Religious History Antiquity and deities Administration
Sri Maha Ganapathy Temple Sri Sitha- Leva- Kusha Temple
Sri Maha Vishnu Temple ,Meenangadi



Wayanad originate its name from two Malayalam words - "Wayal", means paddy field, and "Nadu" means the land.  So Wayanad is known as the land of paddy fields.  Geographically, Wayanad is a part of Deccan plateau. Wayanad is famous for its scenic mist clad hill stations, extensive spice plantations, abundant forests and prosperous cultural traditions. Historians are of opinion that organized human life existed in these hilly tracts even before 10th Century B.C. Evidences show the remnants of New Stone Age civilization on the hills of Wayanad. The Edakkal caves at Ambalavayal, with pictures painted on their walls and writings support this argument. In ancient times, the tribes ruled Wayanad. Later Pazhassi Raja of Kottayam royal dynasty became the ruler of Wayanad.  Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja fought against the British but ultimately defeated. Later, Wayanad fell under the control of British. It was British who laid the roads through the Ghat region connecting Wayand to Kozhikode and Mysore and started tea plantations and cultivation of other crop.

Religious history of the district

In the ancient days, the people followed an independent religious philosophy related with Dravidian practices. The tribal folk, which constituted the major portion of the population in the district, follow their own religious practices. And vary from the mode of worship of other communities. Around 3rd Century B.C., Jainism and Buddhism came into the district. It was the Jainism that set foot first in the region. Both Jainism and Buddhism declined consequent on the insurgence of Aryans and by the revival of Hinduism. However, the presence of Jainisim is still prominent in the district. Though Christianity came to Kerala in 52 A.D., it did not make any impact on the religious thoughts of the people. The arrival of foreigners created a favourable atmosphere for Christianity, but situation did not improve till the influx of Christian immigrants from Travancore to the eastern parts of the district during the first half of 20th Century. However, Islam religion spread widely in the district after 7th Century A.D. 

According to 2011 census, the population of the district is 8,16,558.  Among them, Hindus figure majority. Hindu community divided into Brahmin, Kshathriya, Ambalavasis (Pushpakan, Chakyar, Poduval, Varier etc.) Nair, Ezhava, etc. The district is noted for its highest number of tribal population that comes about 36 per cent of the total population of the state.  A good number of Jains, who migrated to Kerala in 3rd Century BC, are also there. To the Hindus as well as Jains worship is imperative and hence temple formed an integral part of their daily life. There is no much difference in religious philosophy between the Hindus and Jains. Though the tribes have peculiar religious customs, rites, and separate deities like Malamkari, Mala Muthappan, Mala Daivam etc., they worship Hindu deities also.

According to a survey conducted by the Census Department of the Government of India, Wayanad district has 314 temples. Important temples of the district are listed below.


Bhadrakali Temple, Chikkalur


Bhagavathy (Porkali) Temple, Vaduvanchal


Bhagavathy Temple, Arattuthara (Valliyoorkavu)


Lakshmi-Narasimha Temple, Batheri


Lakshmi-Narasimhaswamy Temple, Eranallur


Maha Ganapathy Temple, Ganapathyvattom (Batheri)


Maha Vishnu Temple, Kaappuvayal


Maha Vishnu Temple (Malsyamoorthy temple), Kalpetta


Maha Vishnu Temple, Meenangadi


Maha Vishnu Temple, Muttil


Maha Vishnu Temple, Thirunelli


Maha Vishnu Temple, Valavayal


Maha Vishnu Temple, Vengapalli


Mahadeva Temple, Thrissilleri


Rajarajeswara Temple, Paingattiri


Seetha-Lava-Kusha Temple, Pulpalli


Siva Temple, Ambalavayal


Siva Temple, Mananthawadi


Siva Temple, Manikkavu


Siva Temple, Nirvilpuzha


Siva Temple, Poothadi


Siva Temple, Pulincha


Siva Temple, Thariyod


Siva Temple, Thiruvannur


Siva Temple, Thrikkaippatta


Antiquity and deities:

Antiquity of the temples of Wayanad district cannot be determined in terms of age of the idol or structures of the temple. The antiquity of each temple may, therefore, be decided based on legend or history. However, the Department of Census, Government of India identified 10 temples of the district as very ancient having more than two thousand years of age. 21 temples were constructed between 1st and 9th Century AD. Between 10th and 20th Century AD, 244 temples have been constructed. The department could not ascertain the antiquity of 39 temples. 

