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Saturday, May 16, 2020

woshipping Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna @ Thrissur

வாயுள் வையகம் கண்ட மடநல்லார்* ஆயர் புத்திரனல்லன் அருந்தெய்வம்*;
பாய சீருடைப் பண்புடைப் பாலகன்* மாயனென்று மகிழ்ந்தனர் மாதரே.

The greatest of Ithihasa Puranas are Sri Ramayan and Mahabaratham.  The latter revolves around Bhagwan Sri Krishna who gave us ‘Srimad Bhagwat Geetha’ at the battlefield of Gurukshetra.   The birth of Lord Sri Krishna at Mathura to Vasudeva and Devaki is celebrated with gaiety everywhere.  While some celebrate the coming of Lord Krishna to this Universe on Ashtami day as ‘Gokulashtami’ – in South India, it is more with the star of ‘Rohini’ and the birth day is being celebrated as : Krishna Jayanthi, Janmashtami, Gokulaashtami, Sri Jayanthi and more 
Srijayanthi Kannan purappadu at Thiruvallikkeni

Lord Krishna was  born with parents incarcerated and was moved under heavy showers crossing Yamuna river in spates, being protected by Adi Sesha – to grow up in Gokul with cowherds.  Those there had the fortune of watching Krishna grow up – every now and then revealing glimpses of His identity.  As can be understood from the words of  Periyalwar – ‘ the grand ladies of Gokulam, chased the child with Yasodha chiding Him for eating the earthen sand; when He opened the mouth, they realised and exclaimed with glee ‘ He is no ordinary cowherd child; but the blessed Lord Himself – fully imbued with all auspicious qualities”.

God’s own country has got some great Temples of Lord Krishna – Guruvayur, Ambalapuzha, Thiruvambady Sri Krishna Temple and more .. ..  Ambadi is a place where Lord Krishna spent his childhood and that way it could well be the land and forests of Govardhan, Gokul, Vrindavan, the Braj bhoomi.
Back in Kerala, in April occurs the famous Thrissur pooram at Vadakkunathan temple grounds.  The Thrissur Pooram is being held since 1798 at Thekkinkkadu ground in front of the famous Vadakkunnathan Siva temple. Two groups, consisting of five temples each, take part in the Pooram in a competitive mode. One group is led by Thriuvambadi Srikrishna Temple and the second one is led by Paramekkavu Bhagavati Temple. The 10 temples send their pooram (complete procession) accompanied by elephants carrying deities. Exchange of ornamental umbrellas atop the elephants standing face to face is one of the spectacular events of the festival. For this grand festival, about 100 captive elephants owned by individuals and religious institutions are paraded.

Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple is another famous temple in  the city of Thrissur in Kerala.  At this temple, the managing Devaswom offers free lunch to hundreds of people everyday.  Devotees entering have to follow dresscode as applicable in Guruvayur also.  The straight road opposite the temple leads to Poonkunnam Railway station and further up to Poonkunnam junction.  The name of the parallel road in front is Shoranur road, leading to Vadakunnathan temple on one side and Paturaikkal and then to Shornur on the other. Lord Krishna is worshipped along with Devi Vishnumaya at this temple. Though the original temple was constructed in 16th century, the current structure was ordered by Raja Rama Varma (also known as Sakthan Thampuran), the ruler of Kochi in 18th century. 

Lord Krishna is child Krishna here.   Even though small in stature in its physical appearance, Thiruvambadi Krishna Temple is highly significant as a Mahakshethra due to its extensive rites of worship.  The main deity at Thiruvambady is Unnikrishna (Lord Krishna in infant form). Goddess Bhagavathy is consecrated in a shrine just on the left of Lord Krishna and worshipped with equal ardour. Lord Ganesha, Dharmasastha are also  worshipped in separate shrines outside the Nalambalam.

The most colorful festival of the Thiruvambadi temple, starts off with a ceremonial procession called Madathil Varavu to the Vadakkumnathan temple. Caparisoned elephants, giant umbrellas, drum performers and Panchavadyam add color and pomp to the procession. Paramekkavu & Thiruvambadi temples compete with each other exhibiting their best art forms, traditional orchestra & fireworks which is a gorgeous feast of color & sound!

The idol of Krishna, now worshipped here, is believed to have been originally  the Sri Parthasarathy idol in a temple at Edakkalathur, a sleepy hamlet, about 15km from Thrissur. The temple had the same name – Thiruvambady – and there were many shrines too. Some four centuries ago, when life and property in the village were threatened by communal conflagration, some villagers under the cover of darkness, surreptitiously carried the idol to Thrissur and entrusted the same to a pious Namboodiri couple at Kachanappilly Illam, 200mtrs from the present Thiruvambady temple. The most benevolent Lord who appears before a devotee in the form he wants, opted to cast aside Partha Sarathy’s whip and to pick up the flute in one hand and extended the other to receive the butter of devotion from the ‘foster parents’. A small temple in the form of a ‘sala’ was erected 200mtrs, South of Kachanappally Illam and ‘Unnikrishna’ was enshrined.

Aside, Thiruvambadi Sivasundar, fondly called by his fans as King of Beauty (Azhakinthe Thampuran), (1972-2018) was the cynosure of eyes till recently at the temple. He was first named Pookkodan Sivan and  worked at a timber factory. In 2003, he was purchased by businessman Sundar Menon for Rs. 28 lakh and offered to the  Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna Temple.  From then on, the majestic elephant carried the thidambu and was in the forefront on behalf of the temple during Thrissur's annual Pooram festival.

~adiyen Srinivasadhasan
S. Sampathkumar
* elephant pics from the FB page of Thiruvambadi Sivasankaran

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