Sri Krishna Temple, Ambalapuzha

Situated very near Alappuzha (Alleppy), the Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna temple is believed to be one of the seven great Vaishnava shrines in the former Travancore State .

This temple is full of legends and stories regarding the origin of the main diety of the Shrine. According to local legend, when Vilvaman Swamy, as ardent devotee of Sri.Krishna and a scholar, and the Maharaja of Travancore, the Pooradam Thirunal Thampuran, were cruising in the Kuttannadan backwaters, they heard sweet music to the accomplishment of a flute from the top of banyan tree. Peering anxiously, the thampuran could not see anything, while Vilvamangalam was astonished to behold a bright glow and the form of Bala Murali Krishna.

Overwhelmed with joy, the sage forgot himself, enjoyed the melodious music till the bright glow disappeared. As desired by the Swamiyar, a beautiful temple of architectural grandeur was constructed on the spot by the Maharaja. A beautiful idol of Bala Gopala Krishna was also made of solid stone. Thantri Kudiyakkol Namboodiri, was chosen as the priest for the occasion.

To the surprise of every one present, Puthumana Valiya Namboodaripad, another Thantri, Vehemently objected to the consecration of the idol and shouted that it was defective and unfit for installation for worship as the deity. When the arguments reached the climax to prove the defect in the idol, Thantri Puthumana struck mildly on a scar found on the left side of the idol. As if it was a strong miracle, that particular part struck split into a cavity and streams of dirty water and a good number of frogs began to flow out form the part. Thus, the installation and consecration ceremony of the idol had to be abandoned.

The dejected Maharaja ordered his subjects to secure a suitable idol for installation. Vilvamangalam suggested that the idol of Parthasarathi could be brought from Kuruchi, a place belonging to another neighboring chieftain. It is said that the idol was removed at right and brought safely to Ambalapuzha, and installed in the Shrine in 1613 A.D.

According to another story, an idol of Gopala Krishna was traced at Thiruvanavanandanur temple a nearby place. But the temple priest not only refused to part with it, but also threw the idol into a nearby temple tank and himself committed suicide by drowning in the tank out of fear. It was the belief for a long time, that the idol installed at Ambalapuzha was that recovered from the Thiruvanavanandanur temple, but this belief was found to be incorrect as the idol of Krishna was later recovered from the temple tank.

Still another story relates that the King's messengers found a beautiful idol of Krishna at Karimkulam temple which belonged to Thekkumkore Rajah. The soldiers of the Travancore Maharaja took this idol forcibly and brought it to Ambalapuzha amidst cheer from the watching crowds in bright Sun shine. It is believed that the annual Snake Boat race now conducted in Kerala is in commemoration of this procession of boats that accompanied in the olden days. In the later days this boat race came to be known as ‘Moolakkzhcha'.

Another legend has it that once the Poordam Thirunal Thampuran disclosed his desire to Vilvamangalam to behold the Lord Krishna in flesh and blood. But the sage said that he had not attained such virtue to have a sight of the complete figure of the Lord in flesh and blood. However, he would try to show him the holy hand of Krishna . The next day noon, after the daily ‘pooja was performed by Vilvamangalam himself, the entrance to the Srikovil was covered with a silk cloth. The Maharaja anxiously awaiting outside the Srikovil was surprised to see the holy arm of Krishna extended at him. The Maharaja came to tears and worshipped the holy hand and thereafter deposited into it all the powers of the state which was in his possession. Thus, the Lord became the head of the state.

In the temple of Sri Krishna at Ambalapuzha, the milk porridge, known as ‘Palpayasam' is the sacred offering made to the deity. It is then distributed to all the devotees as ‘Prasadam'. Even here, there is a local story connected with this milk offering. A local chieftain who had borrowed paddy from a land owner could not return the loan in time. But when the required quantity of paddy was provided with great difficulty, the creditor could not clear the same in time and as such he donated the entire stock of paddy to the temple with a request that milk porridge be made out of the rice and distributed to the poor and other devotees. Thus the temple of Krishna is full of very interesting legends.

Ambalapuzha is situated about 20 kms. South of Alappuzha and is connected by a good road and railway system with many important cities of the country. Convenient buses, taxis and vans are available from Alappuzha to reach this temple.

There is excellent hotels, tourist rest houses and lodging places at Alappuzha to suit the convenience and purse of every visitor.