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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 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 Sree Nagaraja Temple. In the light of experience, many devotees who have experienced and heard about the miraculous powers of the serpents and the presiding deities here, tell many stories about Mannarasala temple.It is not a rare thing to see the same serpent appear in the same location for a number of days in the temple premises. On the steps of the gatehouse, on the hedgerows, among the creepers; those who perform bhajanam in the temple can stand very close at any time and pray.
On one occasion, about six decades ago, a fierce yellow serpent started dancing on the eastern bank of the holy pond near the Appooppan Kavu carrying an evil snake inits mouth. Then it vomited the evil snake and released it. The serpent raised its hood either out of fear or out of a desire of revenge. The fierce snake with a sense of humor swallowed that cobra again. The late Valia Amma came to know about it. She came to the spot with tears in her eyes and spoke a few words. The serpent did not budge. This drama lasted for half an hour. Amma became sad. With the chanting of manthras, she prayed for the release of the cobra. No more delay, the serpent left the cobra, bent down its head and went straight into the Appooppan Kavu, as if nothing had happened. The nature of the yellow snakes of Appoppan Kavu is beyond description, and is wonderful.
Though the legends related to the origin of a place cannot be deemed as its history, the story on the evolution of Mannarassala Sree Nagaraja Temple 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.
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