Monday Jun 24, 2024

Kottayam Thiruvarppu Krishna Temple – Kerala


Kottayam Thiruvarppu Krishna Temple – Kerala

Thiruvarpu, Kottayam town,

Kottayam district,

Kerala 686020




Thiruvarppu – a small village in Kottayam district and is 8 km away from Kottayam town, in the state of Kerala, and is well known forThiruvarppu Sri Krishna Temple, located on the coastal line of the Meenachil River (Varppu means the cast used by smiths to make bell-metal vessels). Thiruvarppu Sri Krishna Temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna; this is one of the renowned Vaishnava temples in Kerala and one of the famous ancient temples of Lord Krishna. The inscription on the temple indicates that the temple was constructed around 850 AD and the temple attracts large numbers of devotees during an annual festival called Vilakkeduppu which is held in the month of April for 10 days

Puranic Significance 

One of the most popular beliefs about the temple is the recovery of the deity of Lord Krishna having four hands coming into existence, which was placed in an Uruli, a flat vessel made out of bell metal. Almost all the ancient temples and religious sites have some folk, myths, and stories about them, including Thiruvarppu Sri Krishna Temple. According to one myth, the temple relates to the epic Mahabharata. It is said that while the Pandavas were in exile for 14 years in the forest, Lord Krishna gave them his statue so that they can worship it daily. When the Pandavas had completed their Vanvasa and wanted to go back, the people of that area (said to be people of Cherthala(Sherthalai)) requested that idol but after some time due to the circumstances, the people were not able to worship the Lord, Krishna. So, they simply dropped the deity in the sea.
After many years, a holy saint (Some say it was Villwamangalam Swamiyar and others say it was Padmapadacharya) was traveling by boat in these parts, suddenly his boat got stuck at one point. The Sage got out of the boat to find the reason but when he step-down he found that the portion where he stepped upon became dry and the sage found the idol of Lord Krishna underneath. This divine Sage took the idol with him even though he must travel towards the west, but the boat and waves took him towards the east via Kunnam and Pallikkara and reached the present location of the temple. The holy sage on reaching the shore found a temple of Dharma Sastha without any idol and hence he consecrated the idol in that temple. Later, the people started worshipping the idol of Lord Krishna which is now known as the Thiruvarppu Sri Krishna Temple.

Another story is that the Pandavas after completing their Agnatha Vasa deposited the deity they were worshipping along with their Akshaya Pathra in the sea. Sometime later, some fishermen fishing in the Vembanad backwaters at a place near Vechur (called Mangalathu Vila) recovered the deity without the uruli and built a temple in a place called Chara Mangalam and consecrated the idol there. Soon, natural calamities attacked the place and the idol was washed away by the water, this time the idol fell directly into the vessel itself. As earlier mentioned, the sage Villwamangalam Swamiyar as referred above, recovered the idol while crossing the sea. On reaching the shore, the uruli along with the idol inside was temporarily placed in Valiya Madam. During those days, people were able to offer only mango pickles and coconut water to the Lord. Later, the idol was shifted to the present place. During the Arattu, the idol is taken to the Valiya Madam and the practice of offering mango pickles and coconut water is still carried out even today.

Another myth is that the above holy sage got down from the boat along with the idol but he was unable to proceed any further due to inclement weather. So, he kept the idol in an Uruli and went away. Later when he was returning, he found that the idol had got fixed to the Uruli and that Uruli belonged to an individual called Kunnan Kari Menon. As soon as he heard about this incident, he gave the land for temple construction and completed the temple with the help of a saint called Madappurathu Samiyar. Even today, in this temple a special Pushpanjali (offering of flowers) is done on behalf of the Asram of Madappurathu Samiyar.

Special Features

               Thiruvarppu Krishna Temple is the only temple that opens its door early in the morning i.e., every day at 2 A.M. As soon as the temple is opened, a special offering called Usha Payasam is offered to the deity. Soon after the Abhishekam, the deity’s hair is first dried, Naivedyam (Usha Payasam) is offered to him and then only the rest of the body of the deity is dried. So that he doesn’t remain hungry. It is said that Lord Krishna is always hungry in this temple, so unlike other temples, this Thiruvarpu Krishna temple is not closed even during the eclipse, the reason is once the temple was closed at the time of the eclipse but later when thetemple was reopened the very next day,they saw Lord Krishna’s waist ornament (Bhagavan’s kamarbandh) slipped down. Adi Shankaracharya, who came at that time to the temple, said that this happened because Krishna was very hungry. Since it is believed that Lord Krishna cannot tolerate hunger, the priest of the temple possesses an axe along with the keys to the temple to open the Sree Kovil. The priest has the authority to break down the lock of the temple door if there is any delay in opening the door after a couple of minutes.

The Lord faces west along with his four hands. The temple sanctum usually opens very early in the morning like around 2 A.M. and by 3 A.M. a special offering called Usha Payasam is offered to the lord. Usha Payasam is prepared by using rice, jaggery, ghee, red banana fruit, and dried coconut. This method of preparation is very peculiar in this temple. Soon after the Abhishekam, the deity’s hair is first dried, Naivedyam (Usha Payasa) is offered to him and then only the rest of the body of the deity is dried. Another peculiarity of this temple is that the priest is given an axe along with the keys to open the sanctum door in the early morning. People believe that the deity cannot tolerate hunger (as he is exhausted after killing Kamsa) and if there is any delay in opening the sanctum door with the keys, the priest is permitted to break the door with an axe.

In this Thiruvarppu Temple, the Lord Krishna idol is placed in the center and all four sides are surrounded by other idols. Kochambalam, the Devi temple, is situated on the east of Lord Krishna idol. The Shiva temple known as Shivan Kovil is situated north of Lord Krishna as well as the idol of Narasimha Swamy is established near the Shivan Kovil. To the west of Krishna’s idol lies Ganapathy, Subrahmania, and Sastha temples, and to the south lies Yaksha Gandharva temple.

This temple has a very peculiar drum made of bell metal. It is said that Lord Krishna announced the killing of Kamsa, playing on this drum. This temple also has a sub temple for Bhoothanatha. All offerings to the main deity are also offered to him Outside the temple there are temples for Subramanya, Ganapathy, Yakshi, Shiva and Bhagawathy.


 The temple festival is during the first ten days of the month of Medam. (april-may).On the tenth day there is a race of Elephants like the one in Guruvayur. During the festival time girl children who are less than ten years of age dress themselves as Lord Krishna and offer lamps to the Lord during morning and evening. On the tenth day of the month when the sun sets, his rays enter inside the sanctum sanctorum and this is referred to as Pathaam Udayam,

Krishna’s birthday during Ashtami Rohini is celebrated in this temple. Sundays and Thursdays are special in this temple and attract lot of devotes.

Another peculiar celebration of this temple is Pullattu Pooja, The story is that there was a rich Nair gentleman without children in the Pullattu house. He wanted to donate all his wealth to the temple and requested them to observe his death anniversary. When astrologers consulted the God, his consent was given. On the Thai poosam day, Pullattu Nair came inside the temple, kept all his wealth including keys to treasures and documents for all his properties before the Lord. Then he prostrated before the Lord and it is said that he died then and there. Even today three special poojas one day before his death and fifteen special poojas on the day of his death are performed in his name and referred to as Pllattu Pooja. Milk Payasam, Ghee Payasam, Appam etc are offered to the Lord usully. There is a special offering called Chathurchathadam also.


850 AD

Managed By

Government of Kerala

Nearest Bus Station


Nearest Railway Station

Kottayam  Station

Nearest Airport

Cochin International Airport

Location on Map

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