Champakulam ( 427 AD) Church, Kerala, and Sri Krishna temple

   427 AD Champakulam Church,Kerala,
Champakulam snake boat race,Kerala,India
Champakulam Church in Alappuzha is a unique church in Kerala, south India which is a classic example of an age-old secular tradition in the true sense of the term. The Hindus and Christians here actively participate in the church and temple festivals with equal enthusiasm and religious fervour. This famous church has a close, well-knit relationship with the Sri Krishna temple of  Ambalapuzha for generations. It is truly a God's country not only in terms of nature's bounty but also in terms of people's big heart and  innate nature to foster harmony, unity and integrity transcending religions and faiths. 
427 AD Champakulam Church,Kerala,
427 AD Champakulam Church,Kerla, 
 Champakulam Church, one of the most ancient churches in India, is frequently referred to as the mother church of most of the  Catholic Syrian churches  in Kerala.  It was built way back in 427 AD and since then has undergone several  structural modifications. Champakulam represents the second generation of ancient St. Thomas Christian churches in Malabar which were offshoots of the so called seven first generation churches founded by St. Thomas, the Apostle himself. Champakulam church is called Kaloorkkadu church in the ancient records denoting the name of the place. The inscriptions on the Champakulam Rock Cross  point out renovation done after AD 1141.

The Chembakasserry Kingdom  was founded in 12th century  at Kudamaalor by a Namboothiri Brahmin with the help of a group of Nair warriors  who were expelled by the Samoothiry (Zamorians) of Calicut and the king later annexed adjacent areas such as  Ambalapuzha,etc. The kingdom was also called Porca inferring Purakkadu.

The  secular Hindu king had a separate  Christian army and allowed them to have a  private flag with a cross on it. Since they helped  the king win  wars, as a token of his gratitude to the army and to the 'Holy Spirit,' he had a church  built at  Purakkadu with the title of 'Mar Sliba' (Holy Cross) and encouraged Christians to migrate from Champakulam to  practice their faith there. The king's legal heir had carried the  Holy cross and installed it  on the church premises. The church got the kings' support through out their reign. Later the Raja of Travancore continued the old tradition and the tax collected from the church was returned to the  authorities for lightening lamp in the church.

The church,supported by the kings(Devanarayanans) of the Chempakassery kingdom,  had very close relations with the Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Swamy Temple,the head quarters of the Kings of Chembakasserry. Even today, Champakulam church  and the Christians there actively participate  in the famous Champakulam Moolam Boat race by providing rope and bamboo every year for the boat race as part of the age old tradition. The famous annual race  commemorates the procession of the idol of Lord Krishna to Ambalapuzha witnessed by thousands of people.

Situated on the western bank of River Pamba, the annual feast of Champakulam Valia Palli is celebrated on the 3rd Sunday of October every year and that of  St. Joseph on March 19th. In the neighborhood  wooden statues of Christ  are made with meticulous care and devotion and are  exported around the world on orders.

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