I started the New Year by visiting three temples in Alappuzha and one in Kollam district. It was a family trip with my husband, kids, parents and sister and her family. We started from Shornur at 2.30 in the morning and reached the Nagaraja Temple at Mannarashala by 7 am. We had hired a tempo traveler for the trip. From Mannarashala, we went to the Harippad Subrahmania Swami Temple which is extremely close to it. Both of these temples are in the Alappuzha district.
The Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Temple was also on our list, but we chose to visit it at noon because we had pre-booked the famed Ambalappuzha Palppayasam which is only offered to devotees after 12 pm. So, from the Harippad Subrahmania Swami Temple, we proceeded to the Ochira Parabrahma Murthy Temple which is about 20 kilometers away.
Ochira Temple was a unique experience and my children absolutely loved walking around the premises. There are no queues here. There aren’t any specific rituals or ceremonies either. From Ochira we went to Ambalappuzha. We reached the temple by 11 am. Since it was closed for Ucha Pooja (mid-day pooja), we walked around the premises for a while. There were only a few hundred devotees at that time so when they temple reopened at 12.30 we could obtain the darshan easily.
Start early if you are coming from the central parts of Kerala. We started at 2.30 am in spite of having young children with us. This did cause some inconvenience but we managed to reach Mannarasala by 7 am. Also the roads were almost empty during the wee hours of the day. There were only a few hundred people at Mannarasala at that time, so we managed to obtain darshan easily. If you have booked Ambalappuzha palpayasam, make it the last stop in your itinerary because the palpayasam is only offered after the mid-day pooja.
Most people also include the Chakkulathukavu Bhagavathi Temple in this one-day trip. We gave it a miss to include the Ochira Temple.