- February 26, 2023
Table of Contents
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 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. Non-Hindus are not allowed in the temple.
Guruvayoor, the abode of Lord Sree Guruvayoorappan, is located 29 kms north west to the cultural capital of the ‘God’s own country’, Kerala. This narrow coastline strip of land on the south western edge of Indian subcontinent is one of the 10 paradises in the world.Guruvayoor is a thriving township in Trichur district of Kerala state in the South of India, its scenic beauty and serenity are breath taking. Guruvayoorappan is the chief diety here – The God which hears the prayers of its pilgrims. Guruvayoorappan is adorned with the holy tulasi (Basil) garland, and pearl necklace the Lord here appears in all radiance to bless the devotees.
The Guruvayur/Guruvayoor Sree Krishna Temple is one of the most important and sacred pilgrim centres of Kerala. Located in the Guruvayur town of Thrissur district in Kerala ,India it is easily accessible by road and rail. The presiding deity is MahaVishnu, in standing posture with four hands carrying Sankhu(conch), Sudarshana chakram (a serrated disk),lotus and mace. He is worshipped as Balakrishna, the full avatar (Purnaavatara) of Mahavishnu .The idol is made of a rare stone known as Patala Anjana.
The glory of Guruvayur was revealed by sage Dattatreya to King Janamejaya , the son of Parikshit. According to the sage, the image of Guruvayur was originally worshipped by Narayana.The place has been also come to be justly known as the Dwaraka of the South – thus rests on the of the idol installed there which represents the full manifestation of the Lord Mahavishnu as was revealed to Vasudeva and Devakiat the time of Krishnavaraya; world-enchanting form of Sri Krishna endowed with the four lustrous arms carrying the conch, the discus, the mace and the lotus. Adoring himself with the divine tulasi garland and pearl necklaces, the Lord here appears in all radiance. His eyes stream forth the milk of compassion and kindness.
Set amid the swaying coconut palms, Guruvayur has the scenic beauty characteristic of Kerala. The city dweller can combine holiday and devotion here. The place is administered by the township committee. It has basic amenities such as good drinking water, clean roads, sanitation and hospitals. A few days stay in this holy of holies will prove invigorating both physically and spiritually and help us to forget the cares of the work-a-day world.
This historic temple is shrouded in mystery. According to belief, the temple is the creation of Guru, the preceptor of the Gods, and Vayu, God of the winds. The eastern nada is the main entrance to the shrine. In the Chuttambalam (outer enclosure) is the tall 33.5 m high gold plated Dwajasthambam (flag-post). There is also a 7 metre high Deepasthambam (pillar of lamps), whose thirteen circular receptacles provide a truly gorgeous spectacle when lit. The square Sreekovil is the sacred sanctum sanctorum of the temple, housing the main deity. Within the temple there are also the images of Ganapathy, Lord Ayyappa and Edathedathu Kavil Bhagavathy. Renowned for its healing powers, people make an astonishing range of offerings here to the Lord. One of the most popular offerings is the Thulabharam, where devotees are weighed against bananas, sugar, jaggery and coconuts equivalent to their weight. Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple.
The Sreekovil (Sanctum Sanctorum) is designed in 2 layers with copper sheet roofing plated with gold. The deity is in the traditionally orthodox form of Mahavishnu, with all the compliments – four arms each carrying sankh (conch), chakra (wheel), gadha (club) and padmam (lotus). The Moolavigraha (main idol) is made of Pathalanjana Shila and is considered extremely sacred. There are two more idols one of silver and the other of gold of which the silver idol is more older. These are used for the seeveli and other processions. Generally the gold idol is used and the silver idol which is older is taken out only for Arattu and on a few special occasions. There is repletion of traditional mural paintings on all the three sides, depicting sequences from puranic tales and Krishnaleela. There is amorous and erotic accent in the murals. The old doors of Sreekovil are replaced with a new set secured with gold plated bars and embellished with golden bells. There are 101 bells, all made of silver and plated with gold. Sopanam, the steps leading to the Sreekovil, are made of stone with carvings and designs of excellent craftsmanship.
Srimad Narayaneeyam(which has the stamp of approval by Bhagavan Krishna Himself) begins with the statement: “It is the greatest fortune of mankind in this Kali Yuga that the ParaBrahman manifests itself as Bhagavan Krishna in His Deity in Guruvayoor temple to bless the Bhaktas. He is incomparable, eternal, and free of Maya (illusion), all-pervading and the root cause of the entire Universe. Even the Vedas cannot fully understand Him. Through Krishna-bhakti alone, devotees could easily attain the sanctified feet of Guruvayoor Bhagavan. Although such a very easy Krishna-realization is readily available at Guruvayoor temple, foolish people fail to worship Him. But, Krishna-Bhaktas, with a firm mind take refuge in Guruvayoor-Bhagavan, the very embodiment of ParaBrahman. ”
Mankind is fortunate indeed in having been blessed with Guruvayoor Temple. Shree Guruvayoorappan is ever willing to grant the glorious vision of His charming form and shower His blessings on the Bhaktas who come to Guruvayoor temple. Many Bhaktas are thanking Him for favors already granted, and some praying for desires to be fulfilled, and some just to offer their humble prostrations. Guruvayoorappan has been presented to the devotees, as decreed by Bhagavan Himself for the benefit of mankind in the Kali-yuga.
Many MahAtmAs like Sankaracharya and Vilwamangalam had the divine vision of Bhagavan Shree Krishna in Guruvayoor temple. Guruvayoorappan is Pratyaksa-deva (visible God) to the living legend Bhagavata-hamsam Malliyoor Sankararan Namboodiri.
Guruvayoor temple’s unique Acharams(traditions) including daily rituals and Poojas were formulated by Adi Sankaracharya under Bhagavan’s guidance. These Kshetra-Acharams are being strictly followed without any compromise. The Temple Tantris are available full time at the Temple to ensure this. The Melsanti ( Chief Priest) enters the Sri Kovil ( sanctum sanctorum) at 2:30 AM and he does not drink even a glass of water up to the completion of noon poojas at 12:30 PM. This absolute purity of vedic tradition is the hallmark of Guruvayoor temple.”
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 Krishna temple in the town of Guruvayoor in Kerala is one of the five famous Krishna/Vishnu temples in India. The others are the Jagannath Temple in Puri in Orissa, Tirupati Venkatachalapati in Andhra Pradesh, Nathdwara in Rajasthan and Dwaraka in Gujarat. Of course there are many other famous ones of Vishnu as well as of Krishna but these are considered to be the most popular. Even though the idol in Guruvayoor is that of Vishnu it is still known as a Krishna temple since the boy Lord Krishna is always said to be running around incognito in the temple precincts. Guruvayoor is known as “Bhooloka Vaikunta” or the abode of Vishnu on earth, as the idol represents the full form of Lord Vishnu.
