Discover the Enchanting Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple: A Serene Abode of Serpent Worship in Kerala

Situated within a dense green forest grove, the Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple is recognized for serpent worship. It's known as one of the largest Nagaraja Temples in Kerala, dedicated to the serpent deity, Nagaraja.

Mannarasala Temple

Nestled amidst plentiful trees, the temple exudes a tranquil atmosphere. It's distinct because the oldest member of a Brahmin family serves as its priestess. The puja and rituals are overseen by this priestess, affectionately referred to as Mannarasala Amma by devotees. The temple grounds feature approximately 30,000 idols of serpent deities in various sizes and shapes set along paths and amongst the trees. A prominent offering here is Uruli Kamazhthal, wherein childless couples seek blessings from Nagaraja for fertility by offering an inverted bell metal vessel.


The history of Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple is related to Parasurama, the creator of Kerala. It is believed that Parasurama threw his axe into the sea and thus raised the land from the sea, known as Kerala and he gifted it to the Brahmins. Due to the high concentration of salt, the land was not habitable which prompted the people to leave the place in a hurry. Parasurama was deeply saddened by this. So he decided to start a penance in order to please Lord Shiva, who ordered him to worship Nagaraja. Being pleased with his penance, Nagaraja appeared before him and blessed him with a desalinated land and also granted the eternal presence in Kerala. Thus as per the wish of Parasurama, Nagaraja decided to reside at that place and bless its residents.

As per the Vedic rites, Parasurama installed the deity and Nagaraja chose to reside in the Mandara trees nearby. Hence the place was called Mandarasala which is now known as Mannarasala. To perform the poojas, Parasurama appointed Brahmins who were Tantric experts. He also nominated Kshatriyas, peasants and the Ashtavaidyas who were supreme amongst the physicians and gave them instructions to be followed to preserve the sanctity of the place and he left.

As per the legends, a Brahmin couple named Vasudeva And Sreedevi were childless and they resolutely worshipped for a child. At that time, an unexpected fire broke out in the forest around the dwelling place of Nagaraja and brunt down the forest. The serpents were badly burnt by the flame. The couples took care of the wounded serpents, poured ghee mixed with honey and oil on the wounds and cooled their melted bodies with sandalwood paste and comforted them. When their wounds were cured and regain their health, they were put back at the foot of the banyan trees and new pits were also constructed for them to reside. The couples offered a mixture of ghee, milk, payasam, rice powder, turmeric powder, coconut juice, bananas, cow's milk to the Nagaraja as a ritual and conducted elaborate poojas. This offering is known as Nurum Palum which is still an important offering of the temple.

Nagaraja was very pleased with this offering, so he made an appearance to the couple and said that he would incarnate as their son and stay here permanently in the form of a serpent. As per the blessings of Nagaraja, Sreedevi became pregnant and gave birth to a five-headed serpent child as well as a human child. Both of them grew up together. As time went by, Nagaraja told his younger brother to get married for the perpetual preservation of the holy family and likewise, he obeyed it. Upon realizing that the objectives of his incarnation had been done, Nagaraja informed his mother that he would live at this home and went into the cellar of the house and vanished after suggesting certain rituals and rules for offering worship.

It is believed that the five-headed Nagaraja still stays in the cellar of the house in meditation for the prosperity of his dependents. Before leaving for the cellar, Nagaraja had given certain instructions to his mother that only mother herself can offer worship to him and men are allowed only on certain days. After the mother's time, it was decided that the senior most Brahmin lady in the family would have the status of the Mother. This is the reason why the rituals of this temple are carried out by a priestess.


Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple covers an area of 16 acres and is situated amidst dense green forest grove.

This temple is dedicated to Nagaraja, the serpent God.

The main idols of the temple are Nagaraja and his consort, Sarpayakshini.

Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple houses over 30,000 images of snakes in various sizes and shapes along the path and among the trees.

This temple helps clear all problems associated with sins related to snakes etc.

It is said to be the largest serpent worship temple in the southern state of Kerala.

The main speciality of the Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple is that the pooja and other rituals are carried out by a woman whom the devotees fondly call as Mannarasala Amma.

Vasuki representing Shiva and Anantha representing Vishnuswaroopa are the two major deities of this temple.

‘Uruli Kamazhthal’, the placing of a bell metal vessel upside down in front of the deity is the most popular offering of Mannarasala Temple which restores fertility to childless couples.


Mannarasala Festival (Utsavam): This festival is celebrated in the months of Kanni and Thulam on the day of Ayilyam asterism which mainly falls between September and October. The procession in which all the serpent idols in the Temple and the sacred grove are taken to the Illam (the Brahmin ancestral home) where the offerings of Nurum Palum (rice flour and milk), kuruthi (a red liquid made of turmeric and lime) and cooked rice are made is the main highlight of this temple festival.

Annual pooja in Nilavara: After Shivarathri, on the fifth day, Mannarasala Amma, the priestess of the temple comes to the Illam after the daily pooja in the temple and opens the cellar. Nurum Palum is the prasadam of the temple and the priestess distribute it among the members of the family.

Mahashivratri: Mahashivratri is considered as a special festival of the temple. The Nagaraja is installed in the temple in accordance with the concept of Siva and the poojas in the temple are on the Saivite model.

Deeparadhana: Fasting is compulsory on Shivarathri during which all Poojas including the ‘Athazhapuja (evening worship) are performed. Sarpabali and Ezhunallathu (procession) is the events on that day.


5 AM to 12 PM.

5:30 PM to 7:30 PM.

Dress Code

Traditional wears are the most preferable attire while visiting the Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple. Women can wear Saree, Churidar, and Pavada and blouse to this temple. Men are not allowed to wear shirts while entering the Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple.

Way To Reach

By Air - Thiruvananthapuram International Airport and Cochin International Airport are the nearest airports to Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple which are 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.

By Rail - Haripad Railway Station is the nearest railway station to Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple 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.

By Road - Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple is just 3 Km to the south-east of Haripad Bus Station.


What is the significance of the Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple?

The temple is dedicated to Nagaraja, the serpent deity, and is known for its serene atmosphere and unique rituals led by a priestess, Mannarasala Amma.

What is Uruli Kamazhthal, and why is it performed?

Uruli Kamazhthal is a ritual where childless couples offer an inverted bell metal vessel to seek blessings for fertility from Nagaraja.

How many serpent idols are there in the Mannarasala Temple?

The temple grounds feature approximately 30,000 serpent idols in various sizes and shapes.

What festivals are celebrated at the Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple?

Major festivals include the Mannarasala Utsavam (celebrated in September/October), Mahashivratri, and the Annual Pooja in Nilavara.

Can non-Hindus visit the Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple?

While the temple primarily welcomes Hindu devotees, visitors are encouraged to respect local customs and traditions when visiting.