The cult of snake worship in Kerala is closely interwoven with the life of the people of the State and is a component of its rich cultural heritage. Both within the sacred groves and outside snakes are still revered and worshiped with much piety in this State. The stillness within the deep shade of the groves, the feeling of the wilderness provided by the forest-like vegetation, the unique rituals practices and taboos still associated with snakes, the mystery associated with treatment all add on to Naga Worship...
Here is a look into some of the famous temples in Kerala with Naga Pratishtas:
The presiding deity of this temple is Sapthamathrukkal. Sapthamathrukkal means Veerabhadran, Ganapathy, Brahmani, Maheshwari, Kowmari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Indrani and Chamundi. The very speciality of Ameda temple is the main deity is Saptha Mathrus in the sanctum. Nagaraja and Nagayakshi sanctums are outside. In the western sideNagraja is shrined. In the eastern side Nagayakshi is shrined. In addition Lord Mahavishnu is shrined in the northern side. Lord Mahavishnu was the Kuladevata of Vettathunadu raja, belong to Samoothiri clan. The Illams are to the north of the temple. The temple premises are situated in a vast area of about 10 acres.
The important offerings in the temple are listed below
Karthika Payasam-This is an offering to beget the desired child. It has to be done on 12 karthika days after temple visit.
Palapayasa Homam-This is to be performed only by those who have unknowingly destructed snake dwellings , snakes etc.
Kindi Eriyal and Poovattaka Kamizthal-These too are offerings to beget the desired child.Kindi eriyal is for Jalayakshi and Poovattaka Kamizthal is for Saptha mathrus.
Ayilyam Idi-It is an offering performed by Illams itself for the well being on the Ayilyam day of Kanni, Vrichikam and meenam. The elders using sandal wood lofts grind wetted raw rice in wooden grinder after prayers with Hariyohara. They sprinkle them to their and others heads just like our Asirvadam manner . Devotes too can offer the same with the guidance of the Nampoothiries.
Sarpabali and Ashta naga pooja-The Ameda temple is very famous for Sarpabali. ON SPECIFIED DAYS OF THE MONTH ONLY IT IS CONDUCTED. Advance booking is a must. The sarpabali is to appease the nagas and for Rahu Dosha. First worship is at Nagayakshi and then to Nagaraja during sarpabali.
Pulluvan pattu.-This is an important offering to appease Nagas and get their blessings . In Ameda it is performed by members of the Pulluva families near to the temple and takes about 3-5 minutes singing for a person .
1. Karthika Pooja : Special archana and Dwadashakshari Pooja done in this occassion.
2. Thrikarthika (Karthika of malayalam month Vrischikam)
3. Bhagavathy seva
4. Guruthy Pooja :- Vaishnavi treated more significant here for this pooja. Its done for starting 12th days of karkidakam month in malayalam calendar.
The main festival is conducted during the "Meenam" month (March-April) of Malayalam calendar. Kodiyettu is the beginning of festival on Makayeeram star of malayalam calendar. Ayilya darshanam on Aayilyam star, Uthsava bali on "Makam", Valiya Vilakku or Pallivetta on "Pooram" and " Aarattu" on "Uthram" .
MANNARASALA NAGARAJA TEMPLE
Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple 1 1/2 km north of Haripad Subramanya Temple, Aayilyam in Kanni and Thulam Oct - Nov, are the main festivals and lakhs of devotees gather there. The main offering " Noorum Palum" ( a combination of Turmeric powder, rice powder and mixed with cows milk) is the naivedya for the serpant god. Uruli is the vessel made up of bell metal and it is dedicated in front of the Sreekovil upside down is considered very auspicious, especially the childless couples, who believe they will be blessed with children
It is one of the famous snake adoring temples in Kerala, and is situated in Mannarasala near Haripad, at Alappuzha district. The presiding deities are Vasuki and Nagayakshi (As per Mayashilpa, it is said that Vasuki stands first among nagams. Vasuki is white as a pearl (2) Thakshagan is red (3) Karkodagan is black (4) Pad man is red as a lotus (5) Mahapadman is white (6) Sangapalan is yellow (7) Kulika is red, and all ofthem have two tongues). The idols faces east, and has a height of five feet including the table. Pooja is performed once in a day, and in special days the mother of the Mannarashala Illam performs the poojas and in ordinary days other members of the family performs it. Sub-deities are Sastha, Bhadrakali, Sivan, Ganapathi and Durga. The festival is celebrated on the Ayiliam star day of the Malayalam months of Kanni, Thulam and Kumbham. Those who have been bitten by snakes and inflicted by poison, when they consume the sacred food of this temple consisting of milk and plantain they will vomit the poison that is present in their body. That is the speciality of this temple.
This temple is situated in Vayalar, 4 Kms away from Cherthala. The presiding deity of this temple is Naga Yakshi and this temple is second important temple for naga after Mannarsala Naga Temple Eight days festivals is celebrated with an Aarattu which falls on the Thiruvathira star day during the month of Makharam. For incurable illnesses many people come to the Thiru Nagankulangara Temple and pray there for a 41 day mandala. Usually, after the mandala prayer, they are freed of their affliction.
Pambummekkattu Mana is the most famous Serpent worship centre in Kerala. The Pambum Mekattu lllam stands in Vadama village, a part of Mukundapuram Taluk in Thrissur District, Kerala. The nearest railway station is Chalakudy. Devotees can reach here by road from any part of Kerala. The believers can take Thrice - Mala route; 3 Km North to Mala stands the Mana west to the main road. The name of the bus stop itself is Makati Junction.
When we reach the pathway in front of Mekkattu Mana, we can see a wall with Figures of Serpents painted on it. When we turn to the north, an arch-shaped entrance inscribed with Serpent figures can be seen. When we go further,thick, tall trees and small temples (Kavu) snatch our attention. Then we reach the entrance. We can enter the 'Sarpakavu' with a pure mind and body to seek the blessings of the serpent Gods. The Serpent Gods Nagaraja (male God) and Naga yakshi (female God) reside in the eastern portion of Mekkattu Mana. The peculiarity is that there are no idols of these Gods, but daily poojas are conducted
VETTIKODE NAGARAJA SWAMI TEMPLE
As per the legend Sree Nagaraja Swami Temple at Vetticode was consecrated by Lord Parasurama. The temple is located near Kayamkulam in Alappuzha district of Kerala It is one amongst the main snake worshipping temples of Kerala. Aadimoolam Vettikode Nagaraja Swamy Temple is situated in Vettikode near Kayamkulam of Alleppey district. The presiding deities are Anantha and N agayakshi. Vaishnavites consider Anantha as Nagaraja and Sivites Vasuki, lying around Siva's neck, as Nagaraja. The temple facing eastward has pooja only at noon. Temple will open in the evening also. In the months of Kanni and Thulam on Pooyam and Ayilyam days Deepm-adhana and Athazhapooja are perform. Thantram is Puthumana. Festival is on Ayilyam star day of Kanni month. Also Ayilyam in Kumbam, Sivarathri, Balabadra Jayanthi in Medam days have special ceremonies.