Temples of Kerala - Thirunelli Temple

by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author)

The Thirunelli Temple located at 30 kms from Mananthavadi in Wayanad of Kerala is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu on the side of Brahmagiri hills close to Papanasini River which is believed to have curative effects on the human body. This temple is also referred as Thekkan Kasi. There are inscriptions in the temple which date back to the period of Bhaskara Ravi Varma I.

The popular legend of the temple has that when Lord Brahma was traveling on the earth on his vehicle swan he was attracted by the beauty of the Brahmagiri hills. After descending, he notices an idol set in an Amla tree and recognizes the idol as the Vishnu. The place was identified as Vishnuloka. With the help of Devas, Brahma installed the idol and called Sahyamalak Kshetra. On Brahma’s request, Vishnu promised that the waters of the area would wash away all the sins. Thus the river has the name Papanasini meaning “washes away all the sins”.

The temple is an excellent example of ancient temple architecture, built of large pieces of square granite slabs that have been carved and sculpted to perfection. The floor of the Thirunelli Temple is made with massive granite blocks. The important festivals of the temple are the Chuttuvilakku, the Puthari, the Sivarthri, the Sreekrishnajayanti and the Navarathri.


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