There are two versions of legends regarding the evolution of name ‘Haripad’. It is widely believed that the name Haripad evolved from the fact that the major share of food grains for the province was produced from ‘Aripad’. The other version goes like Haripad is the short form of ‘Harigeethapuram’. More than 25 places of worship of different religions are there in Haripad including famous ‘Mannarassala Nagaraja Temple’. Kadavil Tharakan and Mosque are connected to Haripad temple.
‘Payipad Jalotsavam’ is a festival celebrated to cherish the memory of Subrahmanya Swamy idol brought from a place on the banks of Kayamkulam Lake, now known as Kandalloor. This holy procession was done with the escort of Vallams (boats). This festival attracts a lot of tourists. The religious procession was halted at the eastern boundary of Haripad, Nelpurakadavu. ‘Aranazhikakshetram’ is a temple there in the memory of that event.
Paddy fields, bridges, water streams, ponds, sand laden paths, cash crops, small forests etc. adds to the beauty of Haripad. Legacy of artists who excelled in all the 64 art forms graces Haripad. The contribution of Haripad to Kerala’s art culture is immense.
Haripad stands upfront in arts and culture world with the presence of famous personalities. Kerala Varma Koil Thampuran known as Kerala Varma and Kalidasa of kerala, was settled at Anandhapuram Palace. He has also written ‘Mayoorasandesham’ on the line of Kalidasa’s MeghaDooth(aka Meghaduta). In this poetry he has used the peacocks of Haripad temple to send his messages to his wife, the Maharani, in Thiruvananthapuram. Kizhakedath Kochupilla Warrier the guru of famous musician Swathi Thirunal, Ramankutti Bhagavathar the guru to disciplines in large number, Malabar Gopalan Nair, female musician Kamalakshi Amma, Haripad Gopinath, Sheshadri Iyer who was a scholar of over 18 languages, K R Haripad who created ‘Kathaprasangam’( Lyrical Narrative ) from Harikatha etc were personalities who made Haripad world famous.
In earlier days, majority of population was Brahmins, Ambalavasis, and other Hindu groups. The dining room (ootupura) for brahmins in Haripad temple and ‘Malikappura’ both built during the reign of king, stands today as an evidence to this.
Haripad was also not free from untouchability which once spread all over Kerala. But there were famous personalities like ‘Madhavan Vakkeel’ who fought against untouchability. Shanmukha vilasam high school runs by Brahmin ‘Samoohathumatom’ at the west of Haripad temple. As this school was inside temple area backward people were not allowed to enter school. This problem was solved after Government high school was built. Students from various parts of Kerala came to study in Mannarassala Sanskrit School and Ayurveda College. This area is decorated by the presence of Palaces and Temples.