Thirunelli is a place located nearly 32 kms from Mananthavady town, Vayandu. Attached to the Kadaku mountain ranges there is a hill called Brahmagiri whose beautiful valley is considered to be a holy place where we can see the amous Thirunelli temple.

The idol in the temple is placed by Brahma, who made the place holy by ‘Yaga' (holy sacrifice). The name of the hill confirms the act that the place is related to Brahma.

There is a legendary story behind the name of the place;-

The Brahmins set out a journey in search of God. The journey through the thick forest made them tired and hungry so they looked for some fruit in the forest. Finally they saw a gooseberry tree. There ate gooseberries as many as they could, drank water from the forest spring and slept there. They had dreams by which they understood that the gooseberries had got some divinity. They also realised the presence of Maha Vishnu and Parama Siva in the forest. Since they considered the gooseberries as the gift of the Gods, they named the place as ‘Thirunelli'.

The archeologists who found out the copper inscription from Thirunelli, reveal the fact that the temple was famous even at the time of Bhaskara Ravi Varma. The ‘Unniyachee Charitham' which is considered to be written in the 13 th century has got references of this temple. So the temple must be nearly 700 years old.

The shrine is dedicated to Maha Vishnu. The stone image which face to the east has got 3.5” tall and bears divine weapons. There is neither an elephant shed nor a flag staff at the temple. The walls of the shrine are made of black stones and they have sculptural works. A ‘Thampurn' from Kudaku paid more interest in the construction of the temple. But the owner of the temple did not like it. (Some people believed that the temple belonged to Vellattiri and others are of option that it belonged to Kottayam Thampuran.) So the construction work was interrupted. Some important works were left undone. The floor of the temple building is made of blackstone without using cement or mortar. Sheets of stones are used for the roof and of course, thick pieces of stones were used for pillars.

It is strange thing to have a temple without a well. From Brahmagiri hill a stone passage was made for a spring to flow though to the temple all the year round.

To the west of the temple about one furlong away is the ‘Papanasini' (destroyer of sin). It is believed that the water in the Papanasini has got the power of washing away our sins, so as to enable us to get salvation.

The Hindus believe that if they perform oblation at the ghat the departed souls of their dear ones will get redemption and finally find a place in heaven. It is said that Sri.Rama and Parasu Rama had performed oblation here for their ancestors.

Panchatheerthakulam' is another pond very near to the temple. In the midst of this pond there is a rock on which two feet are symbolically carved as that of Maha Vishnu in addition to his usual wearing's. It is believed that Maha Vishnu gave this advice to Brahma by standing on this rock!

At some distance away from the ‘Panchatheertham' there is a small cave temple. This cave had been made by burrowing a big rock. Though it is a Siva Temple , it is believed that the trinity is also present at the temple. After performing the oblation at the ‘Papanasini' it is customary that the devotees must get into the temple to worship the Gods.