Haripad village which belongs to Alappuzha district is the administrative centre of Karthikappally Taluk. Major institutions like Taluk office, Munsif court, Magistrate court, Treasury, Police station, Post office, Sub-registrar office etc being situated in a single compound from the very beginning is an evidence of Haripad’s well-planned organizational structure. This is an achievement which many district capitals still strive to achieve.
Kizhakkekkara village with the union of Pilappuzha south, Pilappuzha Naduvath and the eastern region of Danappadi constitutes the Haripad Panchayath.
It is a matter of pride that Haripad still remains attached to the heart of rural beauty and charm despite the influence of urbanization. It is located in the Alappuzha district of Kerala State in India. Harippad is the headquarters of Karthikappally taluk, which includes 18 small villages – Arattupuzha, Cheppad, Cheruthana, Chingoli, Haripad, Kandallor, Karthikappally, Karuvatta, Kayamkulam, Keerikkad, Krishnapuram, Kumarapuram, Muthukulam, Pallippad, Pathiyoor, Puthuppally, Thrikkunnapuzha, Veeyapuram, of this 4 villages are partly included in Kayamkulam muncipality.
It is believed that in the path of its evolution, Haripad had the names – Harigeethapuram and Aripad. That there are references to Haripad as “Aripad” in Kerala Varma Valiya Koil Tampurans’s “Mayoorasandesham” and that Sree Karthikeya is addressed as “Harigeethaputhalayadeepa” by Sri. Swathi Thirunal are evidences to the importance and antiquity of Haripad.
This region was the chief granary during the period of Royal administration. The vast paddy fields of Kuttanad were Haripad’s major attraction. It is said that even the Travancore Royalty sought provisions for rice from Haripad. As it contributed the majority of rice demanded by the territories, the region was named ‘Aripad’. But it cannot be neglected that ‘Haripad’ owes its real origin to Harigeethapuram. Though “Hari” is not synonymous to Lord Subrahmanya, theology supports that there is nothing wrong in addressing Lord Vishnu as Subrahmanya. These disparities in theology accounts for the conduction of three festivals in a single year, in Haripad Temple. It is one among the two temples in Kerala which conducts such a curious ritual. Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple, one of the most famous Naga temples in India too may have contributed to the evolution of the term Haripad.
The most significant feature of Haripad is that its history is not spoiled by even minute political or religious conflicts. Though Haripad is known as the land of temples there are more than 25 religious institutions of different religions. The history of Haripad temple is closely related with Kadavil Tharakan and the Mosque. A main feature of Haripad which attracts even the foreigners is the “Payippad Jalolsavam”. It is believed the idol of Lord Subrahmanya was brought from Kandalloor with escort of snake boats. Payippad Jalolsavam is conducted to renew this memory. But this procession never allows entrance at the eastern boundary of Haripad. This was rectified with the establishment of Haripad Government High School. Later Mannarasala Sanskrit school and the Ayurveda college was commenced by the great scholar Mannarasala Narayanan Namboothiri.
The ‘ninth plan which includes the augmentation of Haripad’s cultural and artistic potential is a must for the safe survival of Haripad in the coming years too.
History is an account of wonderful achievements and movements of past. In that sense we are rich. Even when the prestigious upper caste – Savarna – governed this village once, we were very alert to grand the lower caste – Avarna – their privileges. Perhaps this accounts for the political and religious peace, which the history of Haripad projects. The rituals offered to Lord Subrahmanya by the Karuvatta Saambavas and the Danappady mosque and Aranazhika temple, all forms the root of Haripad’s heritage, which is mainly based on religious compromise. Today’s deeds are tomorrow’s history. If the posterity should find pride in being the natives Haripad – just as we are due to the outstanding deeds of our ancestors – we should do our best to enrich the cultural heritage of Haripad.