Alappuzha also known by its former name Alleppey, is the administrative headquarters of Alappuzha District in the Indian State of Kerala. Alappuzha is a city and a municipality in Kerala ranks third among the districts in literacy rate in the State of Kerala. In 2016, the Centre for Science and Environment rated Alappuzha as the cleanest town in India. Alappuzha is considered to be the oldest planned city in this region and the lighthouse built on the coast of the city is the first of its kind along the Laccadive Sea coast. A town with canals, backwaters, beaches, and lagoons, Alappuzha was described by Lord Curzon as the “Venice of the East.” Hence, it is known as the “Venetian Capital” of Kerala. In Alappuzha, It is an important tourist destination in India. The Backwaters of Alappuzha is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Kerala which attracts millions of domestic and international tourists to the district and employs vast number of locals in the private sector. A houseboat cruise in these backwaters can be booked. It connects Kumarakom and Cochin to the North and Quilon to the South. Apart from houseboat services, the Kerala State Water Transport Department provides government boat services within the district and Quilon (Kollam) which considers the best and cheapest way to explore the Backwaters of Alleppey. It is also the access point for the annual Nehru Trophy Boat Race, held on the Punnamada Lake, near Alappuzha, on the second Saturday of August every year. This is the most popular and competitive boat races in India. Mullackal Chirap is the major Temple Festival of Alappuzha which is held for ten days every year in end of December.
Other attractions in Alappuzha are Alappuzha Beach, offering a views of the Laccadive Sea, Pathiramanal , Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple, St. Andrew’s Basilica, Arthunkal, Mannarasala Temple, Cheriyanad Sree Balasubramanya Swamy Temple, Chettikulangara Devi Temple, Haripad Sree Subrahmanya Swamy temple, Krishnapuram Palace, Thakazhy Sree Dharma Sastha Temple, Mullakkal Temple, Padanilam Parabrahma Temple, Edathua Church, Alappuzha CSI Christ Church (oldest Anglican church in Central Kerala) and Champakulam Valiyapally Vetticode Sree Nagaraja Swamy Temple (Vetticode The first and old Nagaraja Temple). Alappuzha is home to the Punnapra-Vayalar uprising against the British and also the revolt against the Feudal raj. Communist Party members were killed by the army of the Diwan, 200 people at Punnapra on 24 October 1946 and more than 150 at Vayalar on 27 October 1946. The total loss of life is allegedly estimated to be more than a thousand. Coir is the most important commodity manufactured in Alappuzha. The Coir Board was established by the Central Government under the provisions of the Coir Industry Act, 1955. A Central Coir Research Institute is located at Kalavoor.
Sightseeing Points In Alappuzha
Alappuzha Beach is a beach in Alappuzha town and a tourist attraction in Kerala. Beach has an old pier which extend to sea is over 150 years old. Alappuzha beach host many events annually like Alappuzha beach festival, Sand art festival and many more. Alappuzha beach is one of the major tourist spot in Alappuzha town. Alappuzha Lighthouse situated near to the beach. Beach is accessible through various town roads and an elevated highway will passing by the beach as part of Alappuzha bypass in order to preserve the beauty of the area. Camel safaris was another attraction in beach which introduced a couple of years ago but it got banned by authorities. Alappuzha beach festival is a famous event organised as part of new year celebration. It’s organised as an annual event in every year. Thousands of people gathers in the event includes from other district. Kerala’s first international sand art festival and competition held on April 26-2015 in Alappuzha beach. Many national and international sand artists participated in event. The state tourism department and the Alleppey Foundation has jointly organised the event.
Vembanad (Vembanad Kayal or Vembanad Kol) is the longest lake in India, and the largest lake in the state of Kerala [Mangrove with area 2,114 Square Kilometers is the second largest Ramsar site in India only after Sunderbans in West Bengal, Spanning several districts in the state of Kerala, it is known as Vembanadu Lake in Alappuzha, Punnamada Lake in Kuttanad and Kochi Lake in Kochi. Several groups of small islands including Vypin, Mulavukad, Vallarpadam, Willingdon Island are located in the Kochi Lake portion. Kochi Port is built around the Willingdon Island and the Vallarpadam island. The Nehru Trophy Boat Race is conducted in a portion of the lake. High levels of pollution have been noticed at certain hotspots of the Vembanad backwaters. The government of India has identified the Vembanad wetland under the National Wetlands Conservation Programme.
The most popular location on the shores of the lake is the Kumarakom Tourist Village situated on the east coast of the lake. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is located on the northern fringes of Kumarakom village. The Vembanad Wetland system was included in the list of wetlands of international importance, as defined by the Ramsar Convention for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands in 2002. It is the largest of the three Ramsar Sites in the state of Kerala. Vembanad lake has been heavily reclaimed over the course of the past century with the water spread area reducing from 290.85 square kilometers in 1917 to 227 square kilometers in 1971 and 213.28 square kilometers in 1990. In the same period almost 63.62 km of erstwhile water spread were reclaimed primarily for the formation of polders and to enlarge the extent of the Wellington island of Cochin port. The lake faces a major ecological crisis and has reduced to 37 percent of its original area, as a result of land reclamation. A unique characteristic of the lake is the 4,108 feet long Thanneermukkom salt water barrier constructed as a part of the Kuttanad Development Scheme to prevent tidal action and intrusion of salt water into the Kuttanad low-lands. It is the largest mud regulator in India and essentially divides the lake into two parts, one with perennial brackish water and the other with fresh water from rivers draining into the lake. This barrier has helped farmers in Kuttanad by freeing the area of salinity and allowing them an additional crop in the dry season. The Thanneermukkom barrier is located at one of the narrower parts of the Vembanad Lake. Only two-thirds of the original number of gates are opened in July to release flood flow. These gates remain closed until mid-November. The main drawback of the structure has been the loss of opportunity for fish and prawns to migrate upstream, and also an increase in weed growth in the upstream, severely restricting the natural flushing of pollutants. The Thanneermukkom bund has also created ecological problems, primarily, the rampant propagation of the Water Hyacinth in fresh water.
Vembanad Lake is at the heart of Kerala Backwaters tourism with hundreds of kettuvallams plied on it and numerous resorts on its banks. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is located on the east coast of the lake. The lake has become a major tourist attraction. A generally safe destination, this place had just one incident of tourist harassment in 2004 as reported in The Times of India.
