Thirunelli Temple is the only temple in the world where the devotees can perform all the rituals related to
one’s 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
d 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.
Thirunelli is a unique place where one would experience communion of nature with the divine forces. Thus
it becomes an ideal spot for pilgrimage as well as an idyllic location for enjoying the nature’s bounties.
Sunrise on the Brahamagiri at the back drop of Thirunelli temple is an enthralling sight. Papanasini,
Pinnappara, Panchatheertham and Gunnika Temple are the other places of importance for the pilgrims who
come with ardour and devotion.
During early times, water for temple use was brought from Papanasini stream. During a draught period, the
wife of Chirackal Raja who was a member of the famous Vaarikkara Nayanar tharavad, came with her
attendants to temple to worship. She asked the Priest some water to dissolve the sandal, which he was not
able to give. Being enlightened about the water scarcity in the temple she asked her attendants to solve the
problem. They found out the water source called Varaham in the thick forest. From there the water was
brought, using bamboo halves for immediate use. Subsequent to her return home, she sent men and
materials to construct the present stone aqueduct to bring an uninterrupted water supply to the temple.
The granite open channels are supported by pillars with
interesting murals carved on. Even till date, cold mountain stream water gush out of this aqueduct.
Pinnappara This rock is supposed to be the bone of an asuran (demon) named Pazhana-bhedi, who was killed by
Vishnu. At the time of his death, he prayed to Vishnu that his body be converted into a rock extending from Thirunelli to Gaya
and divided into three parts fit for the performance of offerings for the departed, at (1)Thiurnelli
representing his foot, (2)Godavari representing the middle part, and (3)Gaya representing the head.
Offerings at any of these three places are supposed to have special benefits in producing happiness and in
the propitiation of the spirits. In Thirunelli ritual offerings to the spirits are made at Pinnappara, especially
on the New Moon days of the Malayalam months Karkkidakom, Thulam and Kumbham.
It is believed that Sri Rama and his brother Lakshmana performed the ‘pithrukarma’ of their father King
Dasaratha, standing on this rock.