4.7 / 5

Thirunelli Temple

🗓 Best Time To Visit:September to March

⏰ Open Hours:5:30 AM to 12:00 PM, 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM

🏞 Things To Do:Temple visit, Sightseeing, Wildlife spotting at nearby Pakshipathalam Bird Sanctuary

💰 Budget:No entry fee

🧳 Traveller Types:Pilgrims, Nature Lovers, History Enthusiasts

🔍 Known For:One of the oldest temples in Kerala, famous for its location amidst the Brahmagiri hills and unique ritual of 'Pithrukarma'

🚉 Distances:From Kozhikode railway station: 121.8 km, From Calicut International Airport: 130.5 km, From Wayanad city center: 31.8 km

👣 Accessibility:Temple is accessible via road, closest bus stop is at Mananthavady, 32 km away

🌳 Nearby Attractions:Pakshipathalam Bird Sanctuary, Papanasini River, Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary

🕍 Temple Architecture:Ancient Kerala style architecture with carved wooden doors and stone walls

📌 Tips:Wear modest clothing as it's a place of worship. Photography is not allowed inside the temple

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Thirunelli Temple: A Sacred and Scenic Destination in Kerala

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to visit a temple that has been blessed by the trinity of Hindu gods - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva? A temple that can fulfill all your wishes and cleanse all your sins? A temple that is surrounded by the majestic Brahmagiri hills and the lush green forests of Wayanad? If yes, then you should definitely plan a trip to Thirunelli Temple, one of the most ancient and sacred temples in Kerala.

Thirunelli Temple is a temple dedicated to Lord Maha Vishnu, located on the side of Brahmagiri hill in Wayanad district of Kerala, near the border with Karnataka state. It is also known as Sahyamala Kshetram and Kashi of the South. It is believed that the temple was built by Lord Brahma himself and that Lord Vishnu resides here as an idol set in an Amla tree.

Photo of Thirunelli Temple 1/7 by
(c) The Woods Resort

The temple draws pilgrims from all over India, primarily for ancestral rites. The rituals are performed on the banks of the Papanasini river, which flows down from Mount Brahmagiri. It is said that this river has divine power to wash away all sins of the mortals.

There is also a holy rock near the temple, where people pray for their forefathers. On the western side of the temple, there is a cave temple called Gunnika, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Thus, Thirunelli Temple becomes a unique place where all the members of the Hindu trinity are present and worshipped.

In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about Thirunelli Temple, its history, significance, rituals, location and attractions. We will also give you some tips on how to reach the temple, when to visit, where to stay and what to do in and around the temple. By the end of this article, you will be convinced that Thirunelli Temple is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves spirituality, nature and culture.

How to Reach Thirunelli Temple

Thirunelli Temple is located at an altitude of about 900 meters in north Wayanad, about 32 km away from Mananthavady town. You can reach the temple by various modes of transport and routes from different places in Kerala and Karnataka. Here are some of the options:

By Air:

The nearest airport is Calicut International Airport, which is about 150 km away from the temple. You can take a flight to Calicut from major cities in India and abroad. From Calicut, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to Mananthavady and then another bus or taxi to Thirunelli Temple.

By Train:

The nearest railway station is Kozhikode Railway Station, which is about 140 km away from the temple. You can take a train to Kozhikode from major cities in India. From Kozhikode, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to Mananthavady and then another bus or taxi to Thirunelli Temple.

By Road:

You can drive to Thirunelli Temple from various places in Kerala and Karnataka by following the road signs and directions. The roads are well-maintained and scenic, but some sections may be narrow and steep.

History and Significance of Thirunelli Temple

Thirunelli Temple has a rich and fascinating history that dates back to thousands of years. According to legend, Lord Brahma was traveling around the universe on his swan when he was attracted by the beauty of Brahmagiri hill. He descended on that spot and saw an idol of Lord Vishnu set in an Amla tree.

He recognized the idol as Lord Vishnu himself and decided to build a temple there. He named it Sahyamala Kshetram, meaning the temple on the mountain. He also requested Lord Vishnu to bless the waters of the area so that they would wash away all sins. Lord Vishnu agreed and thus the Papanasini river was born.

