Thirunelli Temple is an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu on the side of Brahmagiri hill in Kerala. The temple is at an altitude of about 900m in north Wayanad in a valley surrounded by mountains and beautiful forests. It is 32 km away from Manathavady in Wayanad. Thirunelli was once an important town and pilgrim center in the middle of inaccessible jungle valley surrounded on four sides by mountains.
A short walk from Thirunelli temple leads one to the clear mountain spring known as Papanasini. Pakshipathalam, an interesting trekking centre, is about 10 kms away from here. It is estimated that the temple dates back to at least over a 1,000 years and there are several interesting myths associated with the formation of the temple itself. Thirunelli temple is believed to have the power to let the departed souls rest in peace. The ritual is done in batches and it starts with a prayer in front of the temple. The priest and the pilgrims then head towards Papanasini, with the materials for the rites. The pilgrims standing in water then follow the instructions of the priest and thus offer obeisance to their departed dear ones. After that, they take dip in the water. The pilgrims again visit the temple for prayers. The flow of the pilgrims to Thirunelli Temple is not only to offer prayers but also to perform the ancestral rites called Bali. Those who do the rites have to observe penance. In Kerala it is in Thirunelli Temple, the largest number of 'bali tharpana' is being performed everyday.