Thirunelli temple is located in the Wayanad district, 32 km from the Mananthavady town. The temple is situated on the valley of the Brahmagiri hills and situated close the Koorg mountain ranges.  It is a very rare temple, where the main deity is Maha Vishnu. It is believed that "Brahma"the creator God of the Hindu Holy trinity.

Temples of Kerala - Thirunelli Temple  - Wayanad
Thirunelli Temple  - Wayanad

The temple attracts pilgrims as well as nature lovers due to the proximity of lush green forest and water bodies near to it. There is also a very special pond located harly 500 meters away from the temple. It is known as "Papanashini" - literally meaning one who eliminates all sins.

It is believed that all your sins of this lifetime get pardoned if you take a dip in this holy water.

Brahmagiri Hills - Pakshi Pathalam - Near Thirunelli Temple  - Wayanad
Brahmagiri Hills near the Thirunelli Temple
By Aneesh Jose (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

"Nelli" in Malayalam means gooseberry. There is a legend behind, how the name "Thirunelli - means holy gooseberry" came in to use. In ancient days three Brahmin devotees were travelling through the desnse forest to visit the Thirunelli temple. On the way the became very tired as they did not have anything to eat or drink. Then they found a gooseberry tree, standing in the middle of the forest. They ate the gooseberries and were relieved of  thirst and hunger. They got a vision that it was none other than Lord Vishnu and Shiva revealed the gooseberry tree to them. They named the temple as "Thirunelly".

Thirunelli temple front view 
By Vijayakumarblathur (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Thirunelli is an ancient temple and has a great position in 1000 AD during the rule of Bhaskara Ravi Varma of Chera dynasty. There is another famous temple situated quite close to the Thirunelli temple, it is known as the Kottiyoor temple. It is believed that there is an underground cave path from Thirunelli temple to the Kottiyoor temple.

Another specialty of Thirunelli temple is the way in which the water arrives at the temple. There is no well in the temple. There is a stone aqueduct, bringing water from the top of the Brahmagiri mountains directly to the sanctum of the temple. The sanctum is quite simple housing the four armed stone idol of Maha Vishnu.

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