Marari Beach is in Alappuzha District of Kerala, 11 km from Alappuzha (Alleppey) town. Mararikulam is connected by rail and has a railway station by the same name. It is also well connected by road. National highway No.47 passes through S.L.Puram, which is 5 km to the east of Mararikulam. Nearest airport is Cochin International Airport. It was rated as one of the world’s top five HAMMOCK BEACH by National Geographic survey & The CGH Marari beach resorts has made it to the “Sense of Place” final list of National Geographic Traveller “WORLD LEGACY AWARD” by National Geographic in partnership with ITB Berlin. Marari Beach is being increasingly preferred by travellers as an alternative to its more popular counterpart- Kovalam in the South. Tourists can cover the key highlights of Kerala including the Port town of Cochin, the tea plantations of Munnar, the wildlife in Periyar, the houseboats on the backwaters in Alleppey and end their stay at Marari where they can enjoy the beaches before flying out of Cochin again- instead of having to travel down south to Kovalam for the beaches. The beaches in Marari are conveniently located just an hour and a half away from the Cochin international airport.
Pathiramanal is a small island in Muhamma panchayat of Alappuzha district . The name Pathiramanal means ‘midnight sand’. The scenic beauty of both sides of the lake as well as that of the island is mind blowing. It is home to many rare varieties of migratory birds from different parts of the world. The island (also known as Anantha Padmanabhan Thoppu) was purchased by Chevalier ACM Anthraper, from M/s Bhimji Devji Trust of Cochin and was under the private ownership of Thai Mattathil Family until the late seventies. When Land Reforms Acts were enforced in the State in 1979, the island came under government ownership. The island was returned to the government as a surplus land that crossed the land ceiling. It was later transferred to the Tourism Department and the idea of leasing it out to private enterprises was under consideration. The island at present is uninhabited. Till late seventies of the 20th century 14 worker families resided in the island, who were later rehabilitated on the mainland in the Muhamma panchayath.
The island is an hour and half drive by motor boat or 30 minutes by speed boat from Alappuzha town. One can also take the boats plying in the Muhamma-Kumarakom water route. The SWTD boats plying in the Muhamma-Kumarakom water route no longer stops at Pathiramanal. It takes around 40 minutes from Kumarakom to reach Pathiramanal. The journey through Vembanad Lake is a marvellous experience. The best way to reach Pathiramanal is by renting a boat from Kayippuram jetty, which is just about 1 km east of the Kayippuram junction on the Alappuzha – Thanneermukkam road.
The island is a birdwatcher’s paradise. It is home to around 91 local species of birds and 50 migratory birds. One can see pintail ducks, common teal, night heron, cormorant, darter, Indian shag, purple heron, gulls, terns, large egrets, intermediate egret, cattle egret, Indian pond heron, little egret, pheasant-tailed and bronze-winged jacanas, stork-billed kingfisher, watercock, whistling duck, cotton pygmy-goose, little cormorant and whiskered tern. Some people have even reported seeing the monarch flycatcher.
Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple is a Hindu temple in Alappuzha district of Kerala. The Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple is believed to have been built during 17th century AD by the local ruler Chembakassery Pooradam Thirunal-Devanarayanan Thampuran. The idol at Ambalapuzha is likened to Parthasarathi form of Vishnu, holding a whip in his right hand and a conch in his left. During the raids of Tipu Sultan in 1789, the idol of Sri Krishna from the Guruvayoor Temple was brought to the Ambalappuzha Temple for safe keeping for 12 years. Payasam, a sweet pudding made of rice and milk is served in the temple and is believed that the Lord Guruvayoorappan visits the temple daily to accept the offering.
Punnamada Lake is an extension of Vembanad Lake in Alleppey. The lake is popular for hosting the very famous boat race called Nehru Trophy boat race. The race is held during the renowned Onam festival and attracts a lot of tourists from worldwide.
Alappuzha Lighthouse is situated in the coastal town of Alappuzha, Kerala. It was built in 1862 and is a major tourist attraction. Visitors are allowed between 1500 hours and 1630 hours on every weekday at an admission fee of 20 rupees for Indian citizens and 50 rupees for foreigners. This is the first of its kind in the Arabian sea coast of Kerala.
Krishnapuram Palace is a palace and museum located in Kayamkulam near Alappuzha in Alappuzha district, Kerala in southwestern India. It was built in the 18th century by Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the Travancore kingdom. It is built in the architectural style of Kerala with gabled roof, narrow corridor and dormer windows, near the Krishnaswamy Temple at Krishnapuram. The palace is maintained by the Kerala State Department of Archaeology and contains exhibits that belonged to the Palace and its former occupant, the Travancore Maharaja Marthanda Varma. It is also famous for a large pond within the palace complex. It is also said that an underground escape route runs from the bottom of the pond as a possible escape route from enemies. Among the many Kerala-style paintings seen in the palace, a distinctly placed mural painting is titled “Gajendra Moksham” of 154 square feet size, which is said to be the largest such find in Kerala. It is placed on the western end of the ground floor of the palace. The double edged Kayamkulam Vaal is also on display here. The palace houses, in its courtyard, one of the four statues of Buddha found in Alappuzha District.
Champakulam Kalloorkad Marth Maryam (St. Mary’s) Basilica is an ancient Christian Church in Kerala. It belongs to the Syro-Malabar Church under the Archeparchy of Changanacherry. It is a Forane church, with several parishes under it. Champakulam Kalloorkad Marth Mariam Basilica (also called Champakulam Valia Palli) is one of the oldest Christian churches in India and the mother church of almost all Catholic Syrian churches in Alleppey District. Believed to be established in AD 427, the church was rebuilt many times. Champakulam church was once under Niranam Church, which was founded by the Apostle Saint Thomas himself. The many rock inscriptions found around the church tell us about the history of the church. The open air Rock Cross at Champakulam church is one of the most ancient crosses with clear documentation of its antiquity, dating to AD 1151. There are many archaeological artifacts found around the church that tell more about its history. Champakulam Church had very friendly relations with the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Group and had a pivotal role in many ecumenical efforts in the Eighteenth century. Ikkako Kathanar, one of the martyrs (nasranis) of East Syriac Catholics, was born in this parish. Champakulam church has been recognized by the Universal Church as a Basilica. On 27 November 2016, the church was officially declared as a basilica by Pope Francis and Mar Joseph Perumthottam, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Changanacherry. This is the first basilica in the archdiocese of Changanassery, the fourth in the Syro Malabar Church, the ninth in Kerala and the twenty-third basilica in India. Over the years, the church has undergone significant updates. Initially, there was a small parish hall with about hundred seats. A few years back, a bigger Parish Hall was constructed. The latest, inaugurated on 3 January 2011, has 800+ seats. St. Mary’s Theological Center was inaugurated in 2011 as well.
