Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple
Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple: Kerala Temples
Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple is a Hindu temple in Ambalappuzha, Alapuzha district of Kerala, in south India. The Puthumana Thanthri family of Namboodiri Brahmins are the priests of the Temple.
The Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple is believed to have been built in the in the year AD 790 by the local ruler Chembakasserry Pooradam Thirunal-Devanarayanan Thampuran.
This temple is directly associated to the Guruvayoor Sri Krishna Temple. During the raids of Tipu Sultan in 1789, the idol of Sri Krishna from the Guruvayoor Temple was brought to the Ambalappuzha Temple for safe keeping.
The pal payasam served in the Ambalappuzha Temple is famous among Hindu devotees. This sweet pudding made of rice and milk has an interesting mythological legend behind it.
Ambalapuzha is a coastal town besides the NH 47 about 13 km to the south of Allepey. The temple of Sree Krishna is located 1.5 km east of the town junction. In the olden the headquarters of the Ambalapuzha rajahs were near the temple. There was a time when the Ambalapuzha territory had been under the rule of Chempakasseri rajahs. But when Marthanda Varma, the valorous ruler of Travancore conquered Chempakasseri territory in 925 M.E., there occurred a gradual declension of the royal family of Chempakasseri. Some people worship the presiding deity of the Ambalapuzha temple as 'Parathasarthy' while others as Gopalakrishna but both the names of course, are the two sides of the same coin. As it is said commonly, the legend about the origin and exaltation of the temple goes like this:-
At one time in the history of Ambalapuzha, the place where the present temple is situated, was under water. While the rajah of Ambalapuzha dynasty and Vilwamangalam Swamiyar were going through the waterways, it so happened that they could hear a luscious sound of flute coming from a nearby huge and luxuriant peepul tree. Swamiyar was so attracted by the music that the wanted the oarsman to row the boat to the shore. On landing they went in search of the origin of the melodious song. To his astonishment Swamiyar saw Sree Krishna sitting on a branch of the peepul tree playing his flute. At first he could not believe his eyes. He folded his hands and bowed his head, so did rajah. Both of them went round the tree singing praises of the Lord. The rajah thought that at last prosperity had come to his kingdom. He was so much pleased with the presence of the Almighty in his kingdom that he considered it as a blessing in disguise for the smooth functioning of his duties as well as the lofty administration of the territory. Vilwamangalam urged the king to build a suitable temple for the Lord where they had seen him. The place belonged to an Ezhava leader Ambanattu Panicker. The king bought the land, a major portion of which was submerged land, by giving him adequate compensation. The submerged land was filled up with soil and temple was built in a few months. It was decided to install the image made for the purpose in an astrologically suited time. But the high priest, after he examined the idol, expressed the view that the idol had certain inauspicious traits so that it was unsuitable for placement. The declaration of the priest fell upon the king like a thunder bolt. However, he wanted to get and idol placed at the stipulated time itself. He did not want to put off the function to a later period. It was a pity that the king could not make use of the original image meant for the purpose. Some people believe that the present idol was brought from Thiruvanvandoor, a village near Thiruvalla by bullying and coaxing a Brahmin priest. On the other hand some are of the opinion that it was brought from Koratti Thiruvampadi temple. Anyhow, the king and his men were able to find an idol suitable to be fixed, and it was carried out on the day of 'Moolam' astericism in 'Midhunam (June/ July). Every year on the same day people in and around the place, forgetting themselves of their caste or creed, celebrate the eventful day by arranging colourful boat-race which is now known as the famous Champakulam boat-race.
Chempakasseri mana was the old royal palace on the southern part of the temple. Since ll the Chempakasseri kings were nampoothiries, the name of the 'mana' became the name of the kingdom. After having established the temple, Pooram Thirunal Maharajah handed over his kingdom into the divine hands of Lord Unnikrishna and left his kingdom to become one with the Brahma.
The sweet broth made of milk, sugar and rice, otherwise known as 'Ambalapuzha palpayasam' is well-known because of its speciality. No other sweet broth of any kind is as delicious and melodious as this payasam.