The history of the idol goes back to the hoary past to the age of Dwapara when God Krishna was present on earth. His parents were Vasudeva and Devaki. They two of them had been great devotees of God Vishnu for many ages. After assiduously wooing him for many births, the God had manifested himself to them and promised that he would be born as their son for three lives in succession. He promised them liberation at the end of these three births. This was their last birth as Devaki and Vasudeva in the clan of the Yadavas in the city of Mathura and Krishna was born to them as their eighth son. The idol of God Vishnu which is found in Guruvayoor is one which had been worshipped by Devaki and Vasudeva and one can easily imagine that it must also have been worshipped by God Krishna himself. This is the greatness and glory of this particular idol of God Vishnu – that Vishnu himself had done puja to it in his incarnation as Krishna.
Guruvayoor temple is a typical example for Kerala’s temple Vastuvidya (ancient treatises on architecture). It is faced towards the East with two Gopurams, one at East (Kizhakkenada) and other at West (Padinjarenada).The entire area between these Gopurams is roofed with tiles and known as Anapanthal. At the centre of this is a square shaped pillared hall called Nalambalam, the outer wall of which is fixed with a gallery of oil lamps. At the south side of the Nalambalam, there is a sub shrine of Sasta or Lord Ayyappan.
At the north-east side of this shrine is the Koothambalam, where, in olden times, dance performances were held. In the front and the east side of Nalambalam, the Belikkal and Deepastambas – Pillar of lights are located. There are a number of such light pillars in the temple. The Deepastambas, at each Gopurams ,are of special interest.
The eastern side Deepastambam is 24 feet in height and has thirteen circular receptacles to hold the wicks. Of the other two at West Gopuram, one is in the shape of a tree. Dwijasthamba – It is a flag-staff, around 70 feet height, fully covered with gold.
The square shaped Sree Kovil has two stairs and three rooms inside. The inner most room is known as Garbhagriha (The idol of Lord Krishna is placed here). Here, the two doors and the roof are covered by Gold. All the articles inside the Garbhagriha are in Gold.
The outer room is called Mukhamandapam. The wall of Sree Kovil is decorated with ancient (17th century) murals. In front of the Sree Kovil is the Namaskara Mandapam, square in shape and with a pyramidal roof. Surrounding this is a pillared square hall called Nalambalam or Chuttambalam. A gallery of oil lamps is fixed on the wall of Nalambalam. In the north-eastern side of the Sree Kovil is the temple well called Manikinar. In the North side of the temple, a sub shrine of Devi, ‘Edathirithi Kavu’ is situated.
The Oottupura, the place for prasadauttu is also located in the north side Here, the daily lunch is arranged for the devotees .Next to it is the temple tank Rudratheertha which is located near the north side of the temple.
The Sreekovil (Sanctum Sanctorum) is designed in 2 layers with copper sheet roofing plated with gold. The deity is in the traditionally orthodox form of Mahavishnu, with all the compliments – four arms each carrying sankh (conch), chakra(wheel), gadha (club) and padmam (lotus). The Moolavigraha (main idol) is made of Pathalanjana Shila and is considered extremely sacred.
There are two more idols one of silver and the other of gold of which the silver idol is more older. These are used for the seeveli and other processions. Generally the gold idol is used and the silver idol which is more older is taken out only for Arattu and on a few special occasions. There is repletion of traditional mural paintings on all the three sides, depicting sequences from puranic tales and Krishnaleela. There is amorous and erotic accent in the murals.
The old doors of Sreekovil are replaced with a new set secured with gold plated bars and embellished with golden bells. There are 101 bells, all made of silver and plated with gold. Sopanam, the steps leading to the Sreekovil, are made of stone with carvings and designs of attractive craftsmanship.
The roofed structure around the ankana is the Nalambalam. Before the 1970 fire, there was a chuttambalam (separate passage around Sreekovil between the Vathilmatam and the Vilakkumatam). Now all are made under single roof and one cannot find the chuttambalam in some places like the Ganapathy shrine.The southern side is divided in to five parts.
It is the inner courtyard around the Sreekovil (central shrine) and its passage is flanked by vathilmatam.
The two platforms on both sides of the Eastern entrance to the Sreekovil are called Vathilmatam.Melpathur meditated and composed his magnum opus Narayaneeyam sitting here on the eastern pillar on the southern Vathilmatam.The northern side was initially being used by the paradesa Brahmins and the southern side by the KeralaBrahmins for daily orisons.
The mandapam is situated right in the center of the chuttambalam or Nalambalam and just right in front of the Sreekovil. The roof is supported by four granite pillars. The mandapam is plated with 100 kg copper and 25 kg gold.
Titappalli is the place where the offerings to the Lord are prepared.
Patakkalam is the place where the pata (cooked rice) offered to the Lord is being distributed.
Turakka Ara, literally the unopened chamber, which is an underground cell where the reserve cash, gold and silver are believed to be hidden in ancient days. It remains closed with a huge granite stone. It is widely believed that this contains rare and precious stones including the mythological “Syamanthakam”. Legend has it that the treasures inside the chamber are closely guarded by innumerable serpents.
Saraswathi Ara, where the palm leaf manuscripts are kept for worship during the Navarathri festival. Now it is shifted to the Koothambalam.
Where the Ganapathy is worshipped.
In between the Ganapathyshrine and the store room the temple priests prepare sandal paste and Variyar make garlands.
Northern Chuttambalam is towards the east of store room. It consists ofa small open hall, the chottara, where the temple servants keep the choru (cooked rice).
Earlier coconut oil room [now shifted].
The northern part of chottarafrom where saint Villwamangalam had the darshan of Unnikrishna dancing.
Mulayara is the place where the pots filled with earth and ritually sown with different seeds and worshipped before the beginning of the Annual Utsavam every year.
The office of the Akakoymas (in the old administrative setup), whose charge is to see that the poojas of the day are conducted properly.
There is a deep well to the south of Nrithapura. Nowhere in the neighborhood, there is such clear and cool water. The water in the well maintains its level throughout the year. This water is used for the daily poojas and abhishekam inside Sreekovil.
The roof expanse inside the temple between the Eastern Gopuram and the balickalpura is called Nadappura . ‘Aanappanthal’ is the northern portion of nadappura. It acquired the name from its giant size. (aana means elephant and panthal means pavilion). Here annaprasam , thulabharam etc. are being conducted . Formerly marriages were conducted under it but now marriages are shifted to the Kalyana Mandapam.
Bhahyankanam is the outer courtyard where the procession for the Seeveli takes place. It is open both on the south and the west. The northern courtyard was in the past covered by a tiled roof ( now by a concrete roof ) with a small opening near its western end for acharyabhivandanam , in commemoration of Sankaracharya`s forced landing . Beyond the Sastha shrine and the opening on the courtyard from the opposite side are the store rooms , the quarters for the temple priests , the Patinjare Gopuram , also the aduppukalam ( big kitchen) , where the rice and other items for the feasts are prepared.
There are two storied Gopurams at the eastern and western entrances which house some of the rare frescos of the 16th century. These mural paintings are distinct from those found in other temples in their theme and style. Some of the paintings were damaged in the course of time and due to the fire in 1970, and were then repainted.
The massive array of metal lamps round the Sreekovil on the outer walls of the Nalambalam. Around 8000 brass metal lamps fixed on the wooden trellis, around the temple are lighted on the festival and special days or by an offering.