Revi Karunakaran Memorial Museum is a privately owned museum located at Alappuzha. that displays decorative art and artifacts, including a large private collection of Swarovski crystals and ivory. Revi Karunakaran was the architect of the modernized coir industry of Kerala. After Revi’s death in 2003, his wife Betty Karan built this museum in his memory. The objects displayed at this museum were collected by his family over three generations and feature unique artistic pieces from across the world. In 2003, Betty Karan built Revi Karuna Karan memorial museum at Alappuzha in memory of her husband. This is now a renowned, privately owned museum holding one of the largest private collections of Swarovski crystals in the world along with porcelain, jade, ivory, Keralan artifacts, furniture, and Tanjore paintings. The family of Karunakaran’s have been avid collectors of fine art and artefacts since at least three generations. The collection was originally maintained strictly within their private domain. However, after Revi’s demise, Betty decided to open the collection to the public, as a befitting tribute to the memory of their most beloved husband and loving father. Lalichan Zachariah, an architect from Ernakulam, helped Betty design the museum. The museum was inaugurated on 22 November 2006 by the former governor of Meghalaya, Sri. M.M. Jacob. Built over a period of about three years, the RKK museum is noted for its architectural characteristics such as the frontal Greco-Roman columns and occupies an area of 28,000 sq feet. A unique feature of the museum is that visitors can see and experience the four major religions of India ie. Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism and Christianity, that are represented with equal prominence across the murals, ivory collection, Kerala room and other items on display. The 3rd phase of the museum was inaugurated on 22 November 2015 by Her Excellency Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, the fifth President of Sri Lanka. Most of the pieces displayed in the museum come with a certificate of authentication, personally certified by Betty. Many, including former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, have figuratively compared this museum to the Taj Mahal, as both were built in the same spirit as a symbol and memorial of spousal love.
Mullakkal Rajarajeswari Temple is in the south Indian city of Alappuzha, Kerala. The temple is also known as Mullakkal Bhagavathy Temple. The temple is accessible for devotes from all castes and religions. Positioned on one of the main streets of Alleppey, “Mullakkal theruvu”, Mullakkal Rajarajeswari Temple is structured in old Kerala architectural style. Being surrounded by well-maintained wall and a beautiful pond inside, the premises has plenty of trees and jasmine plants (after which the place may have been named, since ‘mullai’ in Tamil and ‘mulla’ in Malayalam mean jasmine). There are several stories related to the origin of the temple and its foundation. The idol placed on the shrine is of Durga Maa with four arms, popularly known as “Mullakkal Devi” aka “Mullakkal Amma”. The temple is run by Travancore Devaswom Board.
The shrine of the temple is called “Sanctum sanctorum” and it is an open roof shrine. At the entrance point of the temple, around 20 feet area is kept under roofing. According to convention and old custom this roofed place is used for keeping large elephants that bring the “thidambu” of the goddess on special occasions. There are other deities in the temple; they are Hanuman Swami, Lord Ganesha, Subramanya Swami, Nagaraja, Navagraha, Sree Krishna, and Lord Ayyappa. There is banyan tree inside the premises where the lingam of Lord Shiva is also placed for darshana.
The temple is estimated as almost 500 years old. Plenty of stories are found allied to the origin of the temple. According to one story the idol of Mullakkal Devi” was brought here by a group of exiled soldiers from Thekkumkoor territory. Primarily they placed the idol in a jasmine garden. Later a temple was constructed in the jasmine garden by the patronage of King Devanarayana of Chembakassery. There is another story popularly known related to the foundation of the temple. It is believed that during the conquest of Kerala by Tippu Sultan of Mysore, a group of Namboodiri Brahmins escaped from Malabar realm taking the auspicious idol of Mata Annapurneshwari; the group spotted the Jasmine garden as the place to make the shrine and accordingly acted. Later on the temple was established. Prior to 1961, the idol placed on the main shrine was of Mata Annapurneshwari, who was seen ladle in one hand and pot on the other. As her temple was placed in a Jasmine Garden she was given the name Mullakkal Bhagavathy. The idol of Maa was found in the standing pose facing West direction in the temple. In 1961 some incredible events took place. Believers have reported that a mentally unbalanced person entered the sanctum sanctorum and all on a sudden embraced the idol. Afterward it was observed that some cracks had settled on the idol’s body. An astrologer predicted that the Goddess had instructed to create a fresh idol to be placed on the shrine instead of the old one. Accordingly, on 16 July 1962 a 4-feet tall Rajarajeshwari idol was placed on the shrine replacing the old and damaged one. Later on the idol of Lord Krishna and serpent gods were included and placed on different shrines.
Custom of worshipping is Usually some specific sweet dishes and South Indian special foods are offered to Goddess as Naivedyam. According to mythology, the first day when Annapoorneshwari idol was worshipped the prasad was vada using complete urdu gram with its black skin and the ingredients were collected from a neighboring Brahmin family. Following that convention the same prasad is prepared today and the ingredients are collected from some patron’s place. This special prasad is offered at night for puja.
