Thirunelli is a famous beautiful village in the Wayanadu district of Kerala State in India. Blessed by nature, surrounded by dense forest and rich in flora and fauna. Thirunelli has been attracting thousands of pilgrims from far and wide, both for worshipping Lord Vishnu and for enjoying the majestic and ground natural scenes which together make it paradise on earth. A mere glance at its history reveals its hygiene state both as a town and a business centre of trade up to 16th century. During the reign of Chera King Sri. Bhaskara Varma Raja, Thirunelli was a great town, and centre of culture, learning and pilgrimage. The old people of the place remember that until recently they used to get gold arias (Rasis) flowed down to the low areas, after heavy rain fall. The river "Papanashini" originating from the "Brahma Giri" (Hills) has carried down numerous bronze lamps and vessels of different sizes. The people who climbed the Brahma giri and travelled to Pakshipathalam could see many historical relics, showing the presence of a great culture, trade and commerce in the past. At that time there exist two villages called "Papanashini and Pancha Theertham." Later, the culture and trade activities of these villages were ruined for reasons unknown. As a result, the people of Pancha Theertham, migrated to Paingattiri village near Mananthavadi. We can see their descendants in this place.
The ancient temple "Thirunelli" is situated in the Brahma giri valley near the Kudak mountain hills, in the north of Wayanadu. The nearest town here is Mananthavadi, 32 kilometers away from this temple. Numerous buses bound for Mysore go via Mananthavadi. On the way to Mysore, one has to take left deviation from the place at "Kattikulam" to reach the temple. This temple road goes through dense forest. The herds of elephants can often be seen on the road, obstructing the passing of the vehicles. Passing through the place "Appappara", one can see the Thirunelli police station and the forest bungalow before reaching the temple.
On arrival at the place of the temple, one may stand amazed, enjoying the music of the perfumed wind, enchanted by the sparkling flow of the Papanashini river and the soul whispering Brahmagiri Mountains, are secreted by the holly footprints of Lord Brahma, the creator. One really gets immersed in the spiritual halo of Lord Vishnu, the supreme being of the universe. There is the Papanashini River, for all to take a holly dip in, toward off sins and there is the Pindapara in the river (Rock used to conduct Pinda ceremony) for the departed souls to get “Moksha” or salvation. People believe that Rishies like Jamadagni attained Moksha at this holy place. Places like Garudappara, Bhoothathan Kunnu are beyond this place. They being in the dense forest, still remain inaccessible to ordinary people, and are steeped in mystery.