The deities of the district are mainly Goddess Bhadrakali or Bhagavathy, Lord Vishnu, Lord Siva, etc based on various kalpa or sankalpa (concept).  Number of temples based on various sankalpa is given below:


Kalpa (concept)



Vishnu Kalpa (Lord Maha Vishnu / Narasimha- moorthy / malsyamoorthy etc.)



Siva Kalpa (LordSiva/Mahadeva/ / Muththappan



Durga Kalpa (Goddess Bhadrakali / Bhagavathy)









In ancient periods, King or local chieftains are owned and administered temples. Some of the temples were owned by madams, tharawads or individuals. However, majority of them were under the administrative control of King or local chieftains. When the foreigners established their power in the area and powers of local rulers faded away, administration of temples was also taken over by them. In 1790, the British Government came forward with certain regulations to control the administration of temples in Malabar region. The first enactment on these lines was the Madras Regulation VII of 1817. Subsequently, the Religious Endowment XX of 1863 was enacted. Since this Act was found to be a failure, the Government brought out another one repealing the Act of 1863. Later in 1927, the Government passed the Madras Hindu Religious Endowment Act (Act II of 1927) and brought temple administration under their control. After independence, the Congress Government of erstwhile Madras State introduced the Madras Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act of 1951 to govern the temples. When the Kerala State was formed and Malabar region formed its part, this Act was made applicable to the temples of that region which includes the present Wayanad district. Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Board was also constituted. Later the Board was converted into a Department. Till 2008, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department held control over the temples. In 2008, the Government of Kerala, amended the Act and constituted the Malabar Devaswom Board. Now 47 temples of the district are under the control of the Malabar Devaswom Board. They are as follows:

1          Aduvathu Vishnu Temple, Thavinhal
2          Anchukunnu Temple, Anchukunnu
3          Ayyadikavu Temple, Kottathara
4          Ayyapankavu Temple, Vemam
5          Badiroor Temple, Vilambukandam, Echom
6          Bathery Mahaganapathy Temple, S.Bathery
7          Bhagavathyperumal Temple, Thondalnadu
8          Chamappara Subrahmanya Swami Temple, Padichira
9          Echom Siva Temple, Panamaram
10        Temple, Thariyodu
11        Eranelloor Lakshmi Narasimha Temple, Panamaram
12        Eranelloor Mahavishnu Temple, Kuppathodu
13        Kanmanavalliyoor Temple, Nalloornadu
14        Karimbil Bhagavathi Temple, Porunnanoor
15        Kattayattu Perikallur Temple, Kidanganadu
16        Kottayil Bhagavathy Temple, Kottapadi
17        Kuppadi Devaswom, Kottathara
18        Kurungallur Temple, Kottathara
19        Manikavu Temple, Purakkadi
20        Maniyankottappan Temple, Maniyankode
21        Mariyamman Temple, Mepadi
22        Marottukandampuli Temple, Noolpuzha
23        Maruthamparamba Temple, Kurumbala
24        Mathankodu Jedattilamman Temple, Cherukattoor
25        Muthireri Temple, Thavinhal
26        Muttil Temple, Muttil
27        Muzhuvannoor Temple, Porunnanoor
28        Palakkunnu Annapurneswari Temple, Thavinhal
29        Panamarathu Murukambar Temple, Panamaram
30        Parayankavu & parankode Temple, Kottathara
31        Pazhupathur Devaswom, S.Bathery
32        Bhadrakali & Arimba Ayyappan, Cheekalur
33        Poomangalam Porkali Temple, Anchukunnu
34        Poroor Uthiramaruthan Temple, Valadu
35        Pullimalamman Temple, Thondaranadu
36        Pulpally Sita Temple, Pulpally
37        Purakkadi Temple, Purakkady
38        Puthooramkeezh Temple, Kuppadithara
39        Siva Temple, Panamaram
40        Thethana Bhagavathy Temple, Vengapally
41        Thirunelly Temple, Thirunelly
42        Vishnu Temple, Edavaka
43        Thrissilery SivaTemple, Thrissilery
44        Vadakkathy Bhagavathy Temple, Edavaka
45        Valliyoorkavu Bhagavathty temple, Anchukunnu
46        Vengappally Ayyappan Temple, Vengapally
47        Venniyodu Mahavishnu Temple, Kottathara