Different festivals are celebrated in the Mullakkal Rajarajeswari Temple. The biggest festival celebrated here is Mullakkal Chirappu and it is celebrated for 41-day duration. The festival is commenced at beginning of the first of Malayalam Month Vrishchikam (Middle of November) and it ends on the eleventh of Malayalam month of Dhanu (December–January). The last 11 days of this festival are called Chirappu festival. The last two days of this Festival are counted as the most special and sacred one where nine elephants with colourful processions participate in the festive chore and thousands of devotees come to witness this auspicious occasion. Mullakkal Chirappu is celebrated in the temple with great grandeur and with best religious austerity. Besides regular puja, the best cultural programs, which are Kerala’s own heritage, are celebrated as the integral part of celebration. However, apart from cultural programs also ‘Annadanam’ is a part of this spectacular event as the final day feast offers foods to at least 3000 to 4000 devotees. They invite famous musicians and artists to perform at the temple premises at night. The firework display on this day at the end of the festive ceremony is usually very elaborate and attractive to watch. The first Sunday of December is celebrated as women’s festival. On this day all rituals and worships are done by women only. Ladies came from different areas and they lit lamps in the temple. Navarathri festival is also celebrated with great grandeur in the Mullakkal Bhagavathy temple. On Maha Navami day at least 150 to 200 baby girls are given new clothes and they are worshipped as divine Kumaris. “Theeyattu” is celebrated on that night. During this function a huge portrait of the Goddess is made on the floor with different colored powder. Ace dancers dance on this color Rangoli and slowly this portrait gets removed from the floor. On Maha Navami Children place their text books on the main Shrine for Pooja; during this time special poojas are performed. “Bommai Golu Festival” is an integral part of temple’s festive celebrations when all elderly women from Hindu society set there ‘Bommas’ on ‘Oottupura’; These women offer their sincere prayers by reading loudly Bhagavatham, the main holy scripture of Hindus and offer their prayers. “Thaipooya Kavadi” is another significant festival celebrated in this temple once in a year. During this festival about 15 Kavadisn take part in the parade and traditional dance session in majestic manner.
Coir Board had established an International Coir Museum in the Diamond Jubilee year, by depicting the historical events and evolution of technological advancements made in Coir Sector. The International Museum was inaugurated by Shri Oommen Chandy, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Kerala on 27th May 2014 at Coir Board Complex, Kalavoor. This Museum is now opened to the public. The International Coir Museum is established for showcasing the coir industry over the ages with the latest developments which has brought in a revolution. This museum is a beauty spot in the tourist map of Alleppey. The museum also showcases the traditional processes and development of coir industry, including retting and fibre extraction, advent of mechanization in coir sector etc. A short video film takes the visitors through the world of coir over the ages and gives information on the origin and growth of the industry and the latest developments made through research and development. This will give sweet memories on coir industry. There is souvenir shop attached to the Museum where visitors can have the joy of SHOPPING a wide range of coir handicrafts, coir doormats, coir ornaments etc.
Chettikulangara Sree Bhagavathi temple is one of the most renowned Hindu temples in Kerala. Main deity Sree Bhadrakali, The temple is located at Chettikulangara in Mavelikkara taluk of Alappuzha district in the Indian state of Kerala. The temple is situated about 4 kilometres west of Mavelikkara, 7 kilometres. Bhadrakali, is an incarnation of supreme mother Shakti devi, born from the third eye of Lord Shiva, to kill the demon king Daruka. ‘Bhadra’ means good and ‘Kali’ means goddess of time. So Bhadrakali is worshipped for prosperity and salvation. Devi is considered as the creator, protector, destructor, nature, power and Kundalini shakti. Chettikulangara devi is the supreme mother goddess, Shakthi devi in Hinduism. The temple has 13 “Karas”, or territories. The temple is at the centre of the oldest four Karas (Erezha South, Erezha North, Kaitha South and Kaitha North) and the rest of the Karas (Kannamangalam South, Kannamangalam North, Pela, Kadavoor, Anjilipra, Mattam North, Mattam South, Mynampally and Nadakkavu) surround the temple, which is believed to be 1,200 years old.
The Tantric rights of the temple belongs to Plackudy Illom, With its Tharavadu (Base) in Ambalapuzha. Plackudy is one among the ancient Tantric families of Kerala. The Present temple Tantric charge is for Brahmasri. Plackudy Unnikrishnan Namboothiri. Recently UNESCO collected details about the temple and its customs (Kuthiyottam, Kumbha Bharani) in order to examine whether the temple is eligible for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
This is the second largest temple in terms of income under the control of Travancore Devaswom Board, second only next to Sabarimala. It is estimated that the temple has earnings worth many crores per year. In 2009 it earned around 1.7 crore Rupees from a single type of offering called “Chanthattam”. A major part of the Nellu (whole rice grain) offered to the Bhagavathi is also used to make Appam and Aravana prasadam at Sabarimala. The income from the temple is also helpful to run the daily rituals and Poojas at various temples under the Travancore Devaswom Board. Kuthira Moottil kanji and Thekkummoottil kanji, are major offerings at Chettikulangara Devi temple, which received the Geographical Indication (GI) tags. Ten other names associated with the temple have been registered under the trademark and patents regime. These include Chettikulangara Amma, Chettikulangara Kumbha Bharani, Chettikulangara Kettukazhcha, Kuthiyottam, and Chooral Muriyal . The registration under the rules of protection of intellectual property rights has been made in the name of Sree Devi Vilasam Hindu Matha Convention, Chettikulangara, an organisation of 13 karas or regional societies. The organisation has also applied for design patent for kuthira and theru as well as jeevatha, the deity’s palanquin. There are Similar Kettukazhcha at various temples in this Onattukara Area. Kumbha Bharani festival of this temple is being attracted by lakhs of people every year.
There are many popular beliefs related to the origin of Chettikulangara temple. The most popular one is as follows. Many centuries ago, some local chieftains went to witness the annual festivities at the Koypallikarazhma Bhagavathi temple situated a few kilometers from Chettikulangara. The visitors were humiliated and ridiculed by the Kothapalli Karazhma temple authorities and the village chieftains there. Perturbed by the humiliation, and out of retribution, they decided to construct a Bhagavathi temple at Chettikulangara. People of Chettikulangara united for this cause, and headed by the Karanavars (Family Heads) of the four to five then leading families of the region decided to seek the blessings of Kodungallur Bhagavathi in this mission. They embarked on a pilgrimage visiting various temples en route and reached Kodungallur, and performed Bhajanam for 12 days to please the Goddess. It is said that the Devi came in their dreams to say that she would soon come to Chettikulangara. The next day, they happily returned to Chettikulangara with a sacred sword given by the Velichappadu of Kodungallur temple, and started civil works of the temple.
