Sree Dhanwanthari Temple at Nelluvai is one of the most prominent and ancient temples of Lord Dhanwanthari in India. The legend states that the idol at the temple was installed by Ashwani Devas and it was the same idol worshipped by Sri. Vasudevar in the Dwapara Yuga.
The idol that is worshipped in Nelluvai Temple is of God “Dhanvanthari”. God Dhanvanthari who came out during Paalaazhi Madhanam stays here in this temple with a view to protecting the world from all dangers and ill-doings. There is a story behind the Dhanvanthari Idol and Cheruthevar: Sri. K.M. Shankara Iyear, in his book Nelluvai Shathakam, has narrated this story in detail. Long back, as the existing idol in Nelluvai Temple got damaged, it was decided to make a new idol, and accordingly, the idol work was carried out from a suitable stone on a small hill at a place called Muringaththeri. After finishing the work of this idol, a procession was arranged involving all the devotees in the village with all the traditional poojas and they were proceeding to the temple where the idol was supposed to be fixed.
During their passage to the temple, the Ashwini Devatas at once came in front of the procession and they handed over an idol which is believed to be offered pooja by Vasudevar and informed the people that this idol should be fixed in the temple, and the Ashwini Devatas got disappeared from the site. Accordingly, the Sadhus fixed this idol in the Sanctum Sanctorum of Nelluvai Temple. The Vaishnava idol which was carved out in the Muringaththeri Hill was fixed in a newly arranged small temple in a nearby village called Cheruthevar Parambu. Later on, a small temple was constructed in the Nelluvai Temple itself just beside the main Sanctum Sanctorum and this Vaishnava Idol was re-fixed in this new place.
The idol that is fixed in the main Sanctum Sanctorum has a very long history. The Dhanvanthari Moorthi that is worshipped in the Nelluvai Temple is supposed to be the God of Physicians .It is believed that they will be provided with good and favourable treatment results to their patients if they devote completely to the Dhanvanthari Moorthi with full Bhakthi and commitment. The famous and notable physicians who performed Bhajans to the Dhanvanthari Moorthi include Kuttancheri Moos, Vaidyarathnam P.S. Warrier, Aryavaidyan P.V. Rama Warrier, etc., and they excelled in their profession too with the help of the Deity. Even in this modern era, the Ayurvedic Physicians, before stepping into their profession, have been performing Bhajans in the temple and reading Ashtamgahridaya, which isthe basic and prime book of Ayurveda.
It is highly believed that this offering will give them more knowledge and help is getting more success in their profession. The well-knowledgeable and all famous poet Melpathur Bhattathiri offered Bhajans to Lord Guruvayoorappa and wrote the famous poem Narayaneeyam and got relieved from rheumatoid arthritis. Similarly, it is said that the famous Astrologist and Poet Vidvan Machatt Ilayath who performed Bhajans before the Dhanvanthari Moorthi in Nelluvai Temple and wrote the poetry Sthrothra Panchashika got complete relief from his skin disease. The poem Sthrothra Panchashika was offered to the God on the 1st of Malayalam month Kumbham. This day is being celebrated as the Sthrothra Panchashika Day every year. The Dhanvanthari Asthothara Namajapa and Sthrothra Panchashika parayana are believed to be worthwhile to the children and elders alike for their better prosperity and to increas their wisdom and for removing all their physical and mental illnesses. The Temple Renovation Committee was formed on January 10, 1971.
Under this Committee’s supervision and control, the required fund had been raised and got the damages of the temple repaired. When the Temple Authorities found it difficult to carry out the normal activities of the temple, they approached the Kochi Devaswom Board Authorities with a request to take over the temple. Consequently, The Kochi Devaswom Board took over the temple administration and appointed a Temple Trust, to carry out the routine activities of the Temple. Thereafter, the Kochi Devaswom Board directly took over the temple administration since 1st May 1979. In the past, from Thulam 1st to Thulam 12 every year, a Thevar Seva was carried out in the temple. Kuttanjeri Moos was supposed to be its originator. During this period, Navagam and panchagavyam were offered as Nivedyam and a grant feast was served with the involvement of the whole people from the society.
The Nirmala Vazhipadu was first started in Kollavarsham 1098 in Nelluvai Temple. Sri. Kuttancheri Moos was the then President of the Nirmala Committee and he worked very hard to carry out this special pooja. During those days, Malavilakku, Nadasvaram, Ezhunnellippu, Thayampaka and Panchavadyam were the important things that took place in the Nirmala Vazhipadu. The Nirmala got resumed in the year 1962 under the leadership of a Committee headed by Messrs. Nelluvai K.N. Nambeesan, N.S. Ganapathi Iyer with the full cooperation of the general public.