Photo of Thirunelli Temple 2/7 by
(c) Wayanad Tourism

The temple is also mentioned in various Puranas and Hindu texts as a sacred and powerful place. The Matsya Purana, Skanda Purana, Narasimha Purana, Padma Purana and many other texts refer to the temple as the Kashi of the South. The temple is also associated with the famous incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Parasurama. It is said that Parasurama visited Thirunelli and performed the last rites of his father, sage Jamadagni, who was killed by a king. He also took a dip in the Papanasini river to wash away his sins of killing many kings.

Thirunelli Temple is unique in many ways. It is the only temple in the world where you can perform all the rituals related to your life, from birth to death and beyond. You can perform ceremonies such as naming, tonsuring, thread wearing, marriage, etc. at the temple. You can also perform ancestral rites such as shraddha, pinda, tarpana, etc. at the holy rock and the Papanasini river. It is believed that by doing so, you will attain peace and salvation for yourself and your ancestors.

You may also like to read: Wayanad - Thirunelli Temple

Thirunelli Temple is also significant for its connection to Lord Shiva. There is a cave temple called Gunnika on the western side of the temple, where Lord Shiva is worshipped as a swayambhu linga. According to legend, Lord Shiva came to this place to console Lord Vishnu, who was grieving for his devotee Prahlada. Lord Shiva also blessed the place and said that whoever worships him here will be freed from all diseases and afflictions. The cave temple is also linked to other temples such as Kottiyoor and Trisillery, where Lord Shiva is worshipped in different forms.

Temple Architecture and Features

Thirunelli Temple is an embodiment of ancient temple architecture and culture. The temple has a rectangular shape and is surrounded by a granite wall. The main entrance is on the east side and has a gopuram or tower with intricate carvings.

The temple has a mandapam or hall with wooden pillars and a prakaram or corridor around the sanctum sanctorum. The sanctum sanctorum houses the idol of Lord Vishnu, which is made of black stone and has four arms holding a conch, a discus, a mace and a lotus. The idol faces east and has a serene expression.

The temple has many features and attractions that make it a unique and beautiful place. One of them is the aquaduct that brings water to the temple from a natural spring on the hill. The aquaduct is made of stone and has a series of steps and channels that carry the water to different parts of the temple. The water is used for various purposes such as bathing, drinking, cooking, etc. The water is also considered sacred and has healing properties.

Another feature of the temple is the pooja rites and festivals that are performed throughout the year. The temple follows a strict schedule of pooja rites that are conducted by the priests in accordance with the scriptures. The pooja rites include nirmalya darshanam, abhishekam, alankaram, ucha pooja, deeparadhana, athazha pooja, etc. The temple also celebrates many festivals such as Vishu, Onam, Ekadashi, Sivaratri, etc. with great fervor and devotion. The festivals are marked by special rituals, offerings, processions, cultural programs, etc.

Nearby Attractions and Activities

Thirunelli Temple is not only a place of worship, but also a place of wonder and adventure. There are many nearby attractions and activities that tourists can enjoy while visiting the temple. Here are some of them:

Photo of Thirunelli Temple 3/7 by
Brahmagiri hill - (c) Wikimedia

Brahmagiri Hills:

The Brahmagiri hills are the backdrop of the temple and offer a stunning view of the landscape. The hills are also a trekking destination for adventure seekers. The trekking route starts from the temple and goes up to the peak of the hill, which is about 1600 meters high. The trekking route passes through dense forests, grasslands, streams and waterfalls. The trekking takes about 4 hours to complete and requires permission from the forest department.

Photo of Thirunelli Temple 4/7 by

Wildlife Sanctuary:

The Brahmagiri hills are also home to a wildlife sanctuary that covers an area of 181 square kilometers. The sanctuary is a habitat for various animals and birds, such as elephants, tigers, leopards, gaurs, deer, monkeys, peacocks, hornbills, etc. The sanctuary also has a watchtower and an interpretation center for visitors. The sanctuary is open from 7 am to 5 pm and requires permission from the forest department.