A few days later, while the kadathukaran (local boatman) of the nearby Karipuzha rivulet was winding up his work on a late evening, he heard an old woman requesting his help to ferry her to the other shore. He felt it was his duty to help this lonely lady, and decided to accompany her to Chettikulangara, the destination she was said to be heading for. On the way, they took rest beneath a wayside tree (the place now houses the Puthusserimala temple), and the Kadathukaran brought food for them from a nearby [mannan / washer man] house. Soon he fell asleep, and when he woke up by early daybreak, the lady had vanished. (It is said that this boatman was a Christian, and for helping Devi to ferry across the Karipuzha thodu, the descendants of his family were entrusted with the job of Vedi (ritual fireworks at the temple). He elaborated about this mysterious incident to the people of Chettikulangara, and they felt the Devi had reached Chettikulangara.
The next day, annual maintenance works on thatched roof was going on at the Illam (the traditional house where a community of Brahmins in central Kerala reside) adjacent to the present temple. While the Antharjanam of the house was serving the dishe of Kanji (Rice porridge) Muthira Puzhukku (a local special dish with ingredients of baked Horse Gram cereal and kneaded coconut) and Asthram (another side dish, a paste of different locally procured vegetables) for the workers, a strange old woman joined them for lunch. Soon after the food, the old lady moved to the western side of the house, and vanished in thin air with a bright glow. Antharjanam witnessed this, and she fell unconscious. Later she elaborated her experience to the people.
The same day, Devi showed her presence to the village chieftains. They approached famous astrologers, it was confirmed that the Bhagavathi had reached Chettikulangara.
According to one version, this temple was consecrated by Padmapadacharya (a leading disciple of Adi Shankara) on the Uthrattathi (Uttara Bhadrapada) day of Makara month in A.D. 823. There is a firm argument that the goddess here was a family deity, and later emerged as the village and regional deity. Local historians oppose the argument that the temple is not as ancient as the nearby Kandiyoor Mahadeva temple or Mavelikara Krishnaswamy temple as it had not been mentioned in Unnuneeli Sandesam written in the 14th century. According to late Kandiyoor Mahadeva Shasthri, Samudra Bandhan a leading courtier of Ravi Varman, an ancient King of Venad had visited this temple and wrote poems on Bhagavathi. Similarly, they argue that Aadithya Kulasekharan, the King of Venad (1374 A.D. to 1389 A.D.) also visited the Chettikulangara temple. In addition, one argument favours the notion that this Devi temple was an old kavu where Kadamattathachan Namboothiri, on his way to nearby panayannarkavu at parumala from Thevalakkara, tried to control a Yakshi (demon) and found no place to give her a stay. He came and prayed to the God and was able to control her. (she’s still there in the temple compound). However, it is to be said that the present Sreekovil of the temple is only 450–480 years old, and the Chuttambalam is not more than two centuries old. Local historians say that the temple infrastructure and the surroundings were developed by various local chieftains from time to time. The present Sreekovil was revamped during A.D.1540. Because of a small fire at this temple, the Chuttambalam was slightly modified during the Malayalam year 1002.
It is also believed that Chettikulangara Amma (the main deity) is the daughter of Kodungallur Amma, brought to that place for the well being of all people at Onattukara (Mavelikara). And it also says that some Chettyar families from Tamil Nadu was related to the name Chettikulangara.
Kuttanad is known as the granary of Kerala. Surrounded by paddy fields, backwaters and rivers, Kuttanad is very beautiful in its scenic view. Most of the people in Kuttanad are farmers. And life of the people in Kuttanad during olden days was in misery due to poverty, contagious diseases and flood. It was during that time St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara was born in Kainakary village on 10 February 1805. The Chavara family of Kuriakose and Mariam was showered with God’s blessings and Kuriakose was the third born. Even in the midst of all difficulties, children grew up in the shadow of their loving parents with real faith in God and love for others. For the virtuous life of Kuriakose his family was a real blessing from God. Few days after birth, Kuriakose was baptized in the parish church of Chennangari on 18 February 1805.
During that period of time Vechoor Church was one of the famous churches. Kuriakose Mother, Mariam, was a great devotee of the Holy Mother of Vechoor. Hence, she offered Kuriakose as a Marian servant under Vechoor Mother for protection at the very young age itself. The foundation of the present church in Vechoor was laid by Chavara Kuriakose Elias. During those days the method of teaching children at the home of the teacher (ashan) was very common. Children used to start their formal education from these teachers at their home. Kuriakose also started his formal education in ashan kalari at the age of five by writing on sand with a finger. Jesus was the best friend of Little Kuriakose. It was his mother who taught him the preliminary lessons in prayer.
One day instinctively Malpan Thomas Palakkal of Pallipuram Seminary came to Chavara family. The polite manners like Kuriakose drew the attention of Malpan. Malpan asked Little Kuriakose “Would you like to be a priest?” Little Kuriakose replied “Definitely Father.” His parents were sad to send him to the seminary, but they obliged to the wish of their son. Kuriakose started living with the Vicar of Channagiri Church and started to learn Holy Bible and the basics of Syriac language. For a year he stayed in the church and then as he realized that God’s will is to become priest. At the age of 11 years he bid farewell to his family and continued his studies at Pallipuram seminary. Under the pious, learned and wise teacher, Malpan Thomas, Kuriakose started to learn by heart the teachings of the Church and the reflections of Saints. He had a number of classmates at Pallipuram seminary. Kuriakose received his minor orders from the Vicar Apostolic of varapuzha. While in the seminary, the painful news of the death of beloved mother, father and brother reached Kuriakose. This made him very sad. His relatives took him home and did not allow him to go back to the seminary. Since he was the only male left in the family his relatives wanted him to marry for the continuation of the family. But Kuriakose was not ready to change his mind. He wanted to go back to the seminary. The relatives kept Kuriakose at home only without allowing him to go to the seminary. For several days he sat at home and kept praying to Mother Mary with a painful heart for the fulfillment of his desire. He then asked his elder sister and husband in Edathua to come and stay in Chavara family. He requested his sister to take responsibility of the whole family for him. He also handed her over the responsibility of his brother’s children and left for seminary. After returning to the seminary, Kuriakose was fully engaged in studies and preparation for priesthood. On November 29th 1829, Deacon Kuriakose received priesthood from Bishop Marelius Stabalini in Arthunkal Church. The solemn first Mass was celebrated in his home parish, Chennangari Church.
