Sri Panirendar Mankaraiamman Temple, Para ,Elapulli near Palghat was founded in the year 1115 A.D. by one Muthu Chettiar. The place where the Deity Sree Mankaraiamman was installed was originally a resting place of Muthu Chettiar and his followers on their way to the trading centres in the west coast.
The Panirendar Chettiar are natives of Tirupur, Vijayapuram, Amarapathipalayam, Pollikalipalayam, akkaraipalayam,seruvakaranpalayam,uthamapalayam,nagavanaikenpatti and nearby places in Coimbatore and Erode Districts. These traders founded the above mentioned temple, more as a rest place than as a place of worship. During the halts, they used to worship the Deity and pray for their success in business.
Panirendar Chettiars have been trading in Malabar for over 850 years. The ancestors of the community did not set apart any separate fund for the expenses of the Temple. They were meeting the expenses just like any other personal expenses from their earnings. As time went on, the Sanctity and religious side of the temple grew in importance, and they set apart the income of certain properties, exclusively for the expenses of the Temple. They acquired land in the name of the Deity at Nallapalli in the erstwhile Cochin State.
The management of the temple rested entirely with the members of the family of Muthu Chettiar and other chettiars who associated with them. As time went on, Trustees were entrusted with the management and the present Trustees are from the family of Muthu Chettiar. Mr.S.M.V.M.R.V.MUTHUSAMY is the present Managing Trustee and Mr.P.K.N.K.M.K.Balasubramaniam is the co-trustee. The Goddess Mankaraiamman is considered to be the kuladeivam or the family deity of the Chettiars of the Panirendar community.
Very often they visit the temple and worship the deity and contribute for the Abhishekam, Archana and other rituals. Every year they pay to the temple good sums of money as Mahimai. They have paid huge sums of money for the renovation and for the Kumbahishekam performed in 1919,1961,1979,2002.
In olden days when there were no proper road for transport. Merchandise from places in the east coast of Chola kingdom were used to be carried on the back of bullocks to places in the west coast of Cheranad. The place where the temple stand now was the caravan on the way to the trading centres on the west coast.
The Story goes that as particularly when they were returning to Nagapatnam from the west coast and while resting at Para, a little girl appeared before them and asked for a little quantity of pepper for preparing pepper kashayam as she was suffering for headache. The traders replied that they have no pepper and their bundles contain only cereals. Actually they have lied to avoid giving pepper to the girl. On reaching Nagapatnam, to their surprise they found only cereals in their bags instead of pepper. They then returned to Para and searched for the little girl who had asked for a little pepper. Suddenly they met the girl seated on a lion’s back. They knew that she was really Goddess in the form of a girl, they prostrated before her and begged her pardon for the sin of lie on the previous occasion.
They also promised to construct a temple in the place and install the Goddess there and offer daily puja. The pardon asked was gracefully granted and the Goddess soon disappeared behind the bush. On their return to Nagapatnam, they found their bundles contained pepper. After that the temple was built as promised and the deity was installed at the site of the bush. Puja is being performed twice every day at this temple
The temple is 8 miles to the east of Palghat Town on the Palghat – Pollachi Road. The ever pouring Sara Gangai Theertham at Theneri is about a kilometer from this temple, and every morning Theertham for abhishekam is being brought from Sara Gangai Theertham.
The important festivals celebrated in this temple are:
- Thai pongal
- Chitrai Thiruvila
- Aadi 18
- Aadi oonjal on all Fridays in Aadi
- Vinayaka chathurthi
- Karthigai deepam
Gopuram have been erected above the Sanctum Sanctorum of Lord Viswanatha, Nataraja and Mangaraiamman Devi. These Gopurams are shines of beautiful architectural work with natural paintings.