Ambalappuzha is a small town in the Alappuzha district of Kerala state, south India. It is located 14 km south of Alappuzha which is the district headquarters and is renowned for Sri Krishna Temple. The Ambalappuzha Sri Krishna Temple is believed to have been built during 15th – 17th AD by the local ruler Chembakasserry Pooradam Thirunal-Devanarayanan Thampuran.

The idol of Krishna is popularly known as Unnikannan (child Krishna). at Ambalapuzha and is likened to Parthasarthi with a whip in the right hand and a Shankhu (sacred conch) in the left. The idol of Krishna here is carved out of black granite stone.

This temple is directly associated to the Guruvayoor Sree Krishna Temple. 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. It was kept safely for 12 years.

The payasam served in the Ambalappuzha Temple is famous among Hindu devotees. This sweet pudding made of rice and milk has an interesting mythological legend behind it. It is believed that Guruvayoorappan reaches daily at this temple to have Palpayasa Nedyam.


It is believed that once upon a time Lord Krishna appeared in the form of sage in front of the king who ruled during that time and challenged him to play chess. Being a chess enthusiast, King accepted the challenge of god. Before playing the game, Sage asked the king to offer him a grain of rice if he won the game and each square would double the grain of rice. King was agreed with it happily and at last, Lord Krishna won the game and the king was happy to give the grain of rice but soon he understood the reason of asking to double the grain of rice on each square and then he doubled the grain of 20th square and he understood his realm has run out of the rice.

Upon seeing the dilemma, the sage appeared to the king in his true-form, that of God Krishna. He told the King that he did not have to pay the debt immediately but could pay him over time. The king would serve pal-payasam (made of rice) in the temple freely to the pilgrims every day until the debt was paid off.


The Amabalapuzha Temple Festival was established during the fifteenth century A.D. During that time, a part of the Travancore was ruled by the Chembakassery Devanarayana Dynasty. The rulers of this dynasty were highly religious and decided that an idol of Lord Krishna was to be brought to the Amabalapuzha Sree Krishna Swamy Temple from the Karinkulam temple. The celebration in commemoration of the bringing of this idol of Lord Krishna is the origin of the Amabalapuzha Temple Festival, also referred to as the Chambakulam Moolam water festival. This festival is conducted every year on the Moolam day of the Mithunam month of the Malayalam era.

The Aaraattu festival commences with the flag hoisting ceremony on the Atham star in Meenam (March–April). The important Aaraattu festival takes place on the Thiruvonam day of the same month. In this temple ‘Pallipana’ is performed by ‘Velans’ (sorcerers) once in twelve years. Human sacrifice was conducted in ancient times. However, cocks have now replaced humans on the sacrificial altar.

Champakulam Boat Race is held on the Prathista day (idol installation day) of Ambalapuzha Sreekrishnan idol in the temple.

Interesting Facts about Ambalapuzha Temple 

The temple is associated with the birth of famous performing art form of Kerala – Ottamthullal. It is believed that legendary Malayalam poet Kalakkaththu Kunchan Nambiar gave birth to this unique art form in the Ambalappuzha Temple premises. The Mizhavu (a big copper drum used as a percussion instrument in performing arts) used by Kunjan Nambiar is still preserved in an enclosure in the temple.

Thunjathu Ezhuthachan, who is considered as the father of Malayalam language, is believed to have penned Adhyatma Ramayanam Kilippattu (a translation of the Ramayana and Mahabharatham) in the temple.




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