Harippad Subrahamanya Temple

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By P.R.Ramachander


Harippad is a small town situated about 15-20 km from Alappuzha (also known as Alleppey) in Kerala. It is famous for a great temple dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya. It is believed that this temple is about 3500 years old and was consecrated by Lord Parasurama. The temple was reconstructed about 100 years ago after it wsa consumed by a fire.

There are various legends on how Harippad got its name. One legend has it that Lord Subrahmanya was greeted by Lord Vishnu in this town with Music on his triumphant return after vanquishing Tarakasura and Soora Padma. Hence this place is called Hari Geetha Puram, which eventually became Harippad. Another legend has it that the Pathiramanal Island in the nearby river was called Hari pattu (song of Lord Vishnu) in Malayalam and it may have got its name from the “Vishnu Pada “ in the eastern gate of the temple (Hari Padu-Vishnu’s marks). Some are of the opinion that Harippad derived its name from Aripad ("Ari" means rice & "paddam" means fields in Malayalam).

There is an interesting story about how the idol of main diety is found. Namboodiris, who constructed this temple were in search of an idol to consecrate here. One of them was ordered in his dreams to go to Kayamkulam and visit a pond there. He was told that a garland would be found floating at one particular spot and if he made a search there, he would obtain the appropriate idol they were looking for. The Namboodiris accordingly visited the pond, and got an Idol of the present God with four arms, one arm holding a Vel, another Vajrayudha, one bestowing blessings and one hand touching its thigh. This idol was brought and consecrated on the Pushya (poosam) star of Makara Masa (Thai maasam-January-February). This day is celebrated as the founding day of the temple every year. In addition to Subrahmanya, the temple also is home to idols of Maha Ganapathi and Dakshinamurthy. People believe that that the Subrahmanya idol has the Sannidhya (presence) of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. Several peacocks wander around in this temple

The major offerings in this temple is called 'Thula Payasam' in which rice, green gram dhal, jaggery, coconuts, ghee, banana fruits(kadali), black grapes, sugar candy, cardamom are added. Apart from this Kadum Payasam (extra sweet Payasam), Neyyappam, Paal payasam, Vellai Neivedhyam, Payasam made of coconut milk, Panchamrutham, Ilai adai are also offered to the God. People offer a garland made of lime fruits to Lord Subrahmanya.

There is a story that a rich Brahmin who was a great devotee of Lord Subrahmanya was not blessed with any children. Vexed and dejected, he transferred all his properties to the temple and committed suicide, outside the temple opposite the western gate. From that day, the western gate is kept locked. To atone this, a temple has been built in Karu Nattu Illam and every year the God’s procession passes by its front. But as soon as the procession comes near the house, all music is stopped and only the sound of conch accompanies the procession.

Out side the main temple, there is the original temple. Here the God is Velayudha with two hands. This temple is called The Temple which is below (keezh thiru koil).