Friday, 25 May 2018

Thirupalkadal Sri Krishna temple. one of the oldest in Kerala

Thirupalkadal Sri Krishna temple. en.wikipedia.org
Thirupalkadal Sri Krishna temple.FindMessages.com
In Kerala, there are many Sri Krishna temples, one of the famous temples among them is Sree Krishna Temple in Keezhperoor. Located near  Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, India,  it is one of the oldest temples in this state. It also goes by the name of Sri Krishnaswami temple. It is believed that Kulashekhara Azhwar, (seventh in the line of the twelve Azhwars) is believed to have  been instrumental  in building the temple.  The Ay Family ruled (their dynasty lasted from 3rd BCE to 1200 CE; their land extended from Thiruvall in the north to Nagacoil in the south) this  place  over during the Sangam period and the kingdom and the family 
later came to be known as Venad Keezhperoor Swaroopam. Their primary deity was  Sri Krishna - Thirupalkadal Bhattarakar. The temple is known as Adikulakovil of Ay kingdom  and is one of the 108 principal Divya Desam ("Holy Abodes") shrines in Vaishnavism, glorified in the early medieval Tamil literature canon (Nalayera Divya Prabhandam) of the Tamil Azhwar  saints (6th–9th centuries AD). This shrine happens to be one among  the 14 Divya Desam in Malai Nadu (present-day Kerala and Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu).

This ruling class was known by  different names - Venad, 'Thiruvadi' and 'Thiruvithamkur'; the latter  corrupted into Travancore.  It was in the  9th century AD temple renovation was undertaken by the Venad King Vallabhan Kotha of Keezhperoor Illam. The merger of the Chera dynasty based at Mahodayapuram with the Ays of Vizhinjam gave rise to the Keezhperoor Swaroopam. Ay royal family of Keezhperoor illam finally in the 12th century handed over the administration to the Uralar Sabha a council consisting of Brahmins and Madambi Nairs in the ratio 8:2. The council was formed by by Sri Vira Udayamarttanda Varman Tiruvadi, Ilayaguru of Venad. The king grated the village  of Kilimanoor with the forests, arable lands, etc and from the revenue the management had to run the temple, take care of puja protocols, daily expenses, festivals  feeding of Brahmins, etc. 

Soon after India's independence, much of the temple lands held on lease were transferred to the lessee and this adversely affected the functioning of the temple. As no revenue was forthcoming, major puja rituals were stopped due to financial constants.   In 1980's 3200 Ambikavilasam  Karayogam got ownership from Uralars and earnestly began the renovation work. In 2012 His Highness Uthradom Thirby Sri Vira Udayamarttandavarman Tiruvadi, revealed the long association of the  Travancore Royal family with Thirupalkadal Sreekrishnaswamy Temple. Following the conduct of an Ashtamangala Devaprasnam and Murajapam at the temple in 2015,  temple committee conducted  a 12-day pooja as prescribed  in the Devaprasnavidhi. This was done  in the presence of   Thantri Thekkedath Kuzhikkattillathu Vasudevan Bhattathirippadu.

The main idol in the sanctum - Sri Kovil is Vishnu  with four arms, carrying the conch Panchajanya (Turbinella pyrum), the discus Sudarshana Chakra, the mace Kaumodaki and a lotus with a Holy basil garland. The consorts are Bhoo Devi and Sri Devi.

This  temple design follows the  the ancient Dravidian tradition  with the presence of Lord Brahma and Lord Siva in the outer wall of circular shaped Garbhagriha (sanctum), which embodies  the presence of Parabrahmam. The roof of the sanctum has 36 rafters made into 12 wooden pieces, representing the 12 Rasis which when multiplied by 3 (the number representing the Hindu Trimurti - Trinity gods) equals 108 which is the number of peethas of Adi Parashakti. It is also believed that the Kollam Era started with the renovation of this temple.


The temple complex has other features native to Kerala temple design tradition such as Koothampalam (for conducting Kerala's traditional dances, etc) on an elevated platform, a large  Anakkottil (shed for elephants),  Belikkallu (meant for sacrifices) near the temple entrance, Namaskara Mandapam (where devotees prostrate before the deity) with wooden pilasters on four sides and  four stone pillars with two facing the sopanam carrying stone carvings. The granite sopnam connecting the Srikovil has six steps. The square shaped  sanctum has a roof with copper plate. There are well carved images of Shiva with Parvathi Devi sitting on his lap, a small Ganesha, Muruga and reclining Nandi.
It is a popular Vaishnavite Shrine and is being visited lots of people from other states as well, in particular, Tamil Nadu.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirupalkadal_Sreekrishnaswamy_Temple