Mannarassala Sree Nagaraja Temple is a very ancient and internationally-known centre of pilgrimage for the devotees of serpent gods.The temple is located about three kilometers to the south-east of the bus station in N.H.47 at Haripad, in Alleppey district of Kerala.Haripad, a culturally renowned ancient town with prominent role in the history of Central Travancore, is rich with its exquisite green paddy fields, towering coconut palms and serene atmosphere of the adjacent hamlets. Now Haripad is a well-developed town with enough civic infrastructure like shopping complexes, hotels & lodges, educational institutions and hospitals.
The ancient Subrahmanya Swamy Temple in Haripad, which is
A View of the Mannarassala Temple
One of the renowned Subrahmanya temples of Kerala and a testimonial to the glory of the great Kerala temple architecture, is located on the way to the Mannarassala temple. Proper signboards are available from the N.H.47 to the temple. Since the temple is very renowned, accessibility to the temple may not be a problem for the devotees. Various cabs and auto rickshaws are available near the Haripad bus station and Railway station to reach Mannarassala at nominal fare. Since located near the highway almost equidistant between the cities of Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi (approx.113 kms and 103 kms respectively), it is easy to reach Haripad via bus and train.
International Airport - Distance 121 kms.
Nedumbassery International Airport - Distance - 132 kms.
Nearest Railway Stations
Haripad Railway Station - 3 kms
Mavelikkara Railway Station - 10 kms
Kayamkulam Railway Station - 11 kms
Though the legends related to the origin of a place cannot be deemed as its history, the story on the evolution of Mannarasala as the supreme place of worship of the serpent Gods is associated with Parasurama, the creator of Kerala. The history of Mannarasala has been mentioned in the 'Mandara Salodayam' Sanskrit poem written by Mannarasala M.G.Narayanan Nampoodiri of the sacred family, who wrote it on the basis of reliable accounts and legends traditionally handed down and in the light of old books available with the temple. Since the poem was incomplete, the history narrated here is from the book 'The Serpent Temple Mannarasala', published by Mr.N.Jayadevan of Manasa Publications (Translated to English by the renowned scholar Dr.Ayyappa Panikker). This book is also based on the advice and instructions received from the former Great Mother, and in accordance with the other members of the family as well as the old records examined for the purpose.
The Raising of Kerala:
Sree Parasurama decided to seek release from the sin of killing the Kshathrias. He approached the holy Rishis. They suggested that he should make a gift of a land of his own to the Brahmins. Parasurama, the son of Bhrigu, propitiated Varuna Deva (the Lord of the Seas) to get some land for himself. He threw into the sea the axe which Paramasiva had given him with his blessings. Thus he raised the land from the sea and gave it as a gift to the Brahmins according to the rules. This land came to be known as Kerala. That piece of land was not habitable because of the salinity. Not even vegetables grew there. People began to leave the place. Bharghavarama was pained at this. He undertook penance to please Lord Siva, who advised him that the objective could be realized only if the flaming poison of the serpents was spread everywhere and that the only means of doing that was the worship of Nagaraja.
Parasurama, a Yogi, firm of will and above all desire, decided that he would take no rest until he saw Kerala come up as a land of evergreen beauty full of trees and plants, prosperous in every way. He set out with his disciples in search of a deserted jungle in order to please Nagaraja who was inaccessible and beyond anybody's understanding. He found a suitable place near the seashore in the southern part of Kerala. Satisfied with having found a proper place for the realization of his cherished dream, the great Rishi constructed a Thirthasthala for the performance of penance. Bharghavarama, a partial incarnation of Lord Vishnu, had to undertake very severe penance.
Nagaraja makes his appearance
Nagaraja, who was pleased, appeared before Parasurama, willing to grant him his desire. According to the poem by Mannarasala M.G.Narayanan Namboodiri, the Nagaraja made his appearance as if :
" The unspeakable splendor of millions of moons! The bright magnificence of emeralds stuck to the hoods. Golden jewels made attractive by miraculous embroidery! Lotus feet worshipped by crowds of Gods! Brilliant beauty of form, full of youthfulness!".
Parasurama prostrated at the lotus feet of Nagaraja and prayed to realize his objective. Nagaraja granted his request with great pleasure. Ferocious serpents arrived at the spot at once to spread the flaming Kalakuda poison. Because of the percolation of poison, the land of Kerala was desalinated, to become habitable with envious greenery.
Parasurama then requested the Lord to bless the land forever with his eternal presence, and that was also accepted by the kindly-disposed Nagaraja.