Ambalapuzha is best known for its Sree Krishna Temple which is believed to have been built in the fifteenth century. The deity is worshipped as Unnikrishnan (child Krishnan). It is 14 km from Alapuzha. By road, the distance is covered in 26 minutes. Trains take 12 minutes. Kochi International airport is 96 km from Ambalapuzha (2h30m).
The temple built in the traditional Kerala architectural style. The walls are white washed and the sloping roof is covered in copper. The Sreekovil (Sanctum Sanctorum) has no windows. Only the priests are allowed to enter. The Sreekovil is within the four walls of the Nalambalam. The outer structure within the temple walls is known as Chuttuambalam. The well near the temple is used exclusively for pooja and rituals.
Near the temple are many shops selling pooja material and curios.
Next to the temple is a big pond. Devotees are expected to wash their feet and hands before entering he temple.
It is believed that the popular Malayalam poet Kunjan Nambiar created the art form of Ottam Thullal in the premises of Ambalappuzha Temple. The Mizhavu (a big copper drum used as a percussion instrument in performing arts) used by Kunjan Nambiar is still maintained within an enclosure in the Koothambalam at the temple.
The Kodimaram (flag post) has a core of specially treated teak. It is covered with gold foil. A flag is hoisted at the time of temple festivals.
The prasadam of the temple is Palpayasam. It is famous for its distinctive pink colour as well as wonderful taste. The milk for the payasam is obtained from the temple’s own goshalas. The prasadam is distributed in one-litre containers after the poojas get over at noon.
Pre-booking of the Palpayasam is possible. Devotees can book the payasam by sending a money order to The Administrator, Ambalapuzha Devaswom, SH 12, Ambalapuzha 688561, Kerala. Phone: 0477 227 2090.
The outer walls of the Nalambalam have several rows of oil lamps. They are lit up at night on festival days. It is a spectacular sight.
You can see paintings of the Dashavatharam (the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu) on the inner walls of the Nalambalam.
Ambalapuzha Arattu is the main festival at the temple. It is observed for ten days during the Malayalam month of Meenam (March – April). An important feature of the temple festival is the Velakali which is a unique martial dance form.
Champakulam Boat Race is held on the Prathista Day (idol installation day) of Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple.
Temple festivals in Kerala are perhaps incomplete without caparisoned elephants. The elephant Ambalapuzha Ramachandran was famous. His sculpture has been erected on the temple grounds.
Temple timings are 3:00 am to 12:00 noon and 5:00 to 8:00 pm.