Location: The temple is located about 30 KM north east of Mananthawadi town surrounded by  four mountains of Sahyadri Brahmagiri mountain, Narinirangu mountain, Kamba mountain and Kari mountain.
Nearest Railway Station:  Kozhikode (138 km)
Nearest Airport: Karippur (Kozhikode) International Airport (138 km)
Panchayat: Thirunelli
Village: Thirunelli

Legend/History: The temple is one of the famous temples of Lord Vishnu in India and considered as equal to sacred centres like Kasi (Varanasi), Rameswaram, Gaya etc. The temple is known as Thenkasi (Southern Kashi). The temple is famous for Baliofferings.   Padma purana, believed to have written by Veda Vyasa, has reference about the temple.  According to legend, Lord Brahma himself has consecrated the idol of Lord Vishnu. Lord Brahma, while travelling from one place to another happened to be at the foot hills of Sahya Mountain and delighted with the beautiful landscape. He found an image of Lord Vishnu in a Nelli tree (Phyllanthus emblica), but vanished immediately. Then he heard a divine voice asking him to make a temple to consecrate the idol of Lord Vishnu. As the image of Lord Vishnu was found in the Nelli Tree, the place is known as “Thirunelli”.  After the temple was constructed and idol installed, Lord Brahama declared that prayers offered here would remove the sins and help to obtain salvation of the deceased. The river Papanasini that flows down near the temple is considered as a sacred river and a part of mythical holy river, Saraswathy.  Papanashini means one who eradicates sins.
It is believed that Lord Parasurama came to Thirunelli to perform Bali after killing Brahmins and obtained mental bliss. It was He who proclaimed Thirunelli as the ideal shrine for offering Balito the departed souls. It is believed that Sree Rama has offered prayers at the shrine on his way in search of Goddess Sita. The copper plates of Bhaskara Ravi Varma (978 AD) mentioned about the temple. Unniyadi Charitham, a great work of 13th Century, also mentioned about the temple.

Deity:The main deity is Lord Maha Vishnu. The idol is made of silain standing pose. Lord Siva, Lord Ganapathy and Goddess Bhagavathy are the other deities. Though the idol of Lord Brahma is not consecrated, it is believed that He is also there and hence the presence of thrimoorthees (Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Siva) are at Thirunelli. 

Special features: The temple structure consists of Sreekovil, Nanaskara Mandapam, Chuttambalam, Deepa-sthambam etc. The granite water channel that brings water from the nearby mountain is an important attraction of the temple.  There is a story behind the construction of this water channel. In ancient days, water for temple was drawing from the river Papanasini. One day a princess of Chirakkal royal family came here to worship. As the theertha jala (holy water) had exhausted and the priest had to go to the river for taking water, he could not satisfy her request for theertha jala. She had decided not to leave the temple unless some permanent arrangements are made to ensure perennial water supply to the temple. Her attendants found a water source in the nearby hill and they brought water using split bamboo poles. Later, the bamboo channel was replaced with granite channel positioned on granite pillars. 
Festival:  Vishu festival is held for two days (in the last day of Meenom and first day of Medam). Thiruvonam is also celebrated in the month of Chingam.



