Mannarasala Ayilyam is the main festival conducted in Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple
, located at Mannarasala
in Alappuzha District
. It is around 32 km away from Alappuzha
The festival is celebrated on the Ayilyam asterism, which comes in the Malayalam month of Kanni (September/October). On this day, the idols of serpents from the temple are taken to the Illam (Brahminís house connected with the temple) in a grand procession. The significance of the procession is that the main idol of the Nagaraja is carried by the oldest female member of the Illam. The main offerings are Nurum Palum
(rice flour and milk) and Kuruthi (a red liquid made of turmeric and lime). Other offerings include coins and effigies made of gold, silver and copper, grains of all kinds, pepper, tender coconuts, plantains, melons and sandalwood. The highlights of the festival include Ezhunnallathu
and Uruli kamazhthal (the placing of a bell metal vessel upside down in front of the deity).
Another interesting ceremony is the song
and dance of the
on Ayilyam day. During the festival days thousands of people assemble at the temple to worship and propitiate the serpent gods.