Sree Venugopala Temple Puarakkad, Alleppey
The Sree Venugopala Devaswom Temple at Puarakkad. It was built nearly 400 years back.This is one of the oldest temples worshipped by the Gowda Saraswata Brahmins of Kerala
The main deity is at the throne inside the Sreekovil, On the first step, at top it is the Venugopala Swami with Lakshmi devi on the left and Bhoomi devi on the right side. On the second step, it is a pair of sandals used by Ananda who installed the deity at Purakkad with his name inscribed thereon in Kannada. On the third step are the Utsava moorties and the Madanagopala idol donated by Swamiji of Sri Kashi Mutt Samsthan.
The idols of Garuda, Hanuman, Ganapathi, Mahalakshmi are installed inside the inner temple (Nalambalam) outside the Srikovil
There are smaller temple dedicated to other deities outside the Sreekovil - Naga Kanya, Siva, Kalabhairav and a Naga Peedham (with a number of Naga vigrahas brought from houses of community members).
History of Sree Venugopala Temple, Purakkad
In 1560 A.D. about 150 G.S.B. families (mostly traders) from Salcettee of Goa escaping from the persecution by Portugese landed at Purakkad. Raja of Purakkad gave them permission to build "pandikasalas" (wholesale business houses) to carry on trade. There upon under one Janardhana Pai, who is said to have owned a fleet of seven merchant vessels plying in the Indian ocean, the Gowda Saraswats carried on extensive trade with the countries of Europe.
Quite in keeping with their tradition of building temples wherever they settled, the G.S.B's of Purakkad also built a temple and had the image of Venugopala installed over there.
Story of the Idol
A Gowda Saraswata Brahmin, Baruda Bhatta had left Goa at a time of some political upheaval, for Moodibidri, a strong hold of the Jains in Dakshina Kannada district with an image of Venugopala which he had secured from Kelosi-Kusasthali in Goa. After a short sojourn there, Baruda Bhatta set on a pilgrimage to Manjeswar with this image. One day, while bathing in the sacred 'Seshatirtha' he saw the resplendent figure of godess, 'Naga Kanya' who after expressing her desire that she should be worshipped along with his Venugopala image, suddenly vanished. Soon after, he saw an idol of Naga Kanya on the bank of sacred tank, which he picked up. Since then, he began to worship both the deities. At the request of one Krishna Kudua, a grain dealer of Manjeswar, Baruda Bhatta settled in Manjeswar with his two images. With his death, the images passed down through two generations in to the possession of Ananda, a scion of the family.
Once Ananda set on a pilgrimage to South. On his way to Rameswaram with the two images, he happened to halt at Purakkad. As if the two images were destined to have their permanent abode at Purakkad, the Adhikari or the headman of the Gowda Saraswats had in his sleep a vision of the Lord, who told him of the impending arrival of the two images and his desire to stay at Purakkad. With this prospect in view, the Gowda saraswats had a temple built and kept ready for the installation of the images. When it turned out as pre-sensed, the Gowda Saraswats of the place told Ananda, on his arrival, of the Lord's revelation and requested him to install the images in the temple built for the purpose.
Ananda agreed, and on his return journey from Rameswaram, installed the image of Venugopala in the temple and that of Naga Kanya in another temple nearby. This was in 1654 AD. As a mark of respect to the memory of Ananda, a pair of sandals used by him with his name inscribed thereon in Kannada, is preserved in the temple. This deity has brought properity to Purakkad and it became a major sea trade centre. Convinced by the spell of the deity, the Raja of Chempakassery, became an ardent devotee of Venugopala and granted a rent free plot of land for the perpectual use of Ananda and his successors. He built a palace near the temple for his stay during his visits to the temple which were very frequent. He also gave liberal donations for the renovation of the temple in 1705 AD and a Gopuram was built on the western gate.
Subsequently, in an astrological prediction, the lord revealed that the western Gopuram of the temple built in 1705 AD which remained in a dilapidated condition due to revage of time should be renovated. Foundation stone for the Gopuram to be renovated was laid by Padmasree Dr. K N Pai of Trivandrum on 17th January 1990 with the blessings of H.H. Srimad Sudheendra Theertha Swamy of Kashi Mutt Samsthan. The renovation work is completed and the beautiful West Gopuram facing the NH47 highway, Vyasa mandir and rest rooms and an Agrasala has been opened by H. H. Srimad Raghavendra Theertha Swamy of Kashi Mutt Samsthan in 1997.
Address: S V D Temple, Purakkad P.O. Alappuzha Dist, Kerala, India. PIN: 690551
Phone: 91 477 2272201