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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Ambalappuzha Vijayakrishnan is no more !

கண்ணபிரானது  பிரபலமான திருக்கோவில்கள் கேரளா மாநிலத்தில்  அமைந்துள்ளன.  குருவாயூர் போன்று மற்றோரு அற்புத ஸ்தலம் அம்பலப்புழா.

Do you know the political career of this former CM of Kerala.  Velikkakathu Sankaran Achuthanandan   was the Chief Minister of Kerala from 2006 to 2011. Achuthanandan was a member of the CPI(M) Politburo from 1985 until July 2009, when he was reverted to the Central Committee of the party owing to his ideological dispositions.  After serving as Chief Minister, he was Leader of the Opposition in Kerala from 2011 to 2016. He has been Chairman of the Kerala Administrative Reforms Commission from 2016 to 2021.

God’s own country has got some great Temples of Lord Krishna – Guruvayur, Ambalapuzha, Thiruvambady Sri Krishna Temple and more .. .. birth of Lord Sri Krishna is grandly  celebrated in all these places.  Ambalappuzha is a small town in the Alappuzha district of Kerala. 

Legend has it that, one day when Puradam Tirunal Tamburan and Vilvamangalam Swamiar were travelling in a canoe on the River Pampa, they could hear the murali ganam from the top of a banyan tree at the south-east side of the present day temple. They stopped and searched. Vilvamangalam perceived a blue light, amidst the branches, which transformed into an adorable boy (blue in colour) with peacock feather on the ‘jada’ with a mellifluous flute and sparkling vanamala. He was lost in ecstasy, when the form disappeared and he circumambulated the tree with overwhelming devotion. He told the local people to build a temple and install Gosala Krishna. A Balagopala idol was made, but while installing it, the tantri Puthumana Namboodiri said that it cannot be sanctified as the idol did not look perfect – with a small swelling on the left side.   Later, a Parthasarathi idol from Karinakulam temple at Kurichi was brought and consecrated at a house in Chambakulam. The king went there in a majestic boat, moving over Pamba like a swan. The stunning gosalakrishna vigraham was seen at Trivanvandoor. But, the melsanthi refused to give it. And further, he hid it in a pond and sacrificed his life to save the idol from being taken away. Many believe that the present vigraham is the same, but it was confirmed, in a devotee’s dream, that it is still hidden at the bottom of the pond.

Later, a special Parthasarathi idol was brought from Kurichi in Changanaserri. The king happily went in a palliodam (Lord’s regal canoe) accompanied by hundreds of people singing bhajans to greet the Mayamanusha idol with Panchajanyam in left hand and thong in the right. All the small canoes accompanied the idol kept in a chundan vallam. People from all walks of life sang vanchipattu and accompanied to the sound of Kathinavedis and Kuravais. Every house was decorated with tender coconut leaves, fruit bunches, Nirapara, Nilavilakku and asthamangalyam. To commemorate this occasion, every year in the month of Mithunam, a water festival ‘jalotsavam’ and a feast are held. Now it has become a contest. It is said that in Kerala, there are three swayambu Vishnu idols Guruvayoorappan, Purnatrayesan and Ambalapuzha Krishnan.

                    Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna temple is one of the seven greatest Vaishnava temples in Travancore. The inner walls of the chuttambalam of the temple are decorated with paintings. The idol is of Parthasarathi with a whip in the right hand and a sankhu in the left. The pratisha and dhyana slokam is that of Gosala Krishnan. It is believed that Guruvayoorappan visits this place daily during the naivedya time to taste the palpayasam. There is a legend regarding this. Krishna came in the guise of a sage to the king’s court to play chess. The prize chosen by the sage was a few grains of rice determined by placing one grain of rice in the first square, two in the second, four in the third square, eight in the fouth i.e., every square carries double the number of the previous square. The sage naturally won. The king realised the trap as he started to fill the rice grains in the chess board. By the 20 square, the number had reached one million grains and by the 40 it became more than that. The king realised that the granaries in his as well as the adjacent kingdoms will not be enough. By geometrical progression, 18,446, 744, 073, 700, 551,615 i.e., trillions of rice grains will only fill a 64 squared chess board. The Lord, in the form of the sage, took his true form and allowed the king to pay the debt over the years. Accordingly, palpayasam made of rice, will be freely served in the temple everyday, until the debt clears.

Ambalapuzha Palpayasam is a wonder of Kerala and it is believed that it doesn’t taste the same in other shrines. It is golden in colour.  Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple is a model of traditional Kerala architectural style. It has white-washed walls and a sloping copper-clad roof. The Sreekovil (Sanctum Sanctorum) has no windows and only the priests can enter. The Sreekovil is within the four walls of  the Nalambalam. The outer structure within the temple walls is known as Chuttuambalam. The priests use the well near the temple exclusively for pooja rituals.

Ambalappuzha State assembly constituency is one of the 140 state legislative assembly constituencies at the state Kerala in southern India. It is also one of the 7 state legislative assembly constituencies included in the Alappuzha Lok Sabha constituency.  The key candidates contesting in the 2021 Assembly elections from Ambalappuzha constituency are: H. Salam of CPI(M), M. Liju of Cong, Anoop Antony Joseph of BJP.  In the 3rd and 4th Assembly elections in 1967 & in 1970, VS Achuthanandan contested and won from here.   

Like Thrissur, Guruvayur, and many other temples, this temple too has a famous elephant.  Temple festivals in Kerala are perhaps incomplete without caparisoned elephants. The elephant Ambalapuzha Ramachandran was famous.  Inside the temple there is a mammoth life-size statue of this famous elephant.   .. .. after Ramachandran came ‘Ambalappuzha Vijayakrishnan’ who too was very famous. Sadly this majestic elephant  owned by the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), died  on 8.4.2021 at the Sree Krishna Swami temple premises recently. According to devaswom officials, the 51-year-old elephant had been suffering from various health issues for the past few days. Meanwhile, a group of elephant lovers have come out with the allegation that the much loved jumbo underwent severe torture at the hands of its mahouts for several months.  

The photos of tusker Ambalapuzha Vijaykrishnan are taken from the FB page of the elephant created by its fans. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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