Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Swamy Temple Architecture and Design
Every year during our pilgrimage to Sabarimala we make it a point to visit the Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Swamy Temple, not just for the darshan but also for its famous prasadam, the ‘Palpayasam’ which I shall mention a little later in this post. Right now I shall talk a little bit about its architecture.
The wonderful architecture and design of the Sree Krishna Swamy Temple in Ambalapuzha, Kerala, are famous worldwide. The Lord Krishna temple is regarded as one of the most well-known in South India along with Guruvayur and draws followers worldwide. The temple’s distinctive construction is a fusion of conventional Kerala and Dravidian forms, and its elaborate design is evidence of the expert craftsmanship of long-ago craftspeople. In this post, we’ll examine Sree Krishna Swamy Temple in detail in Ambalapuzha’s architecture and design.
Background and Importance of the Temple
The temple was constructed by the local ruler Chembakasserry Pooradam Thirunal-Devanarayanan Thampuran in the 15th century. The primary deity of the temple, Lord Krishna, is worshipped here as “Parthasarathy,” who is seen with a whip, a conch, and a discus. ‘Palpayasam,’ a delicious milk pudding served as ‘prasadam’ to the worshippers, is another well-known specialty of the temple.
The Temple’s Architecture and Design
The architecture of the Sree Krishna Swamy Temple is a beautiful illustration of ancient Kerala and Dravidian designs. A sizable ‘gopuram,’ a towering doorway with exquisite carvings and paintings representing numerous Hindu gods and goddesses, dominates the temple’s entrance. The main temple courtyard is encircled on all four sides by a pillared arcade called “Chuttambalam,”. Beautiful wooden carvings and paintings that illustrate incidents from Lord Krishna’s life may be found in the “Chuttambalam.”
The primary deity, Lord Krishna, is housed in the temple’s rectangular main sanctuary. Extensive wooden carvings and sculptures of numerous gods and goddesses adorn the façade of the temple. Traditional Kerala style “Thazhikakudam,” a conical-shaped building built of wood and copper plates, serves as the ceiling of the sanctum.
Beautiful frescoes and murals that depict many tales and events from Hindu mythology adorn the inside walls of the temple. Extensive wood carvings and paintings on the temple’s ceiling show the ten manifestations of Lord Vishnu, including Lord Krishna.
The ‘Nalambalam’ of the temple is a rectangular building behind the main shrine. Lord Ayyappa and Lord Ganesh’s shrines are among the several sub-shrines that are housed in the “Nalambalam.” Beautiful wood sculptures and paintings of numerous Hindu gods and goddesses may also be found in the “Nalambalam.”
The majestic Sree Krishna Swamy Temple in Ambalapuzha is an excellent example of traditional Kerala and Dravidian architecture. The elaborate architecture and beautiful sculptures of the temple are evidence of the superb craftsmanship of early craftspeople. For anybody interested in art, culture, or spirituality, the temple is a must-visit because of its distinctive characteristics, which include the tall “gopuram,” the pillared arcade of “Chuttambalam,” and the traditional Kerala-style “Thazhikakudam” in the sanctum.
The Secret Behind the Famous ‘Palpayasam’ Offering at Sree Krishna Swamy Temple, Ambalapuzha
The Sree Krishna Swamy Temple in Ambalapuzha is famous for its Palpayasam offering, a sweet milk pudding that has become synonymous with the temple. The Palpayasam is considered to be the most important offering made at the temple, and it has a significant role to play in the temple’s history and mythology. In this article, we will explore the secret behind the famous Palpayasam offering at Sree Krishna Swamy Temple, Ambalapuzha.
History and Significance of Palpayasam Offering
The Palpayasam offering has been an integral part of the temple’s tradition for centuries. According to legend, the temple’s founder, Chembakassery Pooradam Thirunal-Devanarayanan Thampuran, was a great devotee of Lord Krishna. Once, Lord Krishna appeared in his dream and asked him to prepare a special dish for him. The next day, the king prepared a sweet pudding made of rice, milk, and sugar and offered it to the Lord. Lord Krishna blessed the king and his dynasty, and the Palpayasam offering became a tradition at the temple.
The Palpayasam offering is made every day at the temple, and it is considered to be the most important offering made to Lord Krishna. The pudding is prepared in a large bronze vessel called ‘Ottu,’ which weighs around 3,500 kg and has a capacity of 100 liters. The Palpayasam is then served to the devotees as ‘prasadam.’
Ingredients and Preparation of Palpayasam Offering
The Palpayasam offering is made of rice, milk, and sugar, and it is prepared in a traditional Kerala style using firewood. The rice used in the Palpayasam offering is a special variety called ‘Jeerakasala,’ which is known for its unique aroma and flavor. The milk used in the preparation of the pudding is sourced from local cows, which are known for their high-quality milk.
To prepare the Palpayasam, the rice is first cooked in water until it is soft and mushy. The milk is then added to the rice, and the mixture is simmered over a low flame until it thickens. Sugar and ghee are then added to the mixture, and it is cooked for another few minutes until it reaches the desired consistency.