Dhwajasthambam or the flag-staff rises amidst the eastern bahyankana which has a tiled roof. Dhwajasthambam is encased in plated gold at a height of 600 feet. Flag is hoisted to mark the beginning of the Annual Utsavam and will be there till the Arattu day.
Situated south of Kizhakke Gopuram and near the south east corner of the bahyankana, is the valiya mani (big bell), announcing the time by its hourly chiming.
It is the stage or the theatre for presenting the Chakiyar koothu . Koothambalam is located in the front and to the right of the presiding deity. The pillars and the ceilings of it are profusely engraved , painted and lavishly embellished with ornamental filigrees and fittings.
Just in front of the temple there is a huge tower of light, it has thirteen discs including basement and is 24 feet in height. There are four Deepasthambams made of brass, inside the temple. One at northern wing was smashed by the Gajarajan Kesavan. The eastern tower, Kizhakke Gopuram (eastern tower) is 33 feet and Patinjhare Gopuram (western tower) is 27 feet in height.
Towards the south from the Kizhakke Gopuram is Kovilakam, the place where Prince Manavedan had been residing during the days of composition of Krishna Geethi. This has been demolished and Sreevalsam rest house have come-up.
On the northern bank of the Rudratheertham is an Athani (porters’ rest), in memory of a Kantiyur Pattar, a trusted servant of the temple who got murdered on an Utsava day. As a mark of respect, Lord’s Arattu procession stops here for a minute.
On the north-east bank of Rudratheertham in the Inner-ring road is the tantrimadam or the official residence of the Tantri.
There were many residences on the right side of the street.The Pazhaya othikkans madam, the residence of the Thiyyarambalam priests, Mallisseri Malika and Chondath Malika on the Kizhakee nada are no more now. Till the temple entry of 1947, Thiyyas and other avarnas (lower cast people) were permitted to approach only up to Thiyyarambalam. About a furlong and a half from the Thiyyarambalam is Manjulal (the banyan tree). This is the starting point of the elephant race which precedes Kodiyettam (hosting of the flag) for the Annual Utsavam.”
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 princess 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.
It is here that the Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri composed his Sanskrit devotional poem called Narayaneeyam. The temple is well-known for its healing powers and is the site for Annaprasanam, the first rice-giving ceremony of a child. Every year, the 28th of Malayalam month Vrischikam is celebrated as Narayaneeyam Day. In 2013, Narayaniyam Day is on 13th December 2013.
The temple is built in a typical Kerala temple architecture. Vishwakarma, the divine architect built the first temple here. He built the temple in such a manner that Surya (Sun) himself pays obeisance to Vishnu on Vishnu day. On the Vishnu day, the first rays of Sun fall directly at the feet of Vishnu.The main entrance to the temple is through the eastern side. There is also an entrance from western side. The idol is visible from the main entrance itself.
The eye-filling figure of Lord Guruvayurappan in the sanctum sanctorum is the full manifestation of Lord Mahavishnu as was revealed to Devaki and Vasudeva at the time of Krishnavatara.The God-head is contemplated in two different ways: as manifested (Personal, Saguna, with attributes); and as unmanifested (impersonal, Nirguna, without attributes).The deity at Guruvayur is manifested form of Sri Krishna at His birth.
According to the Silpa Sastra and mediation. Great attention should be paid to its eyes, eyebrows and forehead. The lips should be slightly parted in a smile and the neck graceful like a conch sell. The arms should be like the trunk of an elephant and the thighs like the stem of a plantain tree. A beautiful belly and shapely feet are the excellences of the idol.
Of Vishnu images in particular, it is said that they are generally shown in one of the three postures: Sthanaka (Standing), Asana (Sitting), Sayana (reclining). They have usually four arms carrying the Sankha (conch), the Chakra (discus), the Gada (mace) and the bow and arrows. Of ornaments, they are shown to carry several, such as the Padma or the lotus, the Kirita or the crown, the Makara-kundalas or the crocodile earrings, the Keyura or armlets ,the Kankanas or wristlets, the Udarabandhas or girdles, the sacred thread etc. Then there is the Srivatsa mark on the right chest, the vaijayantimala ( a garland reaching up to the knees) and the Kaustubha or gem sacred to Lakshmi, adoring the chest.
The entire existence of this town rotates round the sanctuary and there is almost no movement past what is associated with the sanctuary despite the fact that there are a couple of other foremost sanctuaries in the territory. One can get to Guruvayoor via auto or train from the town of Thrissur which is near Cochin. There are numerous flights interfacing Cochin with all the huge towns of India.
Ruler Krishna in Guruvayoor is prominently called Sri Guruvayoorappan. Appan implies ruler or father so the title implies the Lord of Guruvayoor. The little icon is made of the stone known as dark antimony and is an attractive stone said to have unique therapeutic properties. Each morning the Lord is anointed in til oil. He is then sprinkled with an exceptional purging powder made of herbs known as “vaka”. This powder is light chestnut in shading and gives an additional tint to the icon. Swarms go to the sanctuary at 3 A.M keeping in mind the end goal to see this beguiling sight. At that point water from the sanctuary, sanctified with mantras is poured over the symbol for his custom shower. This heavenly water is then anxiously tanked by the devotees since it is said to contain a tad bit of the wonderful properties of the stone of which the symbol is made.
The one of a kind component of the symbol of Sree Guruvayoorappan is that it is worked out of an uncommon stone called Patala Anjana. The Lord is found in the standing stance with four hands (Chaturbahu) conveying the Sankhu (conch), the Sudarshana Chakram (a serrated circle), the lotus and the mace. Legends say that the symbol is over 5000 years of age. The symbol was once revered by Mahavishnu and after that gave it over to Lord Brahma.
It will be seen that the deity of Lord Krishna at Guruvayur stands all by itself in the central shrine, unaccompanied by any of His consorts as is the case with some other Vaishnava temples. Other images in the temple are Ganapati Sasta or Ayyappa and Bhagavati.The Ganapati shrine is situated within the Nalambalam itself at the south-west corner. The Sasta shrine is outside the Nalambalam on the south-east corner. The goddess is called Edatharikathu Kavil Bhagavati .Her shrine is called Edatharikathu Kavu, which in Malayalam means the shrine located on the left side.
According to the legends, the idol worshipped here is more than 5000 years old. But there are no historical records to establish it. In the 14th century Tamil literature ‘Kokasandesam’, references about a place called Kuruvayur is there. As early as 16th century (50 years after the Narayaneeyam was composed) many references are noted about Kuruvayur. In ancient Dravidic, Kuruvai means sea, hence the village on the coast may be called Kuruvayur.
But according to Prof. K V Krishna Iyer (eminent historian), the Brahmins had begun to come and settle at Kodungalloor during the period of Chandra Gupta Maurya ( 321-297 BC). Trikkunavay in the Guruvayur documents is the same as Thrikkanamathilakam or Mathilakam mentioned in the Dutch and British records. And this place was in between Guruvayur and Kodungalloor. Guruvayur was Trikkunavay’s subordinate shrine since they were destroyed by the Dutch in 1755. That way Guruvayur must have come into existence before 52 AD. The story of Pandyan King building a shrine here may be a reference to the Azhavars , but they are all silent in their writing about Guruvayur.
It was Melpathur’s Narayaneeyam through which the Temple got publicity. The concept of Unnikrishna popularised by Poonthanam , Kururamma, and Villwamangalam brought more and more devotees to Guruvayur.
The Legend says that when the sanctuary of Dwarka was submerged under the ocean, Guru and Vayu were appointed the employment to find a just as heavenly place for a new sanctuary. At last, when they found the site, the spot came to be known as Guruvayur and the god, Guruvayurappan. The primary icon is said to have introduced by Brihaspati (Guru) and Vayu, by the gifts of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
The most established notice of Guruvayur is traceable in ‘Kokasandesam’, a fourteenth century Tamil work. In this sacred text, it is expressed as Kuruvayur. Guruvayoor has scores of references underway of sixteenth century. The sanctuary really got popular with Melpathur’s ‘Narayaniyam’. At this dwelling place Lord, most extreme number of relational unions is watched each year.
The historical backdrop of the icon backpedals to the ancient past to the time of Dwapara when Lord Krishna was alive. His guardians were Vasudeva and Devaki. She was the sister of Kamsa, the merciless lord of Mathura. They two of them had been incredible devotees of Lord Vishnu for some ages. After diligently charming him for some births, the Lord had showed himself to them and guaranteed that he would be conceived as their child for three lives in progression. He guaranteed them freedom toward the end of these three births. This was their last conception as Devaki and Vasudeva in the group of the Yadavas in the city of Mathura and Krishna was destined to them as their eighth child. The symbol of Lord Vishnu which is found in Guruvayoor is one which had been adored by Devaki and Vasudeva and one can without much of a stretch envision that it should likewise have been worshipped by Lord Krishna himself. This is the significance and heavenliness of this specific symbol of Lord Vishnu – that Vishnu himself had done puja to it in his incarnation as Krishna.
Toward the end of his natural stay, Krishna forecasted to his companion and aficionado, Uddhava that the island of Dwaraka, which had been his fortress, would be cleared away by the ocean, seven days after he exited his mortal body. He trained him to protect the valuable symbol of Vishnu which his guardians had worshipped, and hand it over to Brihaspati, the master of the divine beings who might come to him. Following seven days, the island submerged in the ocean as predicted by Lord Krishna. Uddhava went unfortunately to the seashore and saw the icon swaying here and there on the waves far out in the ocean. He asked the wind god – Vayu to convey it closer to him. The wind wafted it tenderly to the shore and Uddhava lifted it up affectionately and supported it in his arms. As he was thinking about how to contact the master of the divine beings, he found that Brihaspati himself was strolling towards him. Uddhava recounted to him the entire story of how Lord Krishna had taught him and Brihaspati who knew everything consented to take it and introduce it at some unique spot. He was certain that he would be given further guidelines.
Presently Brihaspati asked Vayu, the wind god to transport him through the air with the goal that they could pick a flawless spot for the establishment. Conveying the valuable icon in his grasp, Brihaspati was wafted over the sub-landmass of India till they came practically to the ocean shore to the spot where the present town of Guruvayoor now stands. Looking down Brihaspati saw a wonderful lake loaded with lotuses on the banks of which Shiva and Parvati were moving. He was enchanted by the sight and he asked for Vayu to buoy him down. For quite a while he stood entranced by the moving couple. When they had completed he prostrated to them and asked Shiva to let him know of a flawless spot to introduce the icon of Vishnu. Shiva said this was for sure the perfect spot. He instructed him to construct the sanctuary in that spot toward one side of the lake where he and Parvati had been moving. He charitably said that he himself would take up home at the flip side of the lake which was known as Rudrathirta.
The sanctuary of Mammiyoor to which Shiva moved still exists. However over the span of time the lake went away little by little and now just the sanctuary tank connecting the Guruvayoor sanctuary stays to tell the story of this old lake. The word Guruvayoor has exceptional undertones. It is comprised of two words “master” and “vayu”. Master means preceptor and vayu is wind. The icon was introduced by Brihaspati, the master of the divine beings and Vayu, the lord of wind and subsequently came to be known as Guru-vayoor! The word likewise has an obscure significance. It remains for the body of the individual which is the habitation wind. The five pranas or imperative breaths are what support the body and make it work legitimately.
In spite of the fact that the icon follows its relic to the Dwapara Yuga, the present sanctuary is just around five hundred years of age. However the holy place more likely than not existed in some structure or other even at the season of the Mahabharata. At the point when the Pandavas withdrew from this world, they cleared out their kingdom to Arjuna’s grandson, Parikshit who was their just surviving descendants. Parikshit passed on of snake chomp and his child Janamejaya vowed to take revenge on the ruler of snakes and completed an enormous sarpa yajna, or penance of snakes, in which a huge number of snakes died in the flares. For this shocking wrongdoing he was reviled by the snakes and turned into an outsider. Compelled to leave his castle and his kingdom, he meandered hopelessly from sanctuary to sanctuary till he went to the hallowed place of Lord Guruvayoorappan. Here it is said that he did tapasya for a long time and was in the long run completely cured of his fear ailment.
The following notice of the sanctuary is in the archives of the historical backdrop of the Pandyan lords who governed south India in the fourteenth and fifteenth hundreds of years. The legend goes that one of the rulers of this line was informed that he would bite the dust of snake bit. In sadness he went and supplicated at the place of worship of Lord Guruvayoorappan till the day which had been prognosticated by the soothsayer came and went without accident. He doubted the celestial prophet about this and was advised to look at the heel of his left foot precisely. There he saw the signs of a snake’s teeth. Because of the beauty of Lord Guruvayoorappan he had been spared from beyond any doubt demise. The thankful ruler assembled the sanctuary and enriched it with assets to complete the pujas. The present structure of the sanctuary hails from that time.
Another wonder recorded in the sanctuary history happened in the sixteenth century. The acclaimed writer and researcher, Meppathur Narayana Bhattathiri, formed the lyric known as “Narayananeeyam”, which is a superb epic in Sanskrit comprising of one thousand and thirty six verses. The structure of the ballad is associated with a marvel.
Narayana Bhattathiri was conceived is a group of Namboodiris, who are the Brahmin station of Kerala. By the age of sixteen he was an incredible Vedic researcher. In any case he soon fell into terrible organization and started to disregard the day by day obligations urged on him by his position and childhood. His dad in-law was an extremely devout and learned crystal gazer. One morning when he was situated on the veranda examining a yantra before him, Bhattathiri who had woken up late came surging out and in his rush to achieve the yard he bounced over the sacrosanct yantra. The old man censured him in solid terms for his carelessness in the quest for his swadharma and for scattering this human life which ought to have been spent in the quest for the last objective of freedom. Some way or another the impact of this censure was electrical. He understood his error and guaranteed to patch his ways and asked the old man to acknowledge him as his pupil.
Bhattathiri got to be one of his most prominent devotees. In his later years the crystal gazer was hit with handicapping rheumatoid joint inflammation. Bhattathiri was an extremely extraordinary follower of Lord Guruvayoorappan at this point and he asked the Lord to permit him to assume control over the ailment of his expert. Obviously the old man enhanced and Bhattathiri reached the fear malady. He was completely tormented and could barely move. He made his companions take him to Guruvayoor. Each morning he would wash up and be conveyed to the sanctuary. Here he sat propped up by the wooden column on the eastern side of the southern yard and created his unfading exemplary called “The Narayaneeyam” which is a dense form of the Srimad Bhagavata Purana which depicts the glories of all the ten incarnations of Vishnu with uncommon reference to the Krishnavatara. The hundred-canto ballad takes after the first nearly and depicts every one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu beginning with the “Fish”. Actually he explained finally on the life of Lord Krishna. Consistently horrendously, he would proceed with his willful undertaking and toward the end of every canto he would ask the Lord to cure him of his desperate infection.
The uncommon thing about “The Narayaneeyam” is that it is tended to specifically to the Lord of Guruvayoor. Bhattathiri envisioned the kid Krishna sitting before him listening ardently to the stories of his own incarnations. Subsequently huge numbers of the stories sound as though they are being advised to a tyke. On occasion the agony would be excessively exceptional for him and he would stop amidst a story and toss his stylus down and decline to go any further despite the fact that the kid was on edge to hear the end of the story. Right now it is said that the tyke Krishna would approach and stroke his appendages and make him fit to go ahead with the story the following day.
As the days and months snuck past with Bhattathiri singing the gestures of recognition of the Lord, he showed signs of improvement. When he sang the last canto he was totally cured. Also he was honored with a dream of the Lord remaining inside the sanctum and grinning at him. The hundredth canto is a portrayal of this heavenly vision. He begins this canto with the words, “before me I am seeing” Bhattathiri lived to the ready seniority of a hundred and six years. He spent the vast majority of his life in the sanctuary adoring the Lord of his heart. The sonnet is without a doubt a diamond of both dedication and education. Despite the fact that the majority of the sanctuary has been re-displayed and the columns changed into marble, the wooden column on which Bhattathiri rested amid his strenuous work of adoration is still held.
Notice ought to likewise be made here of a percentage of the renowned aficionados of the Lord of Guruvayoor. The old Namboodiri Brahmin known as Poonthanam was an awesome devotee and numerous supernatural occurrences occurred amid his lifetime. What he needed in intelligence he made up in dedication and his renowned lyric called
The present pujas or customs which are directed in the sanctuary are presumed to have been built up by Parashurama, the 6th incarnation of Vishnu, why should assumed have set up the majority of the ceremonial observances in all the immense Kerala sanctuaries. There is a fascinating tale about Adi Shankaracharya, the acclaimed originator of Advaita Vedanta or the school of non-dualism which is associated with the sanctuary of Guruvayoor. Around then Shankaracharya supported just contemplation on the incomparable Brahman, the undefined Absolute. He had numerous siddhis or supernormal forces and one day when he was going through the air, he happened to disregard the sanctuary of Guruvayoor where Guruvayoorappan was being conveyed round on an elephant on his every day morning ride! This is a custom which happens three times each day and group rush to see the show. Shankaracharya was going to go on with scarcely a look at the parade underneath, when regardless of his astonishing forces, he got himself persuasively dragged to the ground keeping in mind the end goal to bow to the exemplified Brahman who was being conveyed round on an elephant!! After this he turned into an awesome devotee of the Lord. It is to be noticed that despite the fact that he was a sovereign.
Poonthanam (AD 1547-1640)Poonthanam and Melpathur were contemporaries. Poonthanam was the family name, his personal name is not known. He married a heiress at 20, but for a long time, they had no children. Poonthanam began to propitiate the Lord of Guruvayur. A son was born to him in 1586. He called for a celebration and everybody known was invited , but the child died an hour before the ceremony. Grief-stricken Poonthanam sought refuge at Guruvayur and started praying with the puranic story of Kumaraharanam . By this time Melpathur had also come to Guruvayur to cure his rheumatism.
Gradually Poonthanam become enlightened and realised – while little Krishna is dancing in our hearts, why do we need little ones of our own?. Poonthanam spent the rest of his life of 90 odd years reading the Bhagavatham and singing the Lord’s glories in simple Malayalam. He composed ‘Bahsakarnamritham’, a devotional work. The Anandakarnamritham (dance of ecstasy) was his last contribution to devotional literature.
Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri(1559-1632), third student of Achyuta Pisharati, was a member of Madhava of Sangamagrama’s Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics. He was a mathematical linguist (vyakarana). His masterpiece is considered the Prkriya-sarvawom, which sets forth an axiomatic system elaborating on the classical system of Panini. He is most famous for his Narayaneeyam a devotional composition that is still sung at the temple where he worked, Guruvayoor.
Villwamangalam(1575-1660)Villwamangalam II was Prince Manavedan’s spiritual mentor. Villwamangalam is the name of the illam in which the saint was born. He settled in Parur near Aluva. Like his ancestor, he also joined the order of the Thekkemadam at Thrissur. He was also a peripatetic religious traveler and had also the miraculous gift of seeing the Lord in person as distinguished from the idol. There is hardly any temple in Kerala that has not coined some story associating with his name. Almost every one of them reflects his divine insight and special equations with the presiding deity.
Kururamma (AD 1570-1640)Kururamma was born in 1570 in the village of Parur, near the house of Villwamangalam. Her maiden name was Dhatri.By marriage she became Kururamma, the senior-most lady of the Kurur illam in the village of Adatthu near Trichur. She was a childless widow and settled in Guruvayur as a devotee. Thanks to Poonthanam, she adopted Unnikrishna of Guruvayur as her son. She lived with him, fondling him, playing with him, chiding him when he became naughty and weeping at his childish freaks. The song of “Kani kanum neram” is generally attributed to her.Kururamma completed the mission of devotion by asserting the right of women, on her own, to spiritual evolution and eventual salvation by chanting the holy name.
Manavedan (AD1595-1658)Prince Manavedan of Calicut was born in 1595 and had early education in Sanskrit. He wrote Purvabharatha Champu in 1643. He might have been familiar with Melpathur and Poonthanam during his time. Later he became the disciple of Villwamangalam II. With his devotion to Lord and guidance of Villwamangalam, he saw the Lord as Unnikrishna , standing under the Elajhi tree on the way from the Palace to the temple. The present Koothambalam is located at this spot. The Prince wrote a series of eight dramas for Krishnanattam . The Krishnanattam began to be staged in the temple regularly as an offering to the Lord.
Further, the Zamorins’ subjects and friends of other Principalities vied with each other to invite the troupe to their place as a mark of devotion to the Lord. Thus the dance-drama, Krishnanattam , became yet another medium to spread the fame of Guruvayur all over Kerala. There is a memorial built for Manavedan in the Panchajanyam Guest house compound.
