GURUVAYOOR is the most honoured scred pilgrimage spot of Hindu in Kerala. Guruvayoor Shri Krishna temple is the main temple of Guruvayoor and the main idol is Shri Krishna known as Guruvayoorappan. People from India and abroad visit this temple for worshipping and performing their offering. Thousands of devotees visit here every day. Many cultural/religious festivals and auspicious days are celebrated in this temple. The museum in the annex building exhibits many rare offering of devotees.
Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Krishna (an avatar of the god Vishnu), located in the town of Guruvayur in Kerala, India. It is one of the most important places of worship for Hindus of Kerala and is often referred to as “Bhuloka Vaikunta” which translates to the “Holy Abode of Vishnu on Earth”.
The presiding deity of the Guruvayur Temple is Vishnu, worshipped in the form of Krishna. The central icon is a four-armed standing Krishna carrying the conch Panchajanya, the discus Sudarshana Chakra, the mace Kaumodaki and a lotus with a Holy basil garland. This image represents the majestic form of Vishnu as revealed to Krishna’s parents Vasudeva and Devaki around the time of Krishna’s birth; hence Guruvayur is also known as “Dwarka of South India”. He is currently worshipped according to routines laid down by Adi Shankara and later written formally in the Tantric way, the inter-religious spiritual movement that arose in medieval India, by Cennas Narayanan Nambudiri (born in 1427). The Cennas Nambudiris are the hereditary tantris (high priest) of the Guruvayur Temple.
The temple (puja) routines are strictly followed. The tantri is available full-time at the Temple to ensure this. The Melsanti (Chief Priest) enters the sanctum sanctorum in the morning and does not drink anything up to the completion of “noon worships” at 12:30 PM.
Stories surrounding the Guruvayur Temple tank
Guruvayur Temple tank
The temple tank (pond) on the northern side of the temple is called Rudratheertham. The legend say that for thousands of years, Lord Shiva and his family worshipped Lord Vishnu on the southern bank of this pond, the current location of the temple, and as Shiva is also known by the name ‘Rudra’, the pond came to be known as Rudratheertham.
It is said that in the ancient days, the pond extended up to Mammiyur and Thamarayur (about 3 km away from the Temple) and was known for its ever blooming magical lotus flowers. Pracetas (the ten sons of mythical King Prajinabarhis and his Queen Suvarna) came to this place to do undergo a tapasya to become “the king of all kings” with the help of god Vishnu. Sensing the motive of the Pracetas, Siva emerged from the sacred tank and revealed to them the “Rudragitam”, a hymn in praise of Vishnu. Siva suggested them to chant the hymn with all their heart to get their wishes fulfilled. The princes won the favour of Vishnu after rigorous tapasya for 10,000 years on the banks of the tank after bathing on it by chanting the hymns.
Dress code for entering the temple:
Devotees at Guruvayur Temple
Strict dress code exists for people who wish to enter the Guruvayur Temple. Men are to wear mundu around their waist, without any dress covering their chest. But it is allowed to cover the chest region with a small piece of cloth (veshthi). Boys are allowed to wear shorts, but they are also prohibited from wearing a shirt. Girls and women are not allowed to wear any trouser like dresses or short skirts. Women are allowed to wear sari and girls are to wear long skirt and blouses. Presently the dress code for women have been relaxed with shalwar kameez (churidar pyjamas) being allowed.
Treatment of Elephants:
The Punathoor Kotta elephant yard is the tethering site or home of the 56 elephants belonging to the Guruvayur Sreekrishna Temple, Guruvayur, near Thrissur district in Kerala. Also called the Anakotta (Elephant Fort in vernacular language), the place is the home to the largest population of captive male Asian elephants. These elephants are donated by devotees to the temple, and often they prefer donating tusked male elephants and hence the skewed ratio of males to females. The elephants were initially kept at a compound close to the temple when the numbers were low. However, with more devotees donating elephants, the space became insufficient and hence was moved to a larger property three kilometres away from the temple. Because of their association with the temple, devotees consider several of these elephants as living forms of Lord Guruvayurappa himself. Guruvayur Keshavan is the most famous among those, who, even four decades after his demise is the talk of the town. To honour the royal one, every year on his death anniversary, homage is paid to a life-sized statue of the late tusker followed by a grand feast to the elephants.
