Mannar is one town in Kerala that rose to stardom due to its intimacy with metals. It doesn’t mean that one would be greeted with the incessant clanging sound of metals as soon as one enters Mannar, which has been famous for quite some time as the bell metal town of Kerala. Renowned for its craftsmanship and outstanding feats, the smiths of this town are the most sought after group, when it comes to exquisite creations in brass, bronze and silver. Bet it art pieces or those with utility, metal products from Mannar over the years have crossed the seas and reached different parts of the world.
Mannar is a major business town midway between Mavelikara and Thiruvalla in Alappuzha district of Kerala. It is situated on the banks of the Pamba and the Manimala rivers. Mannar is traditionally very famous for vessels, lamps, bells etc. made out of brass, bronze, silver and other metals. There are hundreds of traditional alas or forges in Mannar. Also, there are many small-scale manufacturing establishments engaged in this business, employing traditional workers, where prospective buyers can visit, observe the making and then purchase the artifacts produced.
Some of the unique feats of the Mannar metal craftsmen include world-class products like the world’s biggest varpu (wide cauldron) now displayed at Delhi Museum, the world’s biggest church lamp at Kuravilangad church, the world’s biggest temple lamp at Chettikulangara Devi temple, the world’s biggest temple bell at Shimla temple, the world’s biggest church bell at Cathedral Church, New Delhi, and the replica of the famous ‘Tree of Life’ and ‘Knowledge Lamp’. Mannar takes the credit in India for being the second destination in India for metal products, second only to the city of Moradabad.
Visitors to Mannar, besides the extraordinary skill and application of the metal craftsmen here, would also find some of the nearby attractions worth a visit. These include some of the well known religious centres like the Parumala church, Panayannar Kavu Devi temple, Thrikkuratti Mahadevar temple and Chakkulathu Kavu Devi temple.
Panayannar Kavu temple is said to be thousands of years old and is famous for its Sarpa Kavu (sacred grove for serpent gods) and the mural paintings that adorn the walls of the sanctum sanctorum. The annual Vishu festival here is a colourful affair and attracts lots of devotees.
The annual festival held at the Parumala church is another big attraction in the region. The Orthodox Church of Mar Gregorious (Parumala Thirumeni) is situated by the side of river Pamba. It is here that Geevarghese Mar Gregorios the first declared saint of The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church is entombed. The commemoration (Orma Perunal) is celebrated on the first and second of every November, during which a large number of people turn up for worship. A few years ago, the church was declared by the Government of India as an International Pilgrim Center.
The unique festivities held at the Thrikkuratti Mahadevar temple are of great interest. The antique wooden carvings at this temple are admired by many art lovers, even by those from abroad. At one of the entrances of the Thrikkuratti temple, other religious members, in particular, Muslims, present offerings on a regular basis. This practice is believed to be centuries old and is considered to be a true embodiment of religious harmony.
The Eramathoor Soorya temple is believed to be centuries old and is known for being one of the three known temples in Kerala dedicated to the Sun God. The Adithya Pongala conducted at this temple attracts lots of women devotees.
The nearby Chakkulathu Kavu Devi temple attracts devotees, even from far off places and the annual pongala festival is a much awaited auspicious event, participated in by thousands of women.
Places in and around Mannar are famous for boat races and the Mahatma Boat Race is one such event. Also famous is the ayurvedic and herbal treatment, especially practiced by certain families in the region.
The Anpoli festivals, Anpoli Areeppara Mahothsavam of Kurattikkadu Pattambalam Devi Kshethram is one of the most famous one, attracting thousands of devotees on 24th of Medam(7th of May).Here both Bhuvaneswari and Bhadra are worshipped with equal importance.The festival at Pattambalam starts on Medam 10th(April 23rd) and ends on Medam 25th(May 8th).The festival includes several ritauls like AttilChattam , Changayilottam , Vithideel etc which we won't find anywhere else in the world.Among these AttilChattam attracts Muslim devotees also.To know more about visit pattambalam and click on legends.Here the Goddess Bhuvaneswari is also called as "Valiya Amma" which means Great Mother. File:Bhuvaneswari school.jpg