Ekadasi, the eleventh day of each lunar fortnight, is extremely promising to the Hindus. Of the 24 Ekadasis in a year, the Vrishchika Ekadasi (Suklapaksha) has got unique criticalness in Guruvayur. It falls in the Mandala season. The Navami (ninth day) and Dasami (tenth day) are additionally critical. Ekadasi Vilakku begins a month prior to the Ekadasi day as offerings by various persons, families and associations. On Navami day, the Vilakku is lit with ghee as an offering by Kolady crew. The Dasami Vilakku which used to be an offering of Zamorin Raja, is presently led by Guruvayurappan Sankeerthana Trust. After the sanctuary is open on this day for Nirmalya darshan ( 3.00AM ), it is shut just at 9.00 am on Dwadasi Day (twelfth day), in this way permitting proceeds darshan for aficionados all through Dasami and Ekadasi Days. Until the sanctuary passage for all Hindus in 1947, Avarnas (lower station) were permitted to come up to Thiyyarambalam on Dasami day (in the middle of Manjulal and Eastern Gopuram). On Dwadasi day there is a custom of offering a token sum called Dwadasi Panam in Koothambalam for the welfare of the gang.
A highlight of the Ekadasi is the dedication honor for Gajarajan Kesavan . The Karanavar or leader of the elephant family puts a wreath at the statue of Kesavan before Sreevalsam visitor house and the various elephants stand around and pay respect. On Ekadasi day, the Udayasthamana Pooja (constant pooja) is led by the Devaswom itself. After the morning seeveli, on Ekadasi there is a stipend elephant parade to the Parthasarathi sanctuary since it is viewed as Geethopadesam Day too. On Ekadasi after night pooja the well-known Ekadasi Vilakku with elephant parade happens and gives a fitting finale to the celebration.
As a part of the Ekadasi fete, a 11-day Chembai music celebration is sorted out, in which a mind blowing exhibit of somewhere in the range of 2000 Carnatic artists give their best. The famous performers of South India take part in this celebration. The devotees think of it as exceptionally propitious to direct the arangettam – the presentation – on this day before the Lord.
Guruvayur, the Utsavam goes on for ten days. Starting upon the arrival of Pushya (the eighth asterism) in the month of Kumbham ( February-March), it closes after the Aarattu on the tenth day. Religiously, it is the reclamation of awesome Chaithanya. Brahmakalasam is gone before by the Utsavam. It is gone for the cleansing and energisation of the forces of the divinity. It is the remainder of the long arrangement of customs of kalasam and toward the end, the banner will be lifted proclaiming the Utsavam.
Socially, it comprises of different parades, brightening and unobtrusive fire-works (this is a claim to fame of Guruvayur Utsavam that no explosives are utilized, not at all like the majority of the other Kerala sanctuaries). Each of the ten days, the spot wears a bubbly look, avenues spruced up with curves, trims and so forth. Houses crisply thatched and painted. Each place of worship and building is tastefully brightened with lights, plantain trunks, bundles of coconut and arecanuts. Two Gopurams and the bahyankana (external patio) are extravagantly embellished with enlightenments and eye-getting electric showcases. The lights, deepasthambams and vilakku are all helped.
Mandala pooja starts on the principal day of the Malayalam month of Vrishchikam. This is a time of 41 days for the journey to the place of worship of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala. The greater parts of the aficionados who go to Sabarimala additionally visit Guruvayur.
At Guruvayur, there will be uncommon abhishekam with panchagavya (blend of five results of cow – milk, curd, ghee, pee and bovine manure) on all days. Numerous enthusiasts visit the place of worship to share of it, since it is accepted to consume every inward impurity. Chakkiyar Koothu happens after lunch. Krishnanattam might be performed after Athazha pooja . Mandalam reaches end with Kalabhaattam (pouring blend of wax, saffron, camphor and rose water) on the divinity. This exceptional offering is made just once in a year and it is the innate benefit of the Zamorin Rajas.
Moreover, the three seevelis amid mandalam will be led with three elephants and they take five rounds around the sanctuary. The well-known Guruvayur Ekadasi celebration, Melpathur statue establishment day, Narayaneeyam day and Kuchela day likewise happen amid Mandalam, along these lines making it the busiest season at Guruvayur. Amid this season, exceptional courses of action are made for “kettunira” and “malayidal” before the Sastha hallowed place inside the sanctuary.
Of the 9 days of the Navarathri celebration, the most recent three days are uniquely hallowed for goddess Saraswathy who directs the universe of learning and expressive arts. Youngsters are started into learning on the most recent day known as Vidyarambham day. The preparation in Krishnanattam, Kathakali, Kalaripayattu, (conventional military artistic expression of Kerala) and so on by and large starts on this day.
On the Uthradam day of the month of Chingam (August-September), a large number of aficionados bring “Kazhcha kulas” (clusters of Banana) as offering to the Lord. These bananas are given to every one of the elephants of Guruvayur Devaswom around the same time or following day. On Thiruvonam day, free Onam feast with Pazhaprathaman is given to a great many devotees.
Ashtami Rohini in Chingam (August-September) is the birthday of Lord Krishna. Appam and Palpayasam are thought to be essential offerings on this day. Unique blowout is organized the enthusiasts.
It implies new rice. It is a formal start of the utilization of rice from the new reap season for offering in the sanctuary. Puthari payasam is offered to Lord; it happens in the month of Chingam.
The Vaishakha is the lunar month beginning from new moon of Medam (April-May). The Vaishakha vratham (quick) is propitious and holy to Vishnu. The vratham can be followed in the routine of morning ablutions, sustaining poor people, keeping quick, taking prasadams from the offerings to the Lord and partaking in the celestial talks. The third day of this current month – Akshaya-thrithiya – conception day of Balarama, is the most favorable. Palpayasam is the fundamental offering and devour is additionally masterminded amid the whole Vaishakha month.
The principal day of Medam ( mid April) is the new year day for Malayalees. Individuals trust that the fortunes for the following year rely on upon the way of the items one finds in the morning of Vishu. For this reason, Kani (a sign) with articles like yellow blossoms, rice, betel nuts, brilliant coins and so on is shown before the divinity. Thousands like to see Kani at Guruvayur on Vishu morning. Swarms stay overnight inside the patio of sanctuary, which is exceptionally allowed on this day. They close their eyes and set their eyes on the Kani and god, as the entryways are opened at 2.30 am for darshan.
The main Wednesday of the month of Dhanu (December) is commended as Kuchela Dinam. It depends on the conviction that it was on this day that Kuchela, a fervent aficionado of Lord Krishna offered Aval (dried rice) to him and consequently achieved endless rapture and material property. Avil offering is viewed as promising on this day.
The Samkrama Sandhyas, an exceptionally propitious event for love of the Lord, is seen by the aficionados on the eve of every Malayalam month in the soul of extreme commitment and devotion. A large number of individuals stream into the sanctuary for a darshan of the Lord at the season of Deeparadhana. Otherworldly talks and different social projects befitting Hindu confidence are held at Melpathur Auditorium.
Celebrations like Ulsavam, Vishu, Ashtami Rohini, Mandalam, Ekadasi, Ashtami Rohini, Kuchela’s Day, Chembai Music Festival and Narayaneeyam day are the significant events that watch unique festivals at Guruvayur Temple. On exceptional occasions, the hallowed pictures are gotten out to take a parade in Guruvayur town. At the season of celebrations, the whole is enriched with endless margarine lights, which genuinely reproduces the impression of the festivities.
