpents to make the land fertile.

6. What is the myth of the Mannarasala Temple?

The Mannarasala temple history includes Lord Vasuki, who once blessed Mekkattu Nampoothiri, a poor man, by seeing his devotion towards him for 12 years. This incident marks the establishment of the Mannarasala temple in Kerala as the biggest snake temple in India.

Also Read: Siddhi Vinayak Temple And Its History

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Kasak Shirotriya

About Kasak Shirotriya

A content writer passionate about creating informative, entertaining and engaging content that captivates the readers from the first sentence to the last. When not tapping away at laptop, you can find me binging sitcoms on Netflix.