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Thirunelli Temple Festival – Story Of Sree Thirunelli Mahavishnu Temple

Thirunelli Mahavishnu Temple is located around 32 kilometers from Mananthavady in Wayanad district, Kerala. Thirunelli temple festival 2024 date is April 14 and April 15. The two day festival ends on Vishu day. The story of Thirunelli kshetram is associated with Brahma - Vishnu and Nelli maram.

The main deity worshipped in the temple is Bhagavan Vishnu who faces east. The murti is four-armed (Chatur Bahu) and holds Shanku and Chakra. The Upa Devatas worshipped in the temple are Ganapathy, Hanuman and Nagam.

Balikkallu in the temple is located little away from the front of sreekovil.

The temple is located atop a hill surrounded on four sides by mountains.

Story Of Sree Thirunelli Mahavishnu Temple

It is said that once Brahma was performing a Tirth yatra through the mountains of Wayanad. He happened to see Bhagwan Vishnu sitting atop the branch of gooseberry tree (Nellikka mara kombu) on a hill. A divine voice from the sky asked Brahma to consecrate Vishnu atop the hill. Brahma performed the prathishta of Vishnu atop the hill. As Vishnu was seen sitting atop a nelli maram, the place got the name Thirunelli.

A cave temple called Gunnika dedicated to Lord Shiva is also present near the main temple complex.

There are beautiful sculptures on the granite walls of the temple.  The shrine is shielded with 30 granite columns and the ground is paved with huge square pieces of granite.

The belief is that the temple was built before 10th century AD. There are inscriptions in the temple about Chera King Bhaskara Varma who ruled during the 10th century AD.

Chirakkal Amma And Ancient Water Canal In Thirunelli Temple

The water for Thirunelli temple is brought to the temple through a granite canal (aqueduct ) from an urava in Brahmagiri Hill which is a kilometer away. This is a classic example of water distribution in ancient times. It is believed that the water canal in Thirunelli temple was constructed under the management of Kettilamma of Chirakal King.

The stone aqueduct ensures uninterrupted water supply to the temple from the forest. Its channels are supported by pillars with interesting murals carved on them. Even today, cold mountain water gushes out of these channels.

It is said that once a woman who had visited asked the priest for some water to quench the thirst of her child. The priest told the woman that he will not give water that he carried far away from the temple. Chirakkal Amma who was present in the temple heard the cries of the child and the conversation between the priest and the mother of the child. She then decided to put an end to water owes in the temple and built the canal.

Another legend has it that once mud got stuck on the feet of Chirakkal Amma and she found no water source in the temple to wash it. So the canal was built as a solution to the water shortage.

Papanasini River flows near the temple. A holy dip in the river helps in washing away the sins of this birth and all previous births.

It is said that Parshuram avatar of Vishnu performed Pinda Dhanam, Shraddham and Bali Tharpanam on the Pinda Para (rock) near the temple. Therefore it is considered highly meritorious to perform Bali Tharpanam in the temple.

The no moon day in Kumbha Masam is observed as Kumbha Vavu - hundreds of people offer Bali and Tarpan to dead ancestors on the day here. So also on Karkidaka Vavu day.