The Secret Behind the Famous Palpayasam Offering
The secret behind the famous Palpayasam offering at Sree Krishna Swamy Temple lies in the ingredients and the method of preparation. The special variety of rice used in the Palpayasam, along with the high-quality milk and sugar, gives it a unique aroma and flavor that cannot be replicated anywhere else. The traditional Kerala-style preparation of the Palpayasam using firewood also adds to its unique taste.
Another secret behind the famous Palpayasam offering is the use of a large bronze vessel called ‘Ottu.’ The vessel’s size and shape ensure that the Palpayasam is cooked evenly and has a consistent taste and texture. The Ottu vessel is also believed to have a spiritual significance and is considered to be a sacred vessel.
The Palpayasam offering at Sree Krishna Swamy Temple in Ambalapuzha is a unique and significant tradition that has been passed down through generations. The use of high-quality ingredients, the traditional Kerala-style preparation, and the large bronze vessel called ‘Ottu’ are the secrets behind the famous Palpayasam offering. The Palpayasam’s unique taste and aroma have made it a must-try for anyone visiting the temple, and it continues to be an important part of the temple’s tradition and heritage.
The Significance of Sree Krishna Swamy Temple’s Annual ‘Aarattu’ Festival
One of Kerala’s most venerated temples, the Sree Krishna Swamy Temple in Ambalapuzha is renowned for its distinctive architecture and the renowned Palpayasam offering. The temple’s significance, however, goes beyond its design and contributions. Thousands of devotees travel from all over the state to attend the annual “Arattu” festival at the temple. The significance of the yearly “Aarattu” festival held at Sree Krishna Swamy Temple will be discussed in this article.
What Does The ‘Aarattu’ Festival Mean?
The Sree Krishna Swamy Temple in Ambalapuzha hosts the ‘Aarattu’ festival every year. The festival is observed on the tenth day of the Meenam month, which corresponds to the months of March and April in the Malayalam calendar. A ten-day festival is a lavish event that is thought to have begun in the 16th century under the rule of the Chembakassery King.
The ‘Aarattu’ celebration holds a significant place in the mythology and history of the temple. Legend has it that when Lord Krishna appeared as a sage and visited the temple, the monarch of Ambalapuzha washed the sage’s feet in a lavish procession. The ‘Arattu’ festival, which is a recreation of this occurrence, is seen as a purifying ceremony for the deity. A ceremonial bath is given to the idol of Lord Krishna when it is being transported in a large procession to the local temple tank. The bathing solution is thought to be holy, and its believers swear by its curative powers.
The ‘Aarattu’ festival is also a chance for Krishna believers to thank and honor their spiritual leader. The event provides a chance for devotees to get together and celebrate their beliefs. It is also a time for food, music, and dancing.
The ‘Aarattu’ Festival Celebrations
The ten-day “Aarattu” festival features a spectacular procession and the ritual bathing of the idol of Lord Krishna. The temple is decked with flowers and lights over the festival’s ten days, and special prayers and ceremonies are carried out. Palpayasam, a rice, milk, and sugar-based sweet pudding that is seen to be the most significant offering made at the temple, is among the special prayers, lamps, and offerings made by the worshippers.
The Lord Krishna idol is carried in a large procession to the temple tank on the tenth day of the festival, complete with music and dance. After that, the deity is ceremoniously bathed in water that is believed to be sacred. The followers think that water has therapeutic qualities and can treat illnesses.
The ‘Aarattu’ festival is a time for eating and celebration when devotees congregate to partake in traditional Kerala cuisine and take in cultural activities.
The ‘Aarattu’ festival is important for several reasons. It is first and foremost a rite of cleansing for the deity, and it is said to rid the idol of any impurities. Second, the event gives worshippers a chance to thank and show their love for Lord Krishna. The event provides a chance for devotees to get together and celebrate their beliefs. It is also a time for food, music, and dancing.
The “Aarattu” festival is important both in terms of culture and tourism. Thousands of devotees from throughout the world attend the celebration.
The celebration offers a look at Kerala’s rich cultural heritage and religious customs. Visitors have the chance to enjoy Kerala’s unique culture, music, and cuisine during the ten-day festival.
The local community is significantly impacted financially by the “Aarattu” event. The festival increases local employment prospects and boosts the local economy thanks to the inflow of tourists that it attracts.
The ‘Aarattu’ festival is a lavish event with significant historical and mythological significance for the Sree Krishna Swamy Temple in Ambalapuzha. The event serves as both a purifying ceremony for the god and a chance for followers of Lord Krishna to thank him and show their devotion to him. The event is important from a cultural and tourism standpoint as well because it gives visitors a look into Kerala’s rich cultural legacy. The festival has a large economic influence on the neighborhood, creating job opportunities and bringing in money for the local economy. The ‘Aarattu’ festival, which annually draws tens of thousands of devotees and tourists, is a celebration of faith, culture, and tradition.