Sree Jain Shwetambar Temple in Alleppey is a place of worship for Jains in the southern Indian state of Kerala. It was important in the growth of Jainism in South India. It is situated at the Northeast side of the Muppalam at the famous Gujarati Street in Alleppey town. The temple was built by members of the forty two Jain families brought from the Kutch district of Gujarat. They were brought to Alleppey over a hundred years ago during the reign on Dewan Raja Kesavadas for the industrial development of the township of Alleppey. There are two shrines, one over 100 years old and the newer one was built nearly 22 years ago. The temple has an important role in the socio-economic culture of Alleppey. A trust elected from the 24 Jain families that currently reside in Alleppey looks after the administrative affairs of the temple. There are only 14 Jain families currently residing in Alleppey and it is this temple that act as their community’s spiritual center, closely observing and following Jain rites, tradition and rituals and the street commonly known as Gujarati Street.
the Jain temple in Alleppey undoubtedly has its charm and poignant style. Unlike many other Jain temples in Kerala, Alleppey Jain Temple has a very distinct and definitive architectural grandeur and style. It is the only such Jain Temple in Kerala that did not use iron to build and also to flaunt a dome atop. The temple was carefully built using Rajasthan Stones and White Marbles to make it charmingly attractive without losing its spiritual implications. One of the striking features of the temple is that it houses numerous frescos or figurines carved from single marble pieces. Though Jain temples have a definitive architectural style, it has taken inspirations from local architectural styles and it is very visible at the Jain temple in Alleppey. It was on 21 February 1994 that the temple has been restored to the style that it parades today. One can observe the statues of four “Tirthankaras” in the temple and it has been arranged to provide maximum view for the devotees who come to worship at the temple. The statue of the 12th Tirthankara Vasupujya Swami is placed at the center and the statues of the 15th Tirthankara Swami Dharmananda and the 11th Tirthankara Swami Shreyansnath have been placed at the right and left sides of the statue of Tirthankara Vasupujya Swami. At the top floor of the temple, the statue of the 23rd Tirthankara Parshvanatha Swami can be observed as well. This statue is unearthed in Kuttanad which is a great reminiscence of the growth of Jainism in ancient Kerala. Jain followers are really particular about using a rosary to pray called Japamala “Jain prayer beads” and these are made of special threads. A blessed “Japamala” is placed at the center of the temple which can be observed by the devotees.
Jains have a very strict and particular code of rituals and rites and it is imperative that these rituals and rites are observed by everyone in the community strictly without any fail whatsoever. Everyday “Sinatra Pooja” aka “Snatra Puja” is conducted for around one and half hours which is believed to bring spiritual sanctity and nirvana to their lives. The festival of their temple is called “Parva paryushan” and the same is conducted once every year. The festival lasts for eight days and it is usually celebrated in the month of August–September. During the festival, many acharyas from Gujarat come to the temple. They also have the habitual ritual of reading the history of the 24 Tirthankara at the temple, during the festival. During the Jain festival, there are no concrete norms for fasting and meditating and this is a rather surprising side of Jainism. The followers have the freedom to carry out prayers and fasting according to their capacity and desires. Jain followers are pure vegetarians “Jain vegetarianism” and they are forbidden from consuming alcohol. Those who consume meat and alcohol are strictly prohibited from entering the premises of the temple. Though they are vegetarians, they also do not consume anything that grows underground. Their religious belief emphasizes that they must only eat such food that grows above the ground getting a lot of sunlight. For adherents of Jainism, attaining ‘moksha’ is the fundamental purpose of living. Their life is considered to be a means to reach or attain salvation. There is also a pilgrim house near the temple where Jain pilgrims can stay and offer ‘puja’ (worship).
Karumadikuttan , literally means the little black boy or the boy from Karumadi. Let’s give you a bit of history. This statue is said to date back to somewhere between 9th and 14th century AD. History tells us that the statue remained abandoned for many years in a nearby stream named Karumady thodu until it was discovered by Sir Robert Bristow, a British engineer in 1930, who built the shrine to preserve the relic. What grabs your attention when you see the statue for the first time is that, it is entirely broken on its left side. And yes, there are lores that explain this phenomenon. Ironically enough, though the statue of Buddha is in a meditative and peaceful stance, it was rather violently destroyed by a Mughal emperor. This was done in order to put a stop to the slow and steady creeping in of Buddhism in Kerala at the time. Another famous lore among the locals is that the statue was broken apart after an angry elephant went surging in, demolishing it. This is a paradox to the frequently eulogized story about Buddha’s birth. Buddha’s mother, Maya, dreamt of an elephant before giving birth to her son. She, however, considered it to be a good sign as elephant is a symbol of greatness. Whatever be the story, Karumadikuttan is a mute testimony of a violent past. It faces the Punnamada lake and is protected by a pagoda that is believed to have been built by Dalai Lama during his visit to Karumadi. Though it was declared as a protected monument by the Archaeology Department under the Kerala Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1968, the site remained neglected till last year. But now, due to the efforts of Karumadikuttans a forum set up to look after the shrine the Archeology Department has sanctioned Rs 15.67 lakhs for the renovation of its premises. The renovation works that included the construction of a resting shed for visitors, granite footpath, security cabin, compound wall, lighting facility and information counter, were all completed within a span of time that would have made Sir Robert Bistro very proud.
Kanichukulangara Temple is a famous temple of mother goddess Bhagavathi. The temple is located near Cherthala in Alappuzha district of Kerala. The main festival is celebrated on the day of “Thiruvonam” in the Malayalam month “Kumbham”. The temple is famous for ‘Chhikara’, ‘Pongala’, ‘Thooka Chadu’ and Fireworks. The temple is 8 km away from Cherthala and 18 km away from Alappuzha.
The history of ancient institution can be known from myths. The case of Kanichukulangara Devi temple is not distinct. There is a saying in the myth that “Aravukattamma Arinnu vannu Kandamagalathamma kandu vannu, Kanichukulangara Amma kalichu vannu”. Later Kanichukulangara came to be known as Kanichukulangara. Its said that, “Kanichukulangara amma came by playing in a ship”.When Devi reached this place which is related (coastal) to sea the ship wrecked and a Namboodiri installed the Devi in its current position. The ruins of the wrecked ship is said to be seen in the big pond at eastern side of the temple. The current ‘Thakil’ is obtained from this pond. Some antique properties were obtained when cleaning the aged pond recently. The pond is being protected by constructing a wall around it since there is an unbroken relationship between the pond and the Devi. The ‘Arattu’ is being performed in this pond. These are the myth known in this village.
