Ambalapuzha Shri Krishna Temple is one of the famous Hindu Temples dedicated to Lord Krishna in Alapuzha district of Kerala. Being devoted to Lord Krishna it is less visited than Guruvayoor Temple and is known as the second Guruvayoor Temple of Southern Kerala, as it has a strong connection and linked with Guruvayoor Sri Krishna Temple. This temple is completely built in Traditional Kerala Style Architecture during 15th - 17th century (built in 790 AD), by the then ruler Chembakassery Pooradam Thirunal-Devanarayanan Thampuran and is spread over several acres of land. The Malayalis call this deity as Kannan or Unnikkannan, as His Idol is in the form of a small child. Second deity is Lord Ayappa.
Ambalapuzha Shri Krishna Temple Kerala
Legend of this Temple:
One of the legend says that Lord Krishna once appeared in the form of Sage in front of the king who was a ruler of that time and challenged him to play chess with him. As he was very enthusiastic about it, accepted the challenge made by God. Before starting the game, Sage (Lord Krishna) asked the King to offer him a grain of rice if He wins the game and each of its square should double the grain of rice. The King agreed to the same happily and at last, Lord Krishna won the game. The King happily started to give the grain of rice but soon understood the reason behind asking to double the grain on each square. But when He tried to double the grain of 20th square and He understood His domain has run out of the rice.
Entrance of Ambalapuzha Shri Krishna Temple Kerala
To solve his problem, Lord Krishna suggested him to pay the left over rice partly and told him to serve Palpayasam until and unless his debt is clear and King agreed to the same and this offering is still continued.
Another Legend says once when Saint Vilwamangalam Swamiyar and Pooradam Thirunal Thampuran, the then ruler of this region, were travelling along the backwaters, suddenly, Swamiyar heard a melodious sound of a flute and got the vision of Lord Krishna playing the flute under a Pepal tree. As He was an ardent devotee of Krishna with the music of flute, He felt His presence on that place. It was the same place where this temple was built by that King. Since then, Lord Krishna at Ambalapuzha is adorably worshipped and called as Unnikkannan (Baby Krishna).
Devotees at Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple
Significance of this Temple:
Both Ambalappuzha Temple and Guruvayoor Temple are inter linked with each other as it is believed that during the invasion of Tipu Sultan in 1789, the Shri Krishna idol of Guruvayoor Temple was brought to the Ambalapuzha Temple for security reasons. At that time these idols remained in the safe custody of the Ambalapuzha temple for about 12 years.
The Palpayasam, a sweet pudding made of temples well water, rice, sugar and milk is served as prasadam to the deity is extremely admired and popular among the devotees visiting this temple. It is a sacred offering to the deity and it is believed that Guruvayoorappan (Lord Krishna of Guruvayoor Temple) visits this Ambalapuzha temple on daily basis at the time of ucha pooja (noontime puja) to accept this Palpayasam Naivedyam and then it is offered to those who have pre-booked it. This delicious dessert is world famous and there is nothing to beat with it.
Vessel used to make Palpayasam in Ambalappuzha Shri Krishna Temple
Devotees have to stand in a queue to purchase the palpayasam prasadam which costs upto Rs.100 per container. This temple and its premises were used in several popular film songs.
Queue for collecting Ambalapuzha Shri Krishna Palapayasam
Deity in the Temple:
The Idol of Lord Krishna is carved out of black granite stone which resembles to the deity of Parthasarthi (the charioteer of Partha (Arjuna) who holds a whip in the right hand and a conch in the left.
Architecture of this Temple:
The construction of this temple is fully designed in Kerala style and has wonderful architecture. There is also a temple pond in the prmises of the temple. As we enter into this temple premises the first sight to behold our eyes are the beautiful paintings on inner walls which depict the Ten avatars (incarnations) of Lord Vishnu, are the main attraction for devotees. Above all, this Temple is also famous for its magicians and reminds legendary Ottanthullal which was first performed, a powerful satirical folk art that comments on various socio-political issues once in a year.
Ambalapuzha Shri Krishna Temple Pond
Celebrations and Offerings:
Kerala is very well known for its rich culture and heritage. The Ambalappuzha Temple festivals are very colorful and vibrant a must visit when around this place. The major festival of this shrine is Chambakulam Moolam Festival which is celebrated on the Moolam Day every year. At the time of this festival huge number of pilgrims and tourists visit this place to seek the blessings of Lord Krishna.
Chambakulam Moolam Festival: The Champakkulam Moolam Vallam Kali (boat race) is also the oldest snake boat race in Kerala. It is a colorful event that attracts thousands of domestic and international tourists. The boat race is held in the placid waters of River Pampa. According to historical manuscripts, it was started by the rulers of Chembakassery Devanarayana dynasty during the 15th century. They were devotees of Lord Krishna and decided to bring an idol of Krishna from Karimkulam Temple to Ambalapuzha temple. The idol was brought and installed on the Moolam day in the Malayalam month of Mithunam (June/July). To commemorate the installation of the idol, a snake boat race is organized every year at Champakkulam (in Alappuzha) on the Moolam day in Mithunam.
Arattu Festival: This festival is also celebrated here with great pomp which is a ten day long celebration, starts with the hosting of flag on the Atham star (Thiruvonam day) in the Malayalam months of Meenam (March and April).
Pallipana Festival: It is also celebrated here once in every 12 years which is the noted performance by Velans (sorcerers).
Velakali, a peculiar martial dance form, is an important part of this festival. In ancient times, human sacrifice was also conducted which now got replaced by cocks on the sacrificial altar. Kalakkaththu Kunchan Nambiar (1705-1770), one of the famous malayalam poet, satirist, performer and the inventor of local art form Ottamtullal had spend his youth at Ambalappuzha.
Ambalapuzha Moolakazhcha: It is the other important ritual associated with this temple, held on Moolam Nakshatra in the Malayalam month of Mithunam, inside the temple premises.
How to Reach:
By Road: This temple is located 13 kms from Alapuzha. There are plenty of KSRTC buses, auto-rickshaws and taxis available in the state almost all the time from different places to reach this temple.
By Train: Ambalapuzha Railway station is just 2 kms distance from the temple. Alappuzha is around 14 km away.
By Air: The Cochin International Airport is just 97 kms away from the temple.
Image Courtesy:www.keralatourism.org, https://www.tripadvisor.in