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Thirunelly Temple, Wayanad Overview

The Thirunelli Temple is an ancient temple dedicated to the Lord Maha Vishnu. It is located in the Wayanad district of Kerala and is surrounded by pleasing hills and lush green forests. It stands at the height of 900 meters, overlooking the mountainous landscape and thick forests, nestled on one side of the Brahmagiri hills, at the Karnataka border. The Thirunelly Temple is also known as the Sahyamala Kshetram and Kashi of the South. Nelli translates to gooseberry. It is believed that the idol was Lord Vishnu was first found resting on a gooseberry tree before the temple was built. Scriptures have been found that indicate that Thirunelly was an important centre of pilgrimage during the rule of the Chera king, Bhaskara Ravi Varma.

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Thirunelly Temple

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Thirunelly Temple - Entry Fee and Timings

There is no entry fee as Thirunelli Temple is a place of religious significance. The temple is open from 5:30 AM to 12 PM and then again from 5:30 PM to 8 PM on all days of the week.

Best Time to Visit Thirunelly Temple

The Thirunelly Temple hosts special pujas and festival celebrations on certain auspicious days. The events are the best time to witness the temple in its full glory. The list of events and festivals can be found on the temple’s website. The festivals of Vishu, the Malayalam new year, and Shivratri are important festivals that are celebrated with much enthusiasm by pilgrims and temple priests. Because of its history of being an ancient pilgrim site, and the natural beauty within which it sits, the Thirunelli temple is a favoured religious as well as tourist destination.

Legend of the Thirunelly Temple

The Thirunelly Temple has an interesting legend associated with it. Lord Brahma is said to have come across these beautiful hills while travelling around the world. They are now known as the Brahmagiri Hills. He was so awestruck by the beauty of this place that he chose to descend. He spotted an idol resting on a gooseberry tree. He recognized the idol as that of Lord Vishnu and put in efforts to install it over there. It was on Lord Brahma’s request that Lord Vishnu ensured the origin of the Papanashini stream, whose waters could wash away all sins.

Major Attractions at Thirunelly Temple

Thirunelly Temple
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The premises of the Thirunelly Temple exude tranquillity. The peaceful surroundings help refresh and calm one’s mind. Rituals related to this temple are performed on the banks of the stream, Papanashini. The stream is believed to possess medicinal powers. Pilgrims often take a holy dip in the Papanashini stream. Pancha Theertham is the holy pond that is located near the stream. It can be seen while descending from the temple towards the Papanashini stream. In the past, it is believed to have been used as a temple tank as the temple has no well of its own. To the west of the Thirunelli Temple, there resides the cave temple Gunnika which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Therefore, Thirunelli has been blessed by the Holy Trinity - Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva.

How to Reach Thirunelly Temple

The Thirunelli Temple is located in the beautiful Thirunelli village of Wayanad district. It is located at an altitude of 3000 feet. The temple has to be reached by driving through three wildlife sanctuaries. There are several KSRTC (Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation) buses available that ply to Thirunelli Temple. Travellers can also plan a trek from Pakshipathalam, which is at a distance of 10 km from the Thirunelly Temple.

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