During 1773-90 when Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan invaded Malabar, the Hindus migrated to South Kerala. When the invasion spread to south the immigrants found it more safe around this area which was under Venad. The Namboodiris migrated by carrying their ‘Upasana Moorthies’ along with them. History states that they came through seaways and roadways. Those who came through sea reached here due to shipwreck and installed their upsanamoorthi devi here which they carried along with them. After the invasion of Tipu when peace was established some migrants returned back to their native place. But those Namboothiris who inhabited this Kanichukulangara never returned back. This is the History behind Kanichukulangara. Karapuram is the place formed as a result of sea retreat. The ship in which the devi came wrecked and its ruins are there in the pond, and devi cane by playing these myths can be related with history like this. The temple was donated by the namboothiri who installed Devi. The Namboothiri’s house was nearby the temple. There were only two brothers in the family. The responsibilities of the temple activities were on the shoulder of elder Namboothiri. Towards the south-west part of the temple there was an ezhava family named “Kunjan Veedu”. The was a beautiful lady Chechiyamma who visited the temple daily with great devotion. The beauty of Chechiyamma broke the hearts of Shanti Namboothiri. Their meetings made them fall in love with each other. Chechiyamma became pregnant. This news made the Namboodiri caste to ban the Shanti Namboothiri. The Shanti Namboothiri willed the temple and its properties to Chakiyamma before leaving Kanichukulangara.
The younger Namboothiri committed suicide by drowning the big pond on knowing this truth. The broken hearted Chechiyamma died due to childbirth. The child also dead in its birth. Thus the temple and its properties came to hands of Chakiyamma’s family “Kumarthusheri”. The elder person of this family took over the management of temple and job of Shanti as well. This generation knows only its forefathers as up to Narayana Kumar. Their management of temple was controlled by two ezhava families named Padavoor and Pudukad, and three Nair families named Aykara, Mazhuvakad and Attakuzhikad. After the death of Ikara Karnavar this position came on the hands of Parakulangara which was family related to them. The ritual of informing Padakulagara family at their home before the Kodiyettu of the festival that’s on the first of Makaram by the temple Santhi and others are continued uptil now. This is a proof of equivalence and unity prevailed during an era of dominance of discrimination and untouchability between castes.
After reign of Narayana Kumar (Shanti is Known as Komar), Adhtikutti Komar performed “Jeernodhara” in Malayalam Calender year 1088. After this the temple started developing. Then the people demanded that they wanted the right to rule the temple. Finally it resulted in a deal of handing over the temple an its belongings to the people. In the calendar year 1098 Sri.Acho John who was christian in Charankattu lead this. The services he rendered in participating everyone and making a deal come into action among people who had no much awareness or experience in public activities is to be honoured always. The deal has an effect if there is three meetings held and clauses are read and accepted. The members were given a notice to be present at 11 a.m. for the first general meeting. Acho John was present before 11 a.m. at the temple. It was 3 p.m. when the members were all present for the meeting. This an example for how irresponsible in public affairs.
Mura Oath is the main ritual of the temple which is performed every 12 years.Mura Oath was first performed in the Calendar year 1096.It is a programme of 41 days. For the prosperity of temple and its people rituals like “Para Kotti Pattu by Kuravar”, “Kolam (theyyam) Thullal of kanhaiya’s”,”kalamezhuthu pattu of Pulapulluvar and Pulluvar”,and Homam by the Thantri’s are performed one by one. One of our ancient temple rituals ‘Velapadayanni’ which was not modified and tempted to become violent later, made the committee to wish to change a special General meeting was held in 1975. There was a special notice which stated that “Discuss and decide to stop Vela Padayani and replacing it with Arattu-utsavam “.The General meeting was held in the presence of R.D.O of Alappuzha. There was a strong opposition. Vela Padayani was stopped on the basis of majority and Arattu was accepted in its place. On the southern part, around the middle at the eastern side there is pond which resembles a well surrounded by pineapple plant and bamboos. This is where then Devi is believed to be reside. Centuries ago when a pleasant lady touched Kaitha the devi ordered it to become useless and the kaitha transformed from having 3 rows of pines to more rows of pines. Lots of people come to see this rare pond which is now protected by the surrounding wall. During Madala Utsavam and Thiru Utsavam, Thalappoli used to come to the temple from both Cheruvaarum.
The thalappoli from the South Cheruvarum comes from family of Padavoor and Daivathusseri, and that of Northern Cheruvarum comes from Chakanad and Pudukad family. These talapoli when arrives at the temple premises the management welcomes it using vadyagosham and takes it devi sannidhi. All the inhabitants will take part in this eve. The renovation of the aged part of the temple was found in the fortune (Ashtamangala Prasnam). There was suggestion for building a 3 storeyed temple on the current area. The decision for building a three storeyed building which was designed by the famous Thachushastraknjanan (traditional kerala architect) Sri.Unnikandan Achari was taken. For that a purpose a renovation committee was organised. The renovation was completed on schedule using Teak wood and bronze in order to perform installation as scheduled.
The installation was done on January 20 1997 by Brahmasri Paravoor Sreedharan Thanthri. Kanichukulangara Devi temple not only concentrates on temple activities but also on the development of the village and its people from its beginning. Concerning the illiteracy an English Medium School was started with 12 students in 1099. The school grown up into two big High schools in the premises of the temple today. The activities of temple also include helping poor people for education, health, marriage, death etc. Its also provide loans in less interest. They also run a home nursing school. The temple is managed by a committee under the leadership of Sri. Vellapally Nadeshan for the last 33 years. The temple has achieved great progress and gains under various crisis. Modernisation and making the festivals attractive were achieved. There is great alertness in entire development of the village and its people.