3.00am to 3.20am
3.20am to 3.30am
Thailabhishekam, Vakacharthu, Sankhabhishekam
3.30am to 4.15am
Malar Nivedyam, Alankaram
4.15am to 4.30am
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)
4.30pm to 5.00pm
6.00pm to 6.45pm
7.30pm to 7.45pm
Athazha pooja Nivedyam
7.45pm to 8.15pm
8.45pm to 9.00pm
9.00pm to 9.15pm
The Sreekovil will be closed
The timings given are approximate. It may vary if there is Udayasthamana pooja or on certain special occasions.
There are five poojas and three seevelis daily in Guruvayoor Temple. The temple opens at 3’o clock in the morning after ‘Palliyunarthal’ (Ritual awakening of the Lord). The first darshan is ‘Nirmalya Darsanam’, or the darshan with the decorations of the previous day, considered very auspicious. It is believed that the Lord has the highest power in this period. After this, the idol is bathed with sesame oil. As the idol is made up of a stone with high medicinal values, it is believed that this oil cures even the most fatal diseases, especially paralysis, thus it is given as Prasadam. Later, a herbal mixture called ‘vaka’ is dropped upon the idol, to extract oil from the idol. This is the famous ‘Guruvayoor Vakacharthu’. It is a rare sight to see the idol full of this powder, without any decoration. After this, the idol is bathed with the water taken from the temple pond which is filled in a conch. This is called ‘Sankhabhishekam’.
The abhishekams, or the holy bathing, ends with the bathing of the idol with the water taken from the temple pond which is filled in a golden pot. After this, the idol is decorated with sandal paste and ornaments. At this time, the Lord is decorated as infant Krishna, wearing a red loincloth and holding butter and flute on his hands. A special type of puffed rice called ‘Malar’ is offered after this. By this time, it becomes around 4:15. After Malar Nivedyam, the nada is closed for ‘Usha Pooja’, or morning worship. At this period, the offerings include Neypayasam (Ghee pudding), Butter, Vella Nivedyam (Cooked white rice), Kadalipazham (A special kind of plantain), Jaggery, A special type of sugar and Thrimadhuram (A mixture of three sweets). The nada opens after Usha Pooja at 4:45. Later, until ‘Ethirettu Pooja’, or the pooja at sunrise, the devotees are allowed to darshan. ‘Ethirettu Pooja’ starts at 5:30 and lasts until sunrise.
This got the name because this pooja is conducted as a part of receiving the first rays of the rising sun, towards which the idol is facing. At this time, ‘Ganapathi Homam’ is conducted and sub-deities are offered food. After ‘Ethirettu Pooja’, the procession idol is taken for ‘Seeveli’, or the holy procession. The meaning of this observance is that the Lord directly sees his guards offering food. There are many small stones called ‘Balikkallu’ around the sanctum sanctorum (sreekovil), representing the eight directional guards (Indra for east, Agni for south-east, Yama for south, Nirrti for south-west, Varuna for west, Vayu for north-west, Kubera for north and Ishana for north-east), seven mothers (Brahmi, Vaishnavi, Maheshwari, Indrani, Varahi, Kaumari and Chamundi) along with Veerabhadra and Ganapathi as the guards, Shastha, Durga, Subrahmanya, Anantha, etc. Melsanthi, the main priest, offers the food, while Keezhsanthi, the assistant priest, goes with the idol. After one circumambulation (pradakshinam), the idol is taken outwards. The Melsanthi walks in front with food, water and flower while the Keezhsanthi mounts on the top of an elephant and goes with the idol. The procession goes around, supported by musical instruments like Chenda, Edakka, Maddalam, Thimila, Ilathalam, Kombu, Kurumkuzhal, Thavil and Nadaswaram and the ‘Namasankeerthanam’ by devotees.
There are three circumambulations, one inside the nalambalam and the other two outside. The seeveli ends with the food offered at the big balikkallu in front of the sreekovil, just behind the flagstaff (Kodimaram). By then it will be 7:30. After the seeveli, the idol is again bathed, this time with the water taken from the temple well. Later, it is also bathed with cow’s milk, Coconut water (Ilaneer/Karikku) and Rosewater. After this, nine silver pots are filled with the water from both the pond and the well and after special poojas by Melsanthi, they are taken to the sreekovil and the idol is bathed with this water. This is called ‘Navakabhishekam’. Later, the idol is again decorated with sandal paste. This time, the Lord appears as a teenager who is still angry after killing his maternal uncle, Kamsa. He wears a yellow dhoti now. At around 8’o clock, when the shadow is 12 ft long, another pooja is conducted. This is called ‘Pantheeradi Pooja’, named after the length of the shadow at this time. At this time, there are no special offerings. These poojas are done by traditional priests called ‘Othikkans’. After this, it is the time to darshan until ‘Ucha Pooja’, or noon worship. At around 10’o clock, there will start ‘Prasada Oottu’ in the Oottupara (Temple dining hall).
The nada is closed at 11:30 for Ucha Pooja. At this time, the Lord is offered a special type of pudding called ‘Idichu Pizhinja Payasam’. A Brahmin, who is believed to be a representative of the Lord, is fed with a delicious feast after washing his hands. Also, Ashtapadi, the verses from Geethagovindam is sung by playing Edakka at this time. Ucha Pooja is normally done by the Melsanthi himself, but on special occasions, it is conducted either by the Thanthri (During Ulsavam, Kalasam & Thripputhari) or by Othikkans (During Udayasthamana Pooja & Mandalam period). At this time, the idol is again decorated. Now, it may be of any avatar of Lord Vishnu, or even may be the forms of Lord Krishna. After this, the temple is closed at 12:30.
The temple reopens at 4:30 in the evening in normal days, but during Mandalam period, it opens at 3:30 itself. Soon after the temple is opened, the evening seeveli is conducted, with the repetition of all those in the morning seeveli (Normally, this seeveli is conducted soon after the Ucha Pooja, but here it is conducted in the evening). At the time of sunset, the nada is again closed, for ‘Deeparadhana’ or ‘light worship’. All the lights in the temple are burnt at this time. The Melsanthi reopens the nada after ‘Karpoorarathi’, or the flashing of camphor.
At 7:30 in the night, the nada is again closed, for ‘Athazha Pooja’. At this time, the offerings are Appam (Fried pancake), Ada (Steamed pancake), Palpayasam (Milk pudding), Betel leaves and Arecanut. This pooja lasts until 8:30. After this, the night seeveli is conducted. All those seen in the morning & evening seevelis are to be repeated again. After this seeveli, a special custom called ‘Thrippuka’ is conducted. As the name suggests, the sreekovil is filled with a fresh smoke made up of a special kind of powder. It is believed that this smoke cures breathing problems. After Thrippuka, the temple treasurer reads the income & expenditure of the day, written in a palm leaf. At last, the temple is closed at 9:30, marking the end of a day.
There is being a change in this timetable on special days and the days with Udayasthamana Pooja, the biggest offering. On the day of Chuttuvilakku, or special illumination, Thrippuka is conducted after the temple is closed. Krishnanattam, an art form based on a poem named ‘Krishnageethi’ written by Kozhikode Samoothiri Manavedan Raja in the 17th century, narrating the whole story of Lord Krishna, is played on all days except Tuesday and the period from June to October.
