Monday, 19 May 2014

Ambalappuzha Festival Its Importance and Cultural Manifesto

Ambalappuzha is small town in the in Alleppey in the Indian state of Kerala in Southern India. 
Well known for its famous Sri Krishna Temple, Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple is one among the three important temples dedicated to Lord Krishna.

Believed to be built in the ruler Chembakasserry Pooradam Thirunal-Devanarayanan Thampuran, in the year 790 M.E, the temple has a legend and is directly associated to the famous Guruvayoor Temple Sri Krishna.

Coming to the point of Ambalappuzha Festival, it is celebrated in commemoration of bringing of the idol to Ambalappuzha Temple from Guruvayur, for safe keeping. In the year 1789 the idol was brought to this temple in order to keep it safe from the raids of Tipu Sultan.

When is the Festival Celebrated
Ambalappuzha Festival is celebrated with great gaiety and delight.  The festival is celebrated every year on the Moolom day of the Mithunam month of the Malayalam era.

Legend of the Festival 
The legend of the Festival is quite interesting and it goes in this way. Lord Krishna once appeared in the form of Sage in the court of the King and he challenged him in the game of chess. King being an enthusiastic chess lover, he agreed and accepted the challenge of the sage. But before that the prize of the chess winner was to be decided and King asked the Sage to ask the prize in case if he won the game. Sage has a modest demand and he asked the king being a man of few material needs, he just wanted few grains of rice. The amount of the rice would be determined using the board of the chess. One grain of the rice would be placed in the first square, two grains in the second, four in the third, eight in the four square and so on. Every square will have double the number of rice grains of its predececssor. Looking at the mere demand of the safe, the King was quite unhappy as the Sage asked only few grains apart from the other riches from the Kingdoms, which the king could have happily donated. The kind asked the Sage to add more to the prize, if he wins, but the sage did not agreed. As the game of chess proceeded, the King lost the game. He started to add rice to each square as agreed and when he added he realised the sage demand. Once he reached the 20th square, the number has reached one millions grains of rice and by the 40th square it became one million million. The royal granary soon ran out of rice and even after adding all the rice of the royal granary and the adjacent kingdom, he would not be able to fulfill the demand of the sage as promised. Looking at the dilemmea of the King, the sage came in his true-form, i.e. Lord Krishna. Lord asked the king, that he does not have to pay the debt at one time, he can pay it over time, but till the time the debt is paid, he has to serve Paal Payasam to the pilgrims who visit the temple every day for free.

Even today, if you visit the temple you will get pudding made of rice and milk in Ambalappuzha Shree Krishna Temple.