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Kanipura Gopalakrishna Temple – Krishna With Butter Balls – Festival - Kumble Bedi

Kanipura Gopalakrishna temple is located at Kumbla in Kasaragod district, Kerala. The shrine is dedicated to Bhagavan Gopalakrishna – the child form of Sri Krishna Bhagavan. The murti is carved out of jet black granite and it faces east. Instead of weapons the murti carrying butter balls in both hands. The five day annual festival begins on Makar Sankranti and is famous for Kumble Bedi – more than an hour long firework display.

The popular belief is that pregnant women will be blessed with intelligent and healthy children after offering prayers here. The diseases of children are cured after having darshan of the Bala Gopala form of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. It is not just humans that find relief in the temple, illnesses of cows and bulls are cured after praying here.

The murti of Bhagavan Gopal Krishna worshipped in the temple now has all the features of a child. It is believed that the murti was worshipped by Mata Yashoda, the foster mother of Sri Krishna. Later in the Dwapara Yuga the murti was presented to Kanwa Maharishi by Sri Krishna Bhagavan.

The same murti was consecrated at Kumbla by Kanwa Maharishi. The temple gets the name Kanipura from Kanvapura (place of Sage Kanwa).

When Sage Kanwa performed the first abhishekam of the murti with holy water from his Kamandala, it turned into a stream and later into a river. The river, which now flows through the north side of the temple, is known as Kumbala hole or Kumbini.

The Upa Devatas worshipped in the temple are Ganapathi, Sastha, Naga and Chamundi.

As per History, the shrine was renovated in the 10th century CE by King Jayasimha of Kadamba dynasty, whose capital was Kumbla. The king ruled on behalf of Kanipura Sri Gopalakrishna. The coronation of Kumbla Rajas was solemnized at the temple.

The annual festival begins with flag hoisting on Makar Sankranti day. The festival concludes on the fifth day with Arattu. The murti is taken to a sacred pond three kilometers away for holy dip on the final day.

The utsava murti worshipped in the temple sits on a special mandapam under a banyan tree to witness the Kumble Bedi – fireworks.

Parthi Subba, the father of Yakshagana, has sung numerous songs in praise of Kanipura temple.

Another unique ritual in the temple is that of priest carrying the murti around the temple to the accompaniment of chenda melam and vadyam and it is known as Bali. The heavy murti is decorated with flowers, ornaments and leaves. The pujari moves to the as per the taala of the traditional drums – first holding the heavy murti with hands. By the end of the ritual the pujari does not support the murti with his hands and runs around the temple. The murti magically balances on the head of the priest. Hundreds of devotees arrive to witness this divine event. The priests of the temple are from Delampady family.