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Sri Krishna Temple Ambalapuzha

Alappuzha, Kerala
Known for the famous 'Palpayasam' used to be made here and distributed as an offering.
Best Time to Visit
Throughout the year
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Ambalapuzha, situated 14 km south of Alappuzha on the Kollam-Alappuzha Highway is a well-known Hindu pilgrim center. The 'Sri Krishna temple' here is one of the main Lord Krishna temples in Kerala.

Also called as the Dwaraka of the South, the temple is known for the famous 'Palpayasam' (a sweet milk porridge) used to be made here and distributed as an offering. According to one legend about this special ‘palpayasam’ , is that a local chieftain once borrowed some paddy from a landowner. He found it difficult to repay the loan in time. One day, at the temple, the creditor asked for its immediate return and as such he donated the entire stock of paddy to the temple with a request that milk porridge be made of the rice and distributed to the devotees and the poor living in the area. This is the famous Ambalapuzha Palpayasam, the taste of which is indeed unique. Its color is golden, not white and has a special flavor.

The temple was built by Pooradam Thirunal-Devanarayanan Thampuran, the ruler of the Chempakaserry Dynasty which reigned over a part of the Travancore State, including Kuttanadu during 15th - 17th AD. An ardent devotee of Sree Krishna, he brought the idol of Lord Krishna from the Karinkulam temple in Kurichi near Kottayam and installed it in the Amabalapuzha Sree Krishna Swamy Temple.

The story behind this temple is that when Vilvamangalam Swami an ardent devotee of Sri Krishna and the Maharaja of Travancore, Pooradam Thirunal-Devanarayanan Thampuran, were cruising the backwaters, suddenly heared the melodius strains of the flute from the top of a banyan tree. The two landed and came to a tree, now within the temple. They had a vision of the Lord in the form of Bala Murali Krishna. Later on, as per the swami’s wishes, a beautiful temple was built around the tree.

The temple built in the traditional architectural style display paintings of the Dasavatharam (the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu) on the inner walls of the Chuttambalam. The temple is also famous for the 'Pallipana' performed by Velans (sorcerers) once every twelve years. It was in this temple that the 16th century poet Kunjan Nambiar staged the first 'Ottan Thullal', a solo dance performance with high social content.

The main festivals celebrated in this temple are the Arattu Utsavam held in March-April and the Champakkulam Moolam Water Festival held in June-July. The arattu festival, commences with the flag hoisting ceremony on the Atham day in Meenam (March-April). The main day of the festival is held on the Thiruvonam day of the month Meenam. 'Velakali', a traditional martial art form of Kerala is an important feature of this festival.

Amabalapuzha Temple Festival, popularly known as the Champakkulam Moolam Water Festival is celebrated in remembrance of the installation of the famous idol of Lord Krishna in the temple. One of the most popular boat races of Kerala, the highlights of the water festival are a ceremonial procession on the water, spectacular water floats, decorated boats, and of course, the race of the majestic Chundanvalloms or Snake boats– so called because the stern resembles the raised hood of a snake), each 100 feet long, on the waters of river Champakkulam. The festival is celebrated on the Moolam (asterism) day of the Mithunam month ( June- July) of the Malayalam era every year. Ottamthullal, Chakiyarkuthu, Krishnanattam and Velakali, the ancient traditional visual arts of Kerala are some of the special features on the occasion.