Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple

(449 Votes)
Route Map | Comments(0)

Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Lord Krishna (an avatar of the Lord Maha 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 in the Sanctum sanctorum of the Guruvayur Temple is Lord Vishnu, worshipped in the form of Lord Krishna, his avatar. The central icon is a four-armed standing Lord Krishna carrying the conch Pancajanya, 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 of the Guruvayur Temple.
The temple (puja) routines are strictly followed. The tantri (high priest) is available full-time at the Temple to ensure this. The Melsanti (Chief Priest) enters the sanctum sanctorum at 2:30 in the morning and does not drink anything up to the completion of "noon worships" at 12:30 PM
The Krishna temple in the town of Guruvayoor in Kerala is one of the five famous KrishnaVishnu temples in India. The others are Jagannath Puri in Jagannath 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 and also because of the legend that it was emerged in Vaikunta, the holy abode of Vishnu.
The whole life of this town revolves round the temple and there is very little activity beyond what is connected with the temple even though there are a few other noteworthy temples in the area. One can get to Guruvayoor by car or train from the town of Thrissur which is very close to Cochin. There are many flights connecting Cochin with all the big towns of India.
God Krishna in Guruvayoor is popularly called Sri Guruvayoorappan. Appan means God or father so the title means the God of Guruvayoor. The small idol is made of the stone known as black antimony and is a magnetic stone said to have special medicinal properties. Every morning the God is anointed in til oil. He is then sprinkled with a special cleansing powder made of herbs known as “vaka”. This powder is light brown in colour and gives an added hue to the idol. Crowds go to the temple at 3 A.M in order to see this charming sight. Then water from the temple, consecrated with mantras is poured over the idol for his ritual bath. This holy water is then eagerly drunk by the devotees since it is said to contain a little of the miraculous properties of the stone of which the idol is made.
The history of the idol goes back to the hoary past to the age of Dwapara when God Krishna was alive. His parents were Vasudeva and Devaki. She was the sister of Kansa, the cruel king of Mathura. 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.
At the end of his earthly sojourn, Krishna prophesied to his friend and devotee, Uddhava that the island of Dwaraka, which had been his stronghold, would be swept away by the sea, seven days after he left his mortal body. He instructed him to rescue the precious idol of Vishnu which his parents had worshipped, and hand it over to Brihaspati, the guru of the gods who would come to him. After seven days, the island submerged in the sea as foretold by God Krishna. Uddhava went sadly to the seashore and saw the idol bobbing up and down on the waves far out in the sea. He begged the wind god – Vayu to bring it closer to him. The wind wafted it gently to the shore and Uddhava picked it up lovingly and cradled it in his arms. As he was wondering how to contact the guru of the gods, he found that Brihaspati himself was walking towards him. Uddhava told him the whole story of how God Krishna had instructed him and Brihaspati who knew everything agreed to take it and install it at some special place. He was sure that he would be given further instructions.
Now Brihaspati asked Vayu, the wind god to transport him through the air so that they could choose a perfect spot for the installation. Carrying the precious idol in his hands, Brihaspati was wafted across the sub-continent of India till they came almost to the sea shore to the spot where the present town of Guruvayoor now stands. Looking down Brihaspati saw a beautiful lake filled with lotuses on the banks of which Shiva and Parvati were dancing. He was charmed by the sight and he requested Vayu to float him down. For some time he stood spell-bound by the dancing couple. When they had finished he prostrated to them and begged Shiva to tell him of a perfect spot to install the idol of Vishnu. Shiva said that this was indeed the ideal place. He told him to build the temple right there at one end of the lake where he and Parvati had been dancing. He magnanimously said that he himself would take up residence at the other end of the lake which was known as Rudrathirta. The temple of Mammiyoor to which Shiva shifted still exists. However during the course of time the lake dried up little by little and now only the temple tank adjoining the Guruvayoor temple remains to tell the tale of this ancient lake. The word Guruvayoor has special connotations. It is made up of two words “guru” and “vayu”. Guru means preceptor and vayu is wind. The idol was installed by Brihaspati, the guru of the gods and Vayu, the god of wind and hence came to be known as Guru-vayoor! The word also has an esoteric meaning. It stands for the body of the human being which is the abode of wind. The five pranas or vital breaths are what sustain the body and make it function properly.
The theertha kulam (temple 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 out of 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. 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 one locker shop.

Festivals
Ekadasi festival ( Nov - Dec)
Ekadasi, the eleventh day of every lunar fortnight, is very auspicious to the Hindus. Of the 24 Ekadasis in an year, the Vrishchika Ekadasi (Suklapaksha) has got special significance in Guruvayur. It falls in the Mandala season. The Navami (9th day) and Dasami (10th day) are also very important. Ekadasi Vilakku starts a month before the Ekadasi day as offerings by different persons, families and organisations. On Navami day, the Vilakku is lit with ghee as an offering by Kolady family. The Dasami Vilakku which used to be an offering of Zamorin Raja, is now conducted by Guruvayurappan Sankeerthana Trust. After the temple is open on this day for Nirmalya darshan ( 3.00AM ), it is closed only at 9.00 am on Dwadasi Day (12th day), thus allowing continues darshan for devotees throughout Dasami and Ekadasi Days. Until the temple entry for all Hindus in 1947, Avarnas (lower caste) were allowed to come up to Thiyyarambalam on Dasami day (in between Manjulal and Eastern Gopuram). On Dwadasi day there is a custom of offering a token amount called Dwadasi Panam in Koothambalam for the welfare of the family.

A highlight of the Ekadasi is the memorial honour for Gajarajan Kesavan . The Karanavar or head of the elephant family places a wreath at the statue of Kesavan in front of Sreevalsam guest house and all the other elephants stand around and pay obeisance. On Ekadasi day, the Udayasthamana Pooja (continuous pooja) is conducted by the Devaswom itself . After the morning seeveli, on Ekadasi there is a grant elephant procession to the Parthasarathi temple since it is regarded as Geethopadesam Day also. On Ekadasi after night pooja the famous Ekadasi Vilakku with elephant procession takes place and provides a fitting finale to the festival.

Utsavam or annual festival
Guruvayur, the Utsavam lasts for ten days. Beginning on the day of Pushya (the 8th asterism) in the month of Kumbham ( February-March), it ends after the Aarattu on the 10th day.

GURUVAYUR DEVASWOM Religiously, it is the restoration of divine Chaithanya. Brahmakalasam is preceded by the Utsavam. It is aimed at the purification and energisation of the powers of the deity. It is the last of the long series of rituals of kalasam and at the end, the flag will be hoisted heralding the Utsavam.

Culturally, it consists of various processions, illumination and modest fire-works (this is a specialty of Guruvayur Utsavam that no explosives are used