Photo of Thirunelli Temple 5/7 by

Papanasini River:

The Papanasini river is a sacred and scenic attraction near the temple. The river originates from the Brahmagiri hills and flows down to the temple. The river is believed to have the power to wash away all sins and diseases. Many pilgrims take a dip in the river and perform ancestral rites on its banks. The river also has a waterfall and a bridge that add to its beauty.

Gunnika Cave Temple:

The Gunnika cave temple is another attraction near the temple. It is a cave temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located on the western side of the temple. The cave temple has a swayambhu linga or a self-manifested linga that is worshipped by devotees. The cave temple also has a legend associated with it. It is said that Lord Shiva came here to console Lord Vishnu, who was grieving for his devotee Prahlada. Lord Shiva also blessed the place and said that whoever worships him here will be freed from all diseases and afflictions.

Photo of Thirunelli Temple 6/7 by

Local Cuisine, Culture and Handicrafts:

Thirunelli Temple is also a place where visitors can experience the local cuisine, culture and handicrafts of Wayanad. The temple has a canteen that serves delicious vegetarian food, such as rice, sambar, rasam, avial, payasam, etc. The temple also has a souvenir shop that sells various handicrafts made by the local artisans, such as bamboo baskets, pottery, paintings, etc. The temple also hosts cultural programs during festivals, such as folk dances, music, drama, etc.

You may also like to read: Thirunelly : Wayanad's unknown neighbour

Best Time to Visit Thirunelli Temple

Thirunelli Temple can be visited throughout the year, but the best time to visit is from October to March. This is the time when the weather is pleasant and cool, and the nature is at its best. The temperature ranges from 15°C to 25°C during this time. This is also the time when most of the festivals are celebrated at the temple, such as Vishu in April, Onam in August or September, Ekadashi in November or December, Sivaratri in February or March, etc.

Photo of Thirunelli Temple 7/7 by
(c) Hindu Blog

The summer season from April to May is also a good time to visit, but it can be hot and humid. The temperature ranges from 25°C to 35°C during this time. This is also the time when the Papanasini river is full and flowing.

The monsoon season from June to September is not recommended for visiting, as it can be rainy and slippery. The temperature ranges from 20°C to 30°C during this time. This is also the time when the trekking and wildlife activities are restricted due to safety reasons.

Accommodation, Facilities and Safety Measures

Thirunelli Temple has various accommodation options for visitors who want to stay overnight or longer. There are guest houses run by the temple authorities that offer basic amenities such as rooms, beds, toilets, etc. There are also hotels and resorts nearby that offer more facilities such as restaurants, swimming pools, spas, etc. The rates vary depending on the season and availability.

The temple also has various facilities for visitors such as parking space, drinking water, toilets, canteen, souvenir shop, etc. The temple also has security guards and CCTV cameras for safety purposes. The temple timings are from 5:30 am to 12:00 pm and from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

The visitors should follow some safety measures while visiting Thirunelli Temple such as:

1. Dress modestly and respectfully while entering the temple premises

2. Remove shoes and leather items before entering the sanctum sanctorum

3. Do not touch or disturb the idol or the pooja items

4. Do not take photos or videos inside the temple without permission

5. Do not litter or pollute the temple premises or the river

6. Do not feed or harm the animals or birds in the sanctuary

7. Do not venture into the forest or the hills without permission or guidance

8. Carry a first aid kit and medicines for emergencies

9. Respect the customs and traditions of the temple and the locals

Thirunelli Temple is a sacred and scenic destination in Kerala that offers a unique and memorable experience for visitors. It is a place where you can worship Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma, and perform all the rituals related to your life. It is also a place where you can enjoy the beauty and adventure of nature, and explore the culture and cuisine of Wayanad. It is a place that will make you feel closer to yourself and your ancestors.

If you are looking for a spiritual, natural and cultural getaway, then Thirunelli Temple is the perfect choice for you.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful. If you did, please share it with your friends and family who may be interested in visiting Thirunelli Temple.

Also, let us know your feedback or queries in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you. We wish you a happy and safe journey to Thirunelli Temple.

Thirunelli Temple Reviews

After numerous photo sessions and fully satisfied that nothing was left unexplored we left for Thirunelli Temple. It's an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Male devotees are not allowed to wear Shirts or vest . The Locals donned "mundes" while offering prayers. We were not allowed to take pictures .
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