THE DAILY POOJAS IN THE TEMPLE
THE TEMPLE OPENS AT 3.00 AM
3.00am to 3.30am Nirmalyam
3.20am to 3.30am
Oilabhishekam, Vakacharthu, Sankhabhishekam
3.30am to 4.15am Malar Nivedyam, Alankaram
4.15am to 4.30am Usha Nivedyam
4.30am to 6.15am Ethirettu pooja followed by Usha pooja
7.15am to 9.00am Seeveli,Palabhishekam,Navakabhishekam, Pantheeradi Nivedyam, and Pooja
11.30am to 12.30pm Ucha pooja (the noon pooja)
TEMPLE WILL BE CLOSED BETWEEN 1.30PM AND 4.30PM AND REOPENS AT 4.30 PM
4.30pm to 5.00pm Seeveli
6.00pm to 6.45pm Deeparadhana
7.30pm to 7.45pm Athazha pooja Nivedyam
7.45pm to 8.15pm Athazha pooja
8.45pm to 9.00pm Athazha seeveli
9.00pm to 9.15pm Thrippuka, Olavayana
The Sreekovil will be closed. On the day of Special Illuminations called “Vilakku” the Thripuka is performed after that. The Sreekovil will be closed after Thripuka. Then the Krishnanattam, a colourful traditional dance-drama on Lord Krishna’s life is enacted inside the Temple on specified days.
*The timings given are approximate. It may vary if there is Udayasthamana pooja or on certain special occasions.
What To See And Do
Guruvayoor temple Overview
Located in the Guruvayoor town, Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple is regarded as one of the most sacred pilgrim hubs in Kerala. The temple adorned with mysteries is devoted to the chief deity Mahavishnu worshiped in form of Balakrishna.
Shrouded in spiritual aura and mystery, Guruvayoor Temple is a historic temple and a significant holy center of Kerala. Dedicated to Lord Krishna, the installed deity in the inner sanctum represents the full manifestation of Lord Mahavishnu adorned with four hands each carrying a conch, a mace, a discus and a lotus. Garlanded with the Tulasi or Basil garland and pearl necklace, the lord appears in full radiance blessing the devotees.
According to a legend, the temple was created by the preceptors of the Gods, Guru and God of winds, Vayu. The astonishing idol of Lord Unnikrishnan Guruvayur is made out of a rare mixture called Padala Anjanam instead of stone or metal. There might be long queues at the entrance but completely worth as you enter the temple complex.
1. Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple.
2. Make sure you remove your shoes outside the temple and cover your head.
3. You must wear a traditional dress only. Men should not wear the shirt inside the temple. Men should be in dhoti and towel and women should dress in saree or salwar kameez.
4. Be patient as sometimes it might take 5-6 hours to visit the inner part of the temple.
5. Mobiles, camera and other electronic devices are not allowed inside the temple.
6. Facility to keep your footwear safely is available right outside the temple. They also keep your electronic equipment safely in lockers.
7. No leather product is allowed.
8. Food and beverages from outside are not allowed inside the temple.
Mammiyoor Shiva Temple Overview
Famous for its large murals, this temple dedicated to Lord Shiva adds to the lore of Guruvayoor. It is believed that Lord Shiva was the original owner of Guruvayur temple and decided to relocate to the current site to place the Vishnu idol in Guruvayur temple.
Hence, every pilgrim completes their pilgrimage by visiting this temple located just 500 meter from Guruvayoor temple housing the shrines of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu.
Parthasarthy Temple Overview
Located within a kilometer from Guruvayoor temple, Parthasarthy Temple houses the shrine of Lord Krishna in the form of an episode from Mahabharata where the Lord narrates the Gita to Arjuna atop a gigantic chariot.
Punnathurkotta Elephant Palace Overview
Located at about 3 km away from the Western Gate of the Guruvayoor temple, this sprawling mansion with luxurious courtyards was established from the ruins of the Punathur.
The palace houses 65 elephants, all offered by the devotees. These elephants are forbidden to work anywhere else, except in the service of the Lord during temple processions and ceremonies. Many of the star elephants have a huge fan-following.
And many more temples
Where To Stay
Many Hotels are available in Guruvayoor
How To Get Around
OW TO REACH
Guruvayoor is well connected with the other parts of the country by road and rail. The National highway is passing through Kunnamkulam which is just 8 kms away from Guruvayoor. The private bus stand is towards the east of the temple, near Manjulal (the banyan tree). It is half an hour drive by car from Thrissur and busses ply every 5 minutes from Thrissur to Guruvayoor.
Kerala Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) runs bus services from all major locations of the state and few inter-state services. The bus stand is 500 meters to the west of the temple. Both KSRTC and private busses offer interstate services to all major South Indian cities like Madras, Madurai, Palani, Salem, Coimbatore, Thiruchandoor, Mysore, Mangalore, Uduppi, Mookambika etc.
Guruvayoor has got a railway station towards the east of the temple which is connected to the Madras-Mangalore main line at Thrissur. It has got computerised ticket booking facility and tickets can be booked to any locations from here. One from the Mangalore side can get down at the Kuttippram station. Regular buss services are available from there to Guruvayoor. Those from the Madras/Trivandrum side can get down at Thrissur.
Kochi international airport (Nedumbassery) is 80 kms from Guruvayoor and the Calicut airport is 100 kms away. All major international flight services are operated from these airports.