Thirunelli Temple (also Tirunelli) is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu on the side of Brahmagiri hill in Kerala. The temple is at an altitude of about 900m in north Wayanad in a valley surrounded by mountains and beautiful forests. It is 32 km away from Manathavady. Thirunelli Temple is the only temple in the world where the devotees can perform all the rituals related to ones life, starting from birth to death and life after death. It is one of the most ancient temples in Kerala. It is believed that here the prathishta of Lord Vishnu was performed by Lord Brahma. It is also known as Sahyamala Kshetram and Kashi of the South. Thirunelli Temple draws pilgrims from allover, primarily for ancestral rites. The rituals are performed on the banks of the stream Papanasini which flows down from Mount Brahmagiri. It is believed that this stream has divine power to dissolve sins of all the mortals. Another major attraction of the temple is the holy rock where people pray for their forefathers. On the western side of the temple is the cave temple Gunnika, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Thus Thirunelli becomes blessed by the unique presence of all the members of the trinity. The beautiful Brahmagiri hills and the surrounding lush green forests have made the temple premises a valley of tranquility. So everybody feels completely relaxed after sitting in the sanctum of the temple. The temple is an embodiment of ancient temple architecture. The aquaduct that brings water to the temple is also a witness to hundreds of years of history. The name Thirunelli derives from the word nelli, the Malayalam/Tamil equivalent for Indian gooseberry (Amla) tree. Once when Lord Brahma while traversing the world, saw an idol of Lord Vishnu resting on an amla tree in the valley and thus the place came to be named Thirunelli. In Padma Purana (written by Veda Vyasa) there is mention of a beautiful Vishnu temple located in the picturesque Sahya valley deep in the middle of the forest. Thirunelli temple is also referred to as Amalaka temple and Sidha temple. History depicts Chera king Kulasekharan as the founder of this temple. He lived between A.D 767 and A.D 834. After a brief reign, he relinquished the throne and started missionary work to propagate Vaishnava order. It was he who wrote the Sanskrit work Mukundamaala in which he earnestly prays to Lord Vishnu to instill in him devotion. On stylistic ground this looks as a typical Kerala temple. The inner sanctorum is surrounded by a tile roofed structure. And theres an open courtyard around the sanctorum. At the east, in front of the entrance is a granite lamp-post. Curiously enough the flag post is absent, though one can spot a hole on the floor where it ought to be. Along the outer wall of the temple is a cloister made of granite pillars cut in cubical style. This part of the temple architecture is slightly unusual for a Kerala temple. And it seems the cloister work was never completed. The story goes that once the King of Coorg, tried to renovate this temple. When he was half way through, the Vellattiri King who owned the temple objected to the same. Thus renovation was discontinued. Even today we can see proof of the half finished renovation work.
Location : Thirunelli Temple, Mananthavady, Wayanad, Kerala, India.
Gods : Lord Vishnu
Landmark : There are many options that are available to reach the place and the Wayanad District is well connected to most of the other parts of the state. Nearest Airport is located at Kozhikode which is around 80 km from the place. The only way to reach the place from the airport is through taxis and these can be hired from outside the airport. Taxis cost approximately Rs 1,000 for the trip. This is the best option for those who are arriving by air. Nearest Railway Station is also located in Kozhikode and one can hire taxis from just outside the railway station. The best option is to book a cab through the hotels as they are a much safer option. Travelling by train is the most comfortable option and there are train services from various parts of the country to Kozhikode. There are frequent buses that are available from places such as Mysore and Kozhikode to Wayanad District. Ticket rates depend on the distance.
Puthari, Chuttuvilakku, Navarathri, Shivarathri and Sreekrishnajayanthi are the festivals conducted in this temple.