Sri Subramanya Swami temple is one of the oldest temples in Kerala and is the biggest of Sri Muruga temples in Kerala. The temple is situated at Haripad at Alapuzha district. The temple is also called as Dakshina Palani and Kerala Palani.
The place Haripad was earlier called as Eaka Chakra and Harigeetha puram. Locally, this temple is hailed as Haripad Sri Subramanya Swamy Maha Kshetram. The temple is believed to be atleast 3500 years old.
Haripad is near Arabian Sea. It is considered as the connecting point for Mavelikkara and Thirukkunna Puzha. The place is also hailed as the land of Mayura Sandesa.
As per the legend, Bhagwan Parashurama used to do puja to the idol at Kanda Nallor in Govinda Muttam back waters. After many years, the residents of Eaka Chakra had a vision of Sri Muruga idol at Kayankulam lake. They then retrieved the vigraha, kept it under a banyan tree for half an hour and then consecrated the idol at the present temple. The place where the idol was kept for half an hour is called as Ara Nazhika Ambalam.
As per the legend, it is believed that the present temple was consecrated on the Pushya-Star of Makara month. The date of origin of the temple could not be ascertained. It is said that the temple premises and the dwajasthambam had caught fire after some years of original construction. It is believed that the temple was re-built under the rule of the King Sri Chaitra Thirunal Rama Varma.
The Dwajasthambam (flagstaff) is golden and is one of the longest Dwajasthambams in Sri Muruga temples. It is at the eastern side of the temple.
Before entering the main sanctum, we can see the walls painted with the mural type of drawings depicting various Deities.
The presiding Deity is Sri Karthikeya Swamy. He is also called as Sri Harigeetha Pureshan. It is believed that Bhagwan Parashurama had created the vigraha. Sri Karthikeya is facing east and has four arms. He holds holy spear (Vel) and vajrayudha in His upper hands. One of His lower hands is in abhaya mudra (bestowing blessing) and His other hand is on His thigh. The presiding Deity is also called as Sri Velayudha Swamy.
The Vigraha is of six feet in height. It is believed that the Vigraha has the presence of Bhagwan Shiv, Bhagwan Vishnu and Sri Brahma. He is considered as the Bhagwan of Eighteen Zones (Karas).
There are dedicated shrines for Bhagwan Sri Dakshina Murthy, Bhagwan Ganesh, Sri Thiruvambadi Kannan, Sri Naga Sastha and Sri Keezh Thirukkovil Subramanya.
The main sanctum is of circular round shape. This shape is known as Vatta Sree Kovil.
The temple has four gateways called Gopurams. It also has the dancing arena called Koothambalam. The temple pond is known as Perumkulam.
The temple flag is hoisted three times a year for festivals. During Avani Urchavam observed in Chingom Malayala month, the Deity is attributed with Sri Vishnu amsa. During Margazhi Urchavam in Dhanu Malayala month, the Deity is attributed with Sri Shiva amsa. During Chaitra Urchavam, Sri Karthikeya is revered as Sri Subramanya Himself. These three festivals are called as urchava thraiyam in combination. Chithira Thiruvalsalam is the annual festival.
Thiru Karthika in Vrichika month, Prathishta urchavam in Idavam month, Skandha Ashtami in Thulam month, Navarathri in Kanni month and Thai Pooyam in Makaram month are the other major festivals celebrated in this temple.
Apart from these, every year, the festival of retrieval of the presiding Deity idol from Kayankulam lake is celebrated as Vigraha Labdi Jalotsavam for three days after Thiruvonam. The festival is also called as Payippad Jalolsavam.
Kavadi Attam is an important ritual in the temple festivals.
The temple rituals include Abhishekams with Kadum Payasam, Chathu-shataham and Panchamirtham which are also offered as Neivedyam; and offering of Unniappam and water as Neivedyam. Thula Payasam is the main prasadam offered in the temple.
Haripad can be reached from Alapuzha by bus or by private taxi. The temple town is well connected by bus transport.