Kidangamparambu Sree Bhuvaneswari Temple is one of the ancient and primordial shrines in Kerala. The presence of the mighty goddess Sree Bhuvaneswari Devi makes the temple prominent radiant and lustrous. Thousands of devotees get relieved from their troubles and mess here. The temple has a majestic Rajagopuram or Vimanam which is not found anywhere in Kerala other than Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram. Here Devi lends her hand to all devotees irrespective of their cast gender and nationality. She is also well-known as bhaktadaasi which means the maid of devotees.
Marthanda Varma the mighty king of Venadu assaulted Chempakassery and marched to invade Kochi. On this course the troop camped near a trench at the northern end of Chempakassery. There, was a wood with thorny hedges and the armed forces used this area as their lavatory.But eventually some members of the militia affected smallpox and the soothsayers supposed that the troops contaminated a holy temple buried underground. The generous king was ready to give his price. He once again invited astrologers and they said that there was a temple underground and a powerful divinity’s place of abode was contaminated by the soldiers. When the king’s people dug the place they could find the remnants of an ancient temple beneath. As guided by the astrologers, the king ordered to build a new temple there and one called Thyvelikkakathu Aryan came forward to undertake the job. 65.5 paras of paddy field and a lot of land was presented tax free to meet daily expenses. A marvelous temple was constructed and enquiries were made of the earlier possessors of the temple. The vellala pillas of the region alleged that a group of Namboothiris were there about seven centuries back and they worshipped a powerful deity whose temple was found beneath. Moreover information they got was ,in due course a group of Brahmins left the place and others merged in devi herself. Many years after the departure of the Brahmins, a toddy tapper who was a devotee of devi found a wooden stool in the temple premises He cut off the hedges around it and began to light a metal lamp there. When he became aged began to travel to many lands like a saint. But he reached to light the lamp before devi at the first day of each Malayalam month.This saint like toddy tapper is known as Bhanda Sanyasi. Eventually Bhanda Sanyasi also merged with devi and once again the old temple became deserted.
After many years a devotee called Veluppillai reached there and began to worship Devi. This lasted till his death and after that once again the temple was left dumped All these facts were derived from Vellala Pillai. The king’s people enquired whether any title-holders of Bhand Sanyasi or Veluppillai is alive. But they could find none. So the temple and the surrounding areas were given to a group of landlords of the vicinity. But these landlords misused and sold off the precious assets of the temple and at last the administration of the temple was vested with Tayyil Ayyaru Kochupanicker. In 1084 K.E the administration came to a local body and in 1100 K.E, Nellikka Parambil Mr. Venki became the president of the Kshethra Yoga or temple committee.
In due course advocate K M Krishnan took his charge as president and Shri Vacheyil Kochu Kutty turned to be the secretary and Shri Charan contractor became the treasurer. With their hard slog, they paid off the temples debts with the cooperation of the general public and regained the properties of the temple which were entertained by others. They are responsible for the construction of the Guru Mandiram in the temple. The admirable services of the following presidents Parambil Shri Velayudhan Muthalali and Shri Kelamangalam Shri V K Damodaran are memorable. Shri V K Damodaran regained the properties and renovated the old temple. More over the granite sreekovil, Chuttambalam, Aana kottil ect were also constructed during his period.
This temple is one of the rare temples in Kerala with Shadadhara prathista which provides the devotees affluence, wealth and prosperity. In 1981 this temple is registered in accordance with Thirukochi Charity Scientific & Charitable Societies Act. L P School, nursery teacher training centre.printing press, shopping complex, womens hostel ect. are run by the temple trust. The sculpture rich Seevelippura of this temple is extraordinary. The benevolence of these sculptures is admired by thousands of devotees and general public. Elements of Lord Krishna’s birth, life history and swargarohana are depicted attractively in these sculptures. The anakottil is decorated with beautiful oil paintings whose topics are from the epic Ramayana.
Mr K.Sankaran Kalarikkal set up the Bhadrakali temple, Navagraha temple and Sree Krishna temple with the blessings of devotees. And he is the visionary who set up Shankaracharya and Sree Narayana Guru Bhuvaneswari shopping complex and the Kanaka jubilee Mandir. Kothakulam was put in place by Mr Mani Kandathil and the second floor of Kalarikal Sankaran Complex was also constructed by him . The now serving president Shaji Kalarikkal renovated the Siva Temple and Erected an ornamental brass flag mast in front of the shrine of Bhadrakali. His further efforts are the brass metal covering of the Mukha Mandapam of Bhagavathi temple, Bhadrakali temple and Sree Krishna temple. Renovation of working women’s hostel and re coloring of the Rajagopuram art gallery are also his crown feathers.
Mararikulam Mahadeva temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located in Mararikulam, Alappuzha. This is one of the most famous ancient temples located in this region. The temple is believed to be almost 700 years ago. it is believed that Vilwamangalam Swami built this famous temple. Sri Mahadevan has been called, Marari, the killer of Cupid. This is the only temple where Sri Mahadevan and Sri Parvathi Devi are present face to face. The temple has a specialty ‘this was where the famous Arattu took place in the sea’. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is worshipped by devotees from far and wide. It is said to grant the wishes of the devotees that pray with full devotion. There are two deities of Lord Shiva that are worshipped in this temple and they are known as Vadakkanappan and Thekkanappan. The temple is also known for some of the best architecture of its time. This is one of the most famous ancient temples located in this region. During the festival days, thousands of devotees are attracted towards the temples where they come to seek the holy blessings of the Lord.
Annual festival of this festival starts on Malayalam month Kumbham (February). It is a 10 days spectacular event. There will be a flag hoisting ceremony marking the beginning of the festival. The shrine is traditionally decorated with plantain, coconut leaves, flowers, leaves, traditional lamps and lights. There will be special poojas and offerings during the festival period. Also annadanam on all days. Traditional performing arts like Kathakali, Chakyar Koothu, Nangyar Koothu, Villadichan Pattu, Harikatha, Kadhaprasangam, etc; music and dance are staged during the period. Caparisoned elephants, melam, fireworks and sheevali are part of the festival. On the 10th day by evening 06:00 Pm Arattu (holy bath) ceremony starts. The utsava murti of the deity is taken out of the shrine for ritual bathing on the final day. The temple has a specialty the famous Arattu took place in the sea. After Arattu there will be an Arattu procession covering the major part of the town. Caparisoned elephants, melam and percussion music are part of the ritual.
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