Thirunelli Temple - Waynad
Temples are a sight to behold and it is even more spectacular when it is in the midst of nature. India is blessed with temples dating back thousands of years and can be found everywhere. One such beauty is the Thirunelli Temple of in the Waynad district of Kerala.
Considered to be as old as 5000 years old, this ancient temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. 5000 years - that is something spectacular, it is almost the start of the Hindu religion in the word, the first. The temple is located on the Brahmgiri Hills in Kerala and borders the state of Karnataka. It is surrounded by mountains and breathtaking view of the forests. One simply cannot ignore this gem if you are on a visit to this part of Kerala.
There is no paper record of the establishment of the temple, however there is proof that it was a very important pilgrimage center during the Chera King Bhaskara Ravi Verma in 913 CE. The temple also has mentions in many Puranas which themselves are thousands of years old.
Story behind the temple:
It is believed that when Lord Brahma was taking a tour of the Universe, He got attracted towards the beauty of this place, Brahmgiri Hills. On decending, He noticed an idol of Lord Vishnu in an Amla tree. With the help of Devas, he installed the idol at that place and called it Sahyamalak Kshetra. Lord Vishnu gave a boon to the nearby waterbodies that they will have the power to wash away all the sins. And hence we have the river "Papnasini" near the temple.
Interesting Fact: Even today, the priest leaves a portion of the worshipping materials aside for Lord Brahma's pooja rites.
It is not allowed to take photos of inside of the temple. Like most other temples in Kerala, one can only go inside bare-bodied. So no T-shirts or Shirts or vests for men!
The route from Waynad main center to the Thirunelli Temple is a paradise. I bet you could count this in top favourite road destinations. With amazing roads and long trees standing parallel with mountains in the backdrop - The sight is truly marvellous. If lucky, you can also find deers on the way, just besides the road!
Stay in Thirunelli
Though there are many cottages available near the temple, I would suggest to stay in the Temple compound. There is a multi-storied building that is for temple priests and management. They also offer rooms at very subsidized rate.
Within the compound, you can see some shops for snacking and also a proper veg restaurant. Typical delicacies of South India are served there
Check out a virtual tour of the Temple below: