Pureprayer is presenting a journey to Sri Krishna Kshetras across the country during the occasion of Sri Krishna Janmashtami. Let’s embark on SpiRitual Journeys reciting Sri Vishnu Sahasranaamam (Meaning: One thousand names) who took the Avatar (Meaning: Form) of Sri Krishna and seek his grace and benevolence.
Where is Hungry Krishna’s temple?
Sri Thiruvarppu Sri Krishna temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu’s Avatar is in Thiruvarppu village near Kottayam in God’s own country of Kerala (Co-Ordinates: 9.579466, 76.474009) about 150 km from Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala. It is at distance of fifteen minute drive (7 km) from Kottayam.
What is special about Hungry Krishna’s temple?
This temple is famous for keeping the Lord happy and satiated with Naivedyam being offered ten times in a day. This is fifteenth Century, old Uruli Sri Krishna temple. This temple is open almost 24/7. Even during the eclipse, the temple is kept open, lest Lord Krishna is hungry. Every day, after the Abhishekam is performed, only Lord’s face and head is wiped dry and offered food through Naivedyam first. Rest of the body is wiped dry later.
What is the legend of Krishna’s hunger?
The belief here is that, after vanquishing Kamsa, the lord was very tired and hungry. Hence, it is an important practice to offer ‘Naivedyam’ ten times a day.
How the practice came to existence is equally, intriguing.
Once, the temple was closed during eclipse. When the sanctum door of the temple was reopened after the eclipse, they found that the waistband had slipped down. It was concluded that, hunger was the reason behind this cause. Thenceforth, the authorities decided that the temple would not be closed event during eclipse and arrived at the schedule of Naivedyam.
Preparedness of the temple authorities to feed the Lord in time can be explained through this. The priest even carries an axe along with the keys, to break open the door in the event, the keys fail to work. The first Naivedyam is offered in the wee early hours at 3 am and is known as ‘UshaH Payasam’.
Who installed Hungry Krishna?
How the idol of Lord Krishna was found and how he came to be called Uruli Krishna is another interesting incident.
A saint was travelling in a boat in this region and all of a sudden, his boat became immobile. When they checked for the cause, the idol of Krishna was discovered in a bell-metal basin refered to as ‘Uruli’ in Kerala, blocking the movement of the boat. The saint wanted to proceed west in the river. However, the boat would only move to the east taking the route of Kunnam and Pallikkara. Finally, the idol reached the present site.
Even now, it is a customary practice by the priest, to enquire if any devotee is from Chertalai is hungry and not received Prasadam before the closure of the temple for those couple of minutes in the night.
What is the Cherthalai connection to Hungry Krishna?
There is another story behind this that takes us to Dwapara Yuga and to the times of Pandavas. When Pandavas were forced to dwelling in the forest as per Duryodhan’s orders, on account of Yudhishthira losing the betting, Lord Krishna gave them his idol with four hands and provided the Akshaya Patra, so they could always be in company of Lord and offer worship daily. When Pandavas completed their ‘Vanavas’ (residing in forest) and went back, the dwellers of the forest-region requested that Krishna’s image be given to them. This was worshipped by the people of Cherthalai. This image was lost, in the course of time and is believed to have been recovered by an unknown saint.
Some say it was Sri Padmapadacharya, a disciple of Sri Adi Shankaracharya that found the image. However, this has not been clearly recorded.
What festivals are celebrated at Hungry Krishna Temple?
First ten days of Medam month (occurring during April-May) of Malayalam calendar is celebrated in a big way here. Girls below the age of nine years dress up as Krishna and offer lighted lamps morning and evening. On the tenth day, when sunrays enter the sanctum sanctorum, the festival ends. This is known as ‘Paatham Udayam’. A race of elephants on the tenth day is an interesting event to witness. The race of elephants is conducted like the one in Guruvayur.
The day of Lord Krishna’s birth is the time for enchanting celebrations called ‘Ashtami Rohini’ or simply Janmashtami. The Prasdam of special Payasam given in the temple can leave an indelible impression on your devoted minds.
The lip-smacking menu of the food offered to Krishna leaves you week-kneed with smell and taste buds yearning for a chew. This includes Paal payasam, Ghee payasam, Appam and a special offering called Chathurchathadam. All these preparations are claimed to be unique to the temple.
Next: Puri Jagannath
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