The greatest offering in the sanctuary is Udayasthamana Pooja, as said above. It is a noteworthy offering in every one of the sanctuaries in Kerala, yet it is at Guruvayoor where the most noteworthy number happens. In this way, there are numerous events on which there was no reserving. As the name proposes, this is a sunrise to-sunset pooja. On the days with this offering, there are 18 poojas. Krishnanattam is the second fundamental event. This offering has 7 stories, named Avatharam, Kaliyamardanam, Rasakreeda, Swayamvaram, Banayuddham, Vividavadham and Swargarohanam. Motivated by Krishnanattam, Kottarakkara Thamburan made another new work of art called Ramanattam, which as the name proposes depended on the account of Lord Rama, the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. With a few changes in Ramanattam, Kathakali, the social symbol of Kerala, developed.
Thanthris are from Puzhakkara Chennas Mana, a Brahmin family close Guruvayoor. Melsanthis are chosen from the Brahmins of Sukapuram and Peruvanam towns in the old Kerala by the Devaswom itself, for a term of six months, from April to October or the other way around.
This is the most popular offering, the booking for which are said to have been done for the next ten years.Udayasthamaya literally means from sunrise to sunset. Hence it implies worship from sunrise to sunset.It consists of 15 special Poojas in addition to all the routine poojas and begins after the morning Siveli. There is a special feast for the devotees. There is the Vilakku (illumination) in the evening.The Siveli in the evening takes 5 rounds instead of the usual 3. The tripuka marks the end of the udayastamana pooja.
Devotees offer elephants to Guruvayurappan and today there are about 40 elephants kept with Punnathur Kotta maintained by the Devaswam. The feeding of these elephants- Anayoottu is another popular offering that attracts many on-lookers. All the elephants are taken to the temple at around 10 A.M, and fed a sumptuous feast of fruits, molasses and boiled rice.
A devotee is weighed against a commodity of his choice-banana, sugar, water, gold, in fact anything permitted inside the temple. If you want to be weighed against articles not permitted inside, do not worry. Arrangements are made for conducting the tulabharam outside the temple. Also, non-Hindus can perform the ritual outside.
This is the first rice-giving ceremony of a child conducted before the Lord Guruvayurappa .All the itemsincluding cooked rice, payasam (sweet preparation of rice and jaggery; rice, sugar & milk) plantain etc. are placed on a banana leaf and the children are fed each of these.
You can offer miniature images in gold or silver, or replicas of different parts of the human body, eyes, nose, limbs etc.It is believed to cure whichever part is affected and therefore offered. You can place it after depositing in the hundi, an amount devised by you.
You can offer this to develop your children’s intelligence and smartness. A handful of these seeds (Abrus precatorious) are picked up and dropped thrice in the vessel kept for the purpose and an amount desired by the devotee is deposited in the hundi.
Also called angapradakshina, the devotee circumambulates the temple, rolling along the pradakshina path with his eyes closed and chanting the Lord’s name.
This offering is the most fruitful and spiritually elevating- it is the complete dedication of oneself to God. It is austere worship,the devotees forgetting their worldly worries and associating them maximum with whatever goes on within the temple-heavy bath in the temple pond, drinking water from its well and having the Prasadam as food. Married people are expected to observe strict brahmacharya (celibacy) during the bhajan. Apart from these main offerings, there are a variety of archanas, alankarams, and naivedyams that can be offered. A list of all these offerings and their rates is displayed at the counters on the northern side of the temple.
10 or 20 wicks soaked in oil are kept in a sheath of plantain tree and lighted before the goddess Bhagavati. It is done after deeparadhana and athazha Pooja.
Krishnanaattam, which is the most important art form of the temple, is performed in the temple as an offering. Devotees can offer this as a vazhipadu or offering on a payment of the prescribed amount. Each days performance believably yields a particular benefit to those making the offering.
There are arrangements for free feeding as Prasadam at the dining hall (Annalakshmi Hall located outside the temple) for thousands of pilgrims at 10 am and 7.30 pm. One can make offering of any amount for this free feeding.
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. Unlike in northern India, in Kerala and other southern Indian states Hindu women do not cover their heads in temples. Like all other temples in India, footwear is strictly prohibited. Security restrictions prevent carrying of mobile phones or cameras into the temple. In peak hours it is better to keep the sandals, phones in hotel itself because of only two locker shop.
The temple is classified as one of the Mahakshetras or “Great abodes of worship”. There are many such in the holy land of India but few which can claim to have all the ten qualifications of a Mahakshetra.
The signs are:
In Kerala, this is probably the only temple that hosts the maximum number of marriages and rice feeding ceremonies (the ritual first meal for infants). It was also the hub of the ‘Guruvayoor Sathyagraha’, a historic movement demanding temple entry rights for the ‘so called’ lower castes. The historic temple is shrouded in mystery. According to local belief, the temple was created by ‘Guru’, the ‘preceptor of the gods’ and ‘Vayu’, the ‘god of winds’. The eastern ‘nada’ is the main entrance to the shrine. In the ‘Chuttambalam’ (outer enclosure) is a 33.5-m tall gold-plated ‘Dwajastambham’ (flagpost).
There is also a 7 m high ‘Deepastambham’ (pillar of lamps), whose thirteen circular receptacles provide a truly brilliant spectacle, when lit. The square ‘Sreekovil’ is the sacred sanctum sanctorum of the temple, housing the main deity. Within the temple, there are also the images of Ganapathy, Sree Ayyappa and Edathedathy Kavil Bhagavathy. Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple. Punnathoorkotta, which is at a distance of 2 kms from Guruvayoor is home of 50 temple elephants, offers unusual spectacles of the gentle pachyderm.
Some of the customs to be followed as suggested by the Guruvayur Devasom Board.
Airport: Kochi International Airport (Nedumbassery Airpot) is the nearest airport, which is about 80 km from Guruvayur. Calicut International Airport (Karipur Airport) is another nearest airport around 100 km from Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple.
Railways: The Guruvayoor Railway Station is connected to the Madras-Mangalore main line at Thrissur. Those coming from the Madras/Thiruvananthapuram side can get down at Thrissur. From Thrissur Railway Station, there are regular bus services to Guruvayoor. Guruvayur Railway Station is on the east of the temple which is connected to the Chennai – Mangalore main line at Thrissur. Thrissur Railway Station is the nearest major railway station about 29 km from Guruvayoor.
Road: Guruvayoor is well connected with other parts of the country by road transport. Both KSRTC and private bus services offers interstate bus services to almost all major cities in south India including Palani, Madurai, Mookambika, Ooty, Coimbatore, Dindigul, Salem, Mysore, Chennai, Mangalore, and Udupi. National Highway 17 (NH 17) passes through Kunnamkulam about 8 km away from Guruvayur. Several state owned and private buses, as well as taxis and other vehicles regularly ply between Trichur and Guruvayoor.
Guruvayur temple opens at 3 a.m. to 12:30 p.m and 4:30 p.m to 9:15 p.m.
East Nada, Guruvayur, PIN – 680 101,
Thrissur, Kerala, India.