The Sree Subrahmanya Swamy Temple, also known as Perumthrikkovil, is a renowned Hindu temple situated in Haripad, a town located in the Alappuzha district of the southern Indian state of Kerala. This temple is dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya (Subramanya), also known as Kartikeya or Murugan, who is revered as the God of war, victory, and divine wisdom in Hinduism. The temple holds a special place among devotees for its historical significance, unique legends, and architectural beauty.
Legends and History:
The temple’s history is intertwined with several captivating legends that highlight its sacredness:
Discovery of the Idol:
According to local folklore, the temple’s principal idol was originally used for worship by the great sage Parasurama, one of the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu. Sage Parasurama decided to immerse the idol in the waters of the Kayamkulam Lake (then known as the Govindamuttom backwaters of Kandanalloor) as an offering to the divine.
However, an extraordinary event unfolded as the idol was immersed. All the landlords of Eakachakra, the ancient name for Haripad, simultaneously experienced divine visions. In these visions, Lord Subrahmanya revealed the location of the submerged idol in the Kayamkulam Lake. Guided by these divine revelations, the landlords embarked on a mission to retrieve the sacred idol from the depths of the lake.
Temporary Placement Under a Banyan Tree:
During the journey to retrieve the idol, a remarkable episode occurred. The idol was temporarily placed for public viewing under a banyan tree belonging to a Christian family known as Tharakanmar. This location came to be known as “Ara Nazhika Ambalam,” and a small temple was erected there to commemorate this event.
Consecration and Renaming:
Once the sacred idol was retrieved, it was consecrated in its present location in Haripad. The consecration took place on the auspicious day of the Pushya nakshatra during the Makara Masa. A significant belief associated with this event is that Lord Vishnu himself appeared as a saint to consecrate the temple, leading to the renaming of the region as “Harigeethapuram.”
Reconstruction After Fire:
In the Malayalam year 1096, the temple faced a devastating fire. Fortunately, the golden flag mast and the Koothambalam (a temple structure) were saved from the flames. Subsequently, during the reign of King Sree Chithira Thirunal Rama Varma, the temple underwent reconstruction, and the golden flag mast was reinstalled.
Primary Deity – Lord Karthikeya:
The presiding deity of the Sree Subrahmanya Swamy Temple is Lord Karthikeya, also known as Subrahmanya, Kartikeya, or Murugan. Lord Karthikeya is depicted in a unique and awe-inspiring four-armed form, standing at approximately six feet in height. The iconography of Lord Karthikeya in this temple is notable for its symbolism:
- Vel (Spear-like Weapon): Lord Karthikeya holds a Vel, a spear-like weapon, in one of his four hands. The Vel is a symbol of valor and divine power.
- Vajrayudha (Thunderbolt): In another hand, Lord Karthikeya holds a Vajrayudha, a thunderbolt, signifying his authority and ability to dispel obstacles.
- Blessing Hand: One of the deity’s hands is raised in a gesture of blessing, symbolizing the divine grace and blessings bestowed upon devotees.
- Hand on Thigh: Lord Karthikeya’s other hand rests on his thigh, representing his composed and meditative state.
In addition to the primary deity, Lord Karthikeya, the Sree Subrahmanya Swamy Temple in Haripad is home to several other deities, each with its own significance and devotee following. These deities include:
- Lord Dakshinamooorthy: Lord Dakshinamooorthy is a form of Lord Shiva, often depicted as the divine teacher imparting wisdom through silence.
- Lord Ganesh: Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed god, is revered as the remover of obstacles and the deity of auspicious beginnings.
- Thiruvambadi Kannan: This deity is an incarnation of Lord Krishna, often depicted as a child holding a butter pot. Lord Krishna is celebrated for his playful and mischievous nature.
- Nāga: Nāga refers to serpent deities, often associated with fertility and protection. They are a significant part of Hindu mythology.
- Shasta: Shasta is a regional deity, often associated with Ayyappan, and is venerated for protection and well-being.
- Keezhthrikkovil Subrahmanyan: This form of Lord Subrahmanya is worshipped as well and is associated with the Keezhthrikkovil Temple in the region.
The Sree Subrahmanya Swamy Temple in Haripad, Kerala, features distinctive architectural elements. It is adorned with four ornate entrance towers known as gopurams, welcoming devotees and visitors into the sacred precincts. Dominating the eastern side of the temple is a magnificent golden flag mast, symbolizing the temple’s sanctity and spirituality. The central shrine, or sanctum sanctorum, is unique for its round shape, where devotees gather for worship.
Within the temple compound, there is one of Kerala’s largest Koothambalams, used for various cultural and religious performances. The temple premises also serve as a sanctuary for peacocks, which are associated with Lord Murugan, the presiding deity. Additionally, the temple boasts a vast temple pond named Perumkulam, covering approximately five acres, making it one of the largest temple ponds in Kerala.
The Sree Subrahmanya Swamy Temple (Perumthrikkovil) in Haripad, Kerala, is known for its unique and vibrant festivals. Here’s a detailed description of the temple’s festivals:
1. Utsava Trayam:
One of the distinctive features of this temple is the observance of three kodiyettu (hoisting the dhvaja on dhvaja stambha) utsavas in a calendar year, following the Tamil calendar. These festivals, collectively known as Utsava Trayam, are dedicated to different deities:
- Avani Utsavam in Chingom: This festival is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
- Markazhi Utsavam in Dhanu: Lord Shiva is worshipped during this festival.
- Chithira Utsavam in Medom: Lord Subrahmanya is the focal deity of this festival.
Each of these celebrations holds unique religious and cultural significance, emphasizing the worship of specific deities.
2. Chithira Thiruvulsavam:
Among the Utsava Trayam festivals, the Chithira Thiruvulsavam stands out as the most important annual festival in the temple. It is dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya and is marked by elaborate rituals, processions, and the participation of devotees from far and wide. This festival is a grand celebration of Lord Subrahmanya’s divine presence and is a significant event in the temple’s calendar.
3. Other Important Festivals:
In addition to the Utsava Trayam and Chithira Thiruvulsavam, the temple observes various other important festivals throughout the year:
- Thrikkarthika in Vrischikam: This festival is celebrated in the Malayalam month of Vrischikam and holds its own unique rituals and traditions.
- Prathishta Day in Idavam: This festival marks the day of the deity’s consecration, and it is observed in the month of Idavam.
- Skanda Ashthami in Thulam: Skanda Ashthami is a significant festival dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya and falls in the Malayalam month of Thulam.
- Navarathri in Kanni: The nine-day Navarathri festival is a period of special devotion and worship, celebrated in the month of Kanni.
- Thaipooyam in Makaram: Thaipooyam is a festival celebrated in the Malayalam month of Makaram, dedicated to Lord Subrahmanya.
The Haripad Muruga Temple is open for morning worship from 4:00 AM to 12:00 noon and for evening worship from 4:30 PM to 8:30 PM. Please verify timings for any potential changes during special events or festivals.
How to Reach Haripad Muruga Temple:
The nearest airport to the Haripad Muruga Temple is the Cochin International Airport, located approximately 115 kilometers away. Travelers can access the temple by air and then continue their journey by road.
Haripad is well-connected by rail to many major cities across the country. Travelers can reach Haripad Railway Station via regular train services, making it a convenient option for those arriving by train.
The town of Haripad enjoys good road connectivity and can be reached by road from various major cities within the state of Kerala. Regular bus services operate, facilitating easy access to the temple for travelers using road transportation.
Visitors can choose the mode of transportation that best suits their preferences and convenience to reach the Haripad Muruga Temple and partake in its spiritual offerings.