Location: Sri Maha Ganapathy Temple is situated right in the Sultan Batheri town of Wayanad district. Sultan Batheri is situated on the Kozhikode Mysore route and it is a border town. In olden days Sultan Batheri (also known as ‘Batheri’) is known as Ganapathyvattom. Still the place is known as Ganapahyvattom in the revenue records.  Ganapathyvattom means the vicinity of Lord Ganapathy.
Nearest Railway Station: Kozhikode (100 km)
Nearest Airport: Kozhikode (105 km)
Panchayat: Sultan Batheri
Village: Sultan Batheri

Legend/History: The temple is believed to have constructed in 12th Century and considered as an important shrine of worship. Tipu Sultan invaded the Malabar region in 1766 and the Maha Ganapathy temple was destroyed completely. He built a fort at Ganapathyvattom and renamed the place as Sultan Batheri. In 1975 the temple was renovated and the idol of Lord Ganapathy was re-consecrated.

Deity: Lord Ganapthay is the principal deity. The idol made of sila is in the sitting pose with Grandha (Book), Khadgam (Sword), and Modakam (a sweet item). Lord Ayyappa, Lord Kirathamoorthy, Goddess Durga, Lord Naga are the other deities.

Festival: Annual festival is held from 15th of Makaram. Vinayaka Chadurthi is celebrated every year. Puna-Prathishta Dinam (Re-consecration day) is also observed on 12th Medam. Sreekrishna Jayanthi, Vijayadashami are the other festivals.


Location: Sri Sitha-Leva-Kusha Temple is located at Pulpalli, 25 km north of Sultan Batheri. The name of Pulpalli derives from the words Pullu (grass) and Pallikolluka (taking rest or sleeping). It is believed that Goddess Sitha used a carpet made of Pullu (grass) for taking rest and thus the place was known as Pulpalli or where the goddess slept in a carpet made of grass.
Nearest Railway Station: Kozhikode (125 km)
Nearest Airport: Kozhikode (135 km)
Panchayat: Pulpalli
Village: Pulpalli

Legend/History:  Legend says that the hermitage of Maharshi Valmiki was at Pulpalli and it was here where Sitha lived when Lord Rama abandoned her with Leva and Kusha, her children. It was here where Leva and Kusha studied martial arts and other lessons. The presence of huge termitaries in the area justifies the legend that associated with Maharshi Valmiki. Another legend says that it was here where Sitha disappeared into earth. When Sita disappeared, Lord Rama caught hold of her hair in panic, but She vanished leaving a few piece of Jada (thick hair). A kavu (grove) is also here known as Jadayatta Kavu (grove of broken hair). Tipu Sultan planned to destroy this temple during his invasion. But it is believed that he had to retreat due to the darkness created at noon by the supreme power of Goddess.

The Sita Devi temple was constructed by Sri Pazhassi Raja in 18th Century. He managed the temple for many years. Later the management of this temple was entrusted to one of the Nair families.  Now the temple is affiliated to the Malabar Devaswom Board.
Deity: Goddess Sitha is the main deity. Leva and Kusha, Lord Kirathamoorthy, Lord Ganapthy, Lord Subramaniya, Lord Ayyappa are the other deities.

Festival: Annual festival known as Chuttu Vilakku that took five days to complete is the main festival of the temple


Location: Meenangadi is located 12 km from Kalpetta between Kalpetta and Sultan Batheri in the National Highway 766.
Nearest Railway Station: Kozhikode (85 km)
Nearest Airport: Kozhikode (Karipur) International Airport (125 km)
Panchayat: Meenangadi
Village: Purakkadi

Legend/History: The temple is believed to have constructed in 11th Century. The temple was dedicated to the Malsya Avathara of Lord Maha Vishnu (1st incarnation among 10 incarnations). Initially, the temple was maintained by the tribes of the locality. As they were unable to manage the temple, a Kshethra Samithy (Temple Committee) was formed and it took over the management in 1983. Legend says that the place got its name due to the presence of this temple. The word Meen in Malayalam means Malsya or fish. Angadi means a public market place. The market place where large public used to visit near the Malsyamoorthy temple was named as Meenangadi.

Sri Malsyamoorthy is the principal deity. However, the idol is that of Lord Maha Vishnu. Lord Ganapathy, Lord Ayyappa, Goddess Durga are the minor deities.
Festival: Annual festival in the month of Kumbham is the main festival. It is observed on Uthrittathi asterisk.