Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple- The Dwaraka of South India
Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple is another temple dedicated to Lord Krishna. It is situated at Ambalapuzha district. The temple is an abode of serenity. The statue resembles the deity of Parthasarthi. Hence it also comes with a whip in the right hand and a Sankha (sacred conch) on the other. Furthermore, this idol depicts the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as Lord Krishna of the age of Mahabharata. The deity is also known by the name of Gopal Krishna. It is made of black granite stone. The especially relevant fact about the temple is that it exhibits Kerala style of architecture. There is also a pond near the temple.
History and Legend of Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple
A visit to the Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple, Ambalapuzha is a must when you are in Kerala. It is also a heritage of Kerala.
- The temple was constructed by Chembakasserry Pooradam Thirunal-Devanarayanan Thampuran. He was the ruler of Ambalapuzha. The temple was built in the 15th – 17th century.
- As per legends, Lord Krishna once arrived at the court of the ruler of Ambalapuzha. He was in disguise of a sage. Lord Krishna challenged the king in a game of chess. As a winning price the saint asked just for few grains of rice from the king. Lord Krishna demanded amount of rice equal to the chess board. One grain of rice had to be placed on the first square, two in the second square, four in the third square, eight rice grains in the fourth square, sixteen in the fifth square and it would continue till the last square of the board is reached. The king lost the game and as a result he had to give the equal amount of rice to the sage. He started calculating the total quantity of rice and the amount reached millions. It became impossible to provide this gift. Thus the monarch was in a crisis. Finally, Lord Krishna appeared in his true form. He asked the king to serve paal payasam to the worshippers everyday till the debt is paid. Hence the ritual of serving paal payasam started at the temple.
- There is another myth associated with the introduction of paal payasam as daily offering at the temple. Champakasseri Thampuran (ruler) once borrowed some rice from a brahmin. Thampuran could not repay the rice for a long span of time. The ruler came to visit the temple one day. The Brahmin accosted him. He demanded back the rice. Thampuran asked his minister to repay the debt and left the place. The minister was in a dilemma. As there was not enough paddy in stock to clear the debt. Finally, he managed to collect the required amount from the households. He weighed the paddy in front of the brahmin. The minister asked the brahmin to remove the paddy in one go from the place before the afternoon worship at the temple. As it may disturb the pooja process. He also kept a condition. If the brahmin fails to remove the rice, it will be given to the temple. The rice will be used to feed the poor. This was a conspiracy from the minister’s end. Hence the brahmin could not find even a single porter. Therefore the brahmin was not able to remove the paddy. In the meantime, the shrine closed for its afternoon worship. Hence as per the condition, brahmin donated all the paddy. The paddy was used for making paal payasam. So from this time this golden porridge is distributed among the devotees. The porridge is golden in colour. The paal payasam is popular for the taste.
- Kalakkaththu Kunchan Nambiar was a renowned architect of Kerala. He spent his youth at Ambalapuzha. There is a mizhavu kept at the temple. The mizhavu was used by the architect. Hence the temple authority has preserved the mizhavu.
- It is also believed that Thunjathu Ezhuthachan has written his famous work, Adyathtmaka Ramayanam kilipattu at this place.
- The Champakulam Moolam Snake boat is also associated with the history of this temple.
Significance of the Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple
The Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple, Ambalapuzha is important to the religious history of South India. The temple is famous for its impeccable architecture.
- Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple is directly connected to the Guruvayoor Sree Krishna Temple. The idol of the Guruvayoor temple was kept here during the raid of Tipu Sultan in 1789.
- The payasam served at the temple is of immense importance to the devotees. It is believed that Guruvayoor himself comes to have the payasam here. There is also a myth that Guruvayoor comes here at the time of Palpayasa Nedyam.
- Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple is also a treasure of rich Kerala paintings. The interior of the temple is adorned with the pictures of Dasavatharam. Dasavatharam refers to the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
- Ottan Thullal was first performed at Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple. This dance exhibits social issues of Kerala. Kunchan Nambiar is the creator of Ottan Thullal dance. He is also one of the famous poets of Kerala.
Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple Timings
Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple opens early like the other South India temples. The temple remains open from 3 am to 12 pm. The temple is again open from 5 pm to 8 pm.
Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple Food Timings
The Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple, Ambalapuzha is famous for its porridge. The porridge is known as payasam. The devotees get paal payasam everyday here. The porridge is popular by the name of Amabalapuzha Pal Payasam. Devotees can also book the prasada. They can also pay for the prasada through money order.
Guidelines for Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple
The temple authority also do not allow photography within the temple complex.
Dress Code at Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple
There is no specific dress code at the temple. But the temple authority suggests decent dressing.
Festivals celebrated at the Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple
Festivals are celebration of life at the Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple. Dances are performed at the festivals. Boat races are also popular here. Hence, every year thousands of pilgrims gather at the temple.
- Ambalapuzha Temple Festival: Ambalapuzha Temple Festival is another feature. The festival started in the 15th century. The ruler of Travancore, Chembakassery Devanarayana Dynasty started the festival. The rulers decided to bring Lord Krishna idol from the Karinkulam temple. Hence, the festival started from this event. This festival includes shifting the deity from one shrine to another. Chambakulam Moolam water festival is another name for this festival. The celebration takes place every year. The event is on the Moolam day of the Mithuman month. This festival follows Malayalam calendar. The festival is noteworthy for Chundanvallom boat races. Beautiful water floats decorate the water. The visual art forms, Ottan Thullal, Chakiyarkuthu, Krishnanattam and Velakali dance are performed at this festival.
- Aaraattu Festival: This festival takes place in the Meenam month of Malayalam calendar. This is either March or April. The festival starts with flag hoisting in the Atham star. Also on the Thiruvonam day, Velans perform the Pallipana ritual. Velans are also popular as sorcerers. This festival takes place once in twelve years. Furthermore, cocks are altered at this festivity.
- Vijayabali: This festival is celebrated every 144 years. Last time Vijayabali was celebrated in 1955.
Poojas and Rituals at Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple
Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple, Ambalapuzha follows the traditional pooja style of Kerala.
- Uccha is another feature of the temple. This is an afternoon pooja ritual. Priests offer Palpayasam to Lord Krishna at this afternoon pooja.
- Kalabharam is another ritual performed at the temple. This 30000 old ritual is observed as per the Malayalam calendar. Kalabharam takes place in Edava Masam. This month generally falls between May and June.
- The Pallipana ritual is also very popular. The Velans perform this ritual. Pallipana ritual takes place every twelve years.
How to reach: Road, Rail and Air
Ambalapuzha is a small town. It is only at 13 km from Alapupuzha town. The place is easily accessible. Tourists can travel by air, railways and roadways.
By Air: The Kochi International Airport is the nearest airport to Ambalapuzha. It is just at 2 hours 30 minutes from the temple. The Trivandrum airport is the second nearest airport. It is only 2 hours 37 minutes from the place. Tourists can also travel from the Bangalore International Airport. Coimbatore and Calicut airports are also near the temple. There are cabs available at the airport.
By Rail: Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple, Ambalapuzha is almost 2 kilometres from the railway station. There are also other railway stations nearby. Like, one railway station is at 14 kilometres from the shrine.
By Road: Finally, tourists can reach Ambalapuzha via roadways. It lies near NH 47. The temple is at 1.5 km from the town junction. Local vehicles like auto rickshaws will leave you at the doorsteps of the shrine. Pilgrims can travel to the place via buses. Kerala State Road transport has regular bus service.
Hotels in Ambalapuzha: Where to stay
Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple is one of the most famous temples of the Alleppey region. There are multiple hotels that have developed here. These hotels provide a comfortable stay to the visitors. Aquabliss offers airconditioned rooms. Tourists can also book houseboats from this hotel. The hotel is located just at 4.6 km from the temple. The Coir Village Lake Resort is another decent hotel. It is just at 7.8 km from the temple. These mid range hotels provide complimentary breakfast. There is also free parking facility. Tourists cab also use the swimming pool. Hotel Bonanza, Hamlet Heaven, Tamarind KTDC Easy hotel, Green Palace Kerala Resort and Kadavil Lakeshore Resort are the other hotels near the temple.
Where to eat
There are multiple food joints near the temple. The Indian Coffee House serves authentic Kerala coffee and cuisines of the state. The Thaff restaurant offers good food at a budget price. Halais Restaurant, Memories, Cassia, Sisir Palace, Café Paradiso Espresso Coffee Bar and Mushroom are some of the other popular eat outs near the temple.
Kerala is also a popular pilgrim centre. Hence there are multiple temples near the Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple.
- Chanvara Bhavan: This is the residence of the Kuriakose Elias Chavara. He is a renowned sage of Kerala. His home is considered as a pilgrimage. Finally, this place was transformed into a temple. Hence, at present thousands of devotees gather here. The beacon of light is another interesting aspect of the shrine. The light is preserved here from past 250 years. You can reach the temple only on boats.
- Chengannur Mahadeva Temple: This temple is at the same district. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are the main deities. The temple is famous for the Thripootha Arattu festival.
- Bhavaneeswara Temple: The temple is at Munnar. This temple is known for its architecture. The most noteworthy feature is, the temple has a special purpose. The temple is open to people from all caste and creed. This shrine is also known for its beautiful Kerala style of architecture. Lord Shiva is the presiding deity.
- Vaikom Mahadeva Temple: This temple is also dedicated to Lord Shiva. This shrine is one of the oldest temples of the state. The temple is also large. The land spread is massive 8 acres. It is equipped with a courtyard. There are four pillars on four sides of the temple. The temple entrance is made of wood. The sanctum and ceiling are made with stone. A devotee has to pass the six steps to reach the main sanctum. Every step shows the six emotions of kama, krodha, lobha, moha, madha and mathsarya.The Shiva Lingum is located at the main sanctum.
- Pazhaya Sreekanteswaram Temple, Kerala: Lord Shiva is the main deity here. Also, the Swamyambhu Shiva Lingum established at this shrine has a history.
Hence visit the Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple to know the rich history and culture of Kerala. Have fun at the colourful festivals. Most of all, this is considered as one of the five prime Lord Krishna temples of the state.