Ambalapuzha Temples

Sri Krishnaswamy temple is in ambalapuzha, near Allappuzha, the former Alleppey. Accrding tothe sthala puraa, King Pooradam Tirunal Devanarayanan thampuran of the Chempakasseri dynasty built the present temple between 1615 and 1630.  The idol, though, was in existence from the 14th century.  How the idol came to this temple is a very interesting story.  It is said that king Deva Narayanan, the founder of the dynasty (which ruled till the first half of the 18th centuary), was travelling by boat in these parts, along with Vilwamangalam Swamiyar, the area, where the temple now stands, is said to have been under water those days.  As the duo reached the spot, they heard the mellifluous sound of the flute.  They traced the sound to a hge, luscious peepul tree (still in existence at the entrance).  They landed their craft and went ashore.  There they saw craft and went ashore.  There they saw Sri Krishna, dressed in yellow, with the peacock feather in his crown, sitting on a branch of the tree and playing the flute.  They bowed to the All Mighty, delighted at the presence of the Diving in their kingdom.  After the vision ended, Vilvamangalam Swamiyaraskedthe ruler to build a temple in the place.  The king then acquired the land, a major portion of which was submerged, filled it up and decided to install an idol of Sri Krishna there. As the auspicious hour dawned, Puthumana, one of the two royal priests, examined the idol and declared it unsuitable for installation.  Challenged to prove it, he uttered prayer and knocked the idol on the side.  From the broken portion (the abdomen) sprang a frog and water.

The astonished king now thought of ways to install an idol before the auspicious hour departed.  He was told of a beautiful Krishna idol in Kurichi, near Kottayam.  King Deva Narayanan was not on good terms with the Thekkumkur Raja, under whose jurisdiction Kurichi lay, Parayil Menon, his minister, therefore, plotted to spirit the idol.  The play was executed and carried out in an impeccable fashion, and the idol arrived via the Pampa River.  The Sandhya pooja was performed at the house of Mappilasseri, a Christian family, and kept there for the night.  Next day, at the appointed hour, it was installed in Ambalapuzha. The grateful king offered the kingdom to Sri Krishna, moved his headquarters to a place near the temple, assumed the title "Deva Narayanan," and ruled the state as the Lord's regent. To commemorate the installation day, the festival of Moolam Vali Kali is celebrated every year.  The boat race, held during the festival, was the first ever competition of its kind in the Kerala of that period.

The shrine is built in the typical Kerala style.  Paintings of the Desavatharam are displayed on the walls  of the mandapam surrounding the sanctum. It is quite a big temple complex, with an equally big tank attached to it.  The temple is also famous for its paalpayasam, a sweetened milk-porridge delicacy.  There is a story about how this delicacy came to be served here. It is said that Lord.

Krishna, disguised  as a sage, once challenged the ruler of the land to a game of chess.  All that he demanded as a prize for His victory (in case He won) was grains of rice placed in a certain manner on the chess board.  The king, who was unhappy that the sage had asked for so light a prize, soon realized the gravity of the demand as the game progressed.  Krishna won an amount of rice that ran to trillions of tonnes, enough, it is said, to cover the surface of India to a depth of 40cm.  The ruler was aghast, but Krishna consoled him saying that he would be quite happy if he served paalpayasam, with rice as the main ingredient, to devotees free-o-cost every day till his dept was repaid.  The paalpayasam is still available to devotees, bt is no longer gives free understandable, since the state has appropriated the landed property of temples.

How to get there:

Ambalapuzha is a coastal town, abutting NH47.  Sri Krishna temple is about a km and a half from the town centre.  Ambalapuzha is also connected by train, the temple being less than a kilometre from the station, on the Ernakulam-Kanyamkulam section.  There is a daily train, Alleppey Express, from Chennai to Alappuzha, 13km away.  Bused and autos connect the two towns.

Accommodation:

The Devasthanam runs a choultry.  There are private lodges as well, or you could stay in Alleppey.

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