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Last Updated Sunday September 24 2017 08:44 AM IST

The strange story of the Ambalam Kathi Ulsavam at Sree Poornathrayeesha Temple

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The strange story of the Ambalam Kathi Ulsavam at Sree Poornathrayeesha Temple

From the birth of gods to burning of temples, celebrations and commemorations are a way of life in Kerala. The ambalam kathi ulsavam at Poornathrayeesha Temple at Thrippunithura, is a unique festival and as the word signifies, commemorates the fire which engulfed this ancient temple in the 1920s.  Before we tell you about this festival, we give you a byte of the legend

Temple legend

sree purnnathraeesha temple thrippunithura.

The temple is, without a doubt, one of the most ancient temples in Kerala. It is said that Lord Krishna, the presiding deity here, is worshiped as Santhana Gopala Moorthy. The idol, it is said, was gifted to Arjuna by the lord himself. 

In the early 1920s, the temple was burned down due to an accidental fire. The devotees managed to save the idol and it was placed in one of the palaces of the raja of Kochi. 

The temple was redesigned after this incident and rebuilt. Much of this structure is what you see today.  

Ambalam Kathi Ulsavam

Is a unique festival which is observed to commemorate this incident. Thousands of devotees gather at the temple on this special day which falls on the 9th day of the Malayalam month of Thulam (October 25, 2016). After the evening 'deeparadhana', they set fire to camphor arranged around the temple. All the lamps are lit and it gives off a feeling that the entire temple is on fire. Then the deity is taken out in a procession and installed in the temple after pujas. 

However, this is not the only festival in this temple. The vrishchikolsavam, which is in late November is the main festival at this temple. 

Reaching the temple

The temple is situated at the heart of Thrippunithura town, which is about 9kms away from Ernakulam.

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