Neyyattinkara Sree Krishna Swami Temple
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Neyyattinkara Sree Krishna Swamy Temple is a Lord Krishna temple situated at Neyyattinkara, 20 km south of Thiruvananthapuram city, in Kerala. One of the important temples of Lord Krishna, the temple is also of great historic importance as well. The temple enshrines Unnikannan (baby Krishna) as the presiding deity. Thrikayilvenna or Thrikayil Venna (butter) is a unique offering to Neyyattinkara Unnikannan – the deity of the temple.
Legend And HistoryEdit
Neyyattinkara Shri Krishnaswamy Temple was built in 1755, by Marthanda Varma, the then maharajah of the erstwhile Indian princely state of Travancore. The history/legend behind the construction of this temple is that, about 250 years ago, during the reign of King Ramavarma, the Travancore prince Anizhamthirunal Marthanda Varma, who took strong action against “Ettuveettil Pillamar” was surrounded by his enemies. At that time a boy came and led the prince to a jack tree, which had a hollow trunk. The prince hid inside it and escaped from the enemies. Later the astrologer said to the king that, the boy who showed him the hideout was actually “Lord Krishna.” The maharajah then decided to build a temple for Lord Krishna, as a mark of gratitude for saving his life, near the jack tree. This was popularly called 'Ammachi plavu' (Mother jack tree) as it protected the maharajah from his enemies. The remnants of the tree is still preserved there.
Neyyattinkara Sreekrishna Swamy Temple, situated in a vast land with lots of greenery, is regarded as the Guruvayur of Trivandrum district. The temple is built in traditional Kerala architecture and is decorated with beautiful artistic sculptures. The main gopuram (gateway) of the temple displays a beautiful scene from Bhagavad Gita - Lord Krishna offering teaching to Arjuna.
The sanctum sanctorum is built in the traditional Kerala style. Now the door to the Shri Kovil is painted with gold. There is a huge Gopuram in front of the Shri Kovil. Inside the main complex, there are the deities of Ganesha, and Dharmashashtha. Outside the main complex, Nagaraja is worshipped. Currently, work has been going on to make a nadappanthal all around the main arena, so that pilgrims could avoid extremes of weather. This is done by advisory committee with the help of devotees of unnikannan.
The walls of the Sanctum are painted with various pictures, depicting the life of Shree Krishna and various other Gods.
There is an elephant named "Neyyattinkara Kannan" in the temple.
Customs and traditionsEdit
Ashtami Rohini, Vishu, Navarathri, Mandalapooja are observed with great fervour in this temple. The main festival of the temple is its Annual Festival, which is during Meenam. It commences with the "Kodiyett", where the main priest of the temple will hoist a Sacred flag atop the gopura, signifying the commencement of the festival. It ends with an "Aaraatt", which falls on a Rohini star day in the Malayalam month of Meenam, when the deity is taken out of the temple, and is dipped in water, in the nearby Graamam in the Neyyar river. In the midst of the festival, jewels of Unnikkannan will be brought from another temple, where they are ceremoniously kept for safekeeping. The main pooja of that evening has much significance, where hundreds throng to get a glimpse of Unnikkannan, adoring all the divine jewels.
During Navarathri, three deities will rest at the temple, on their way to Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Trivandrum. They are Shri Kumaraswami, from Kumarakoil temple; Shri Munnuutti Nanga; and Shri Sarawathi Devi. They will stay overnight at the Krishna Temple, and leave for Trivandrum next morning. There will be grand arrangements all along the way and at the temple for welcoming the deities.
Deities in the templeEdit
The presiding deity is Sreekrishna, in the form of Balakrishna holding butter in both hands. West-facing idol is made of panchaloha. Legend says, the original idol was made of wood but Lord Krishna was not amused of this, and while that idol was being carried in a boat across the Neyyar, the boat got stuck and would not move. In order to keep the time frame intact, another idol was installed at the temple.
Upadevathas (other deities) in the temple premises include Shri Ganesha, Shri Dharmasastha and Shri Nagaraja.
This is one of the major temples under the Travancore Devaswom Board. Every two years, an advisory committee (Kshetra Upadeshaka Samithi) comprising a President, Secretary and members is selected from among the neighborhood people. This committee undertakes the task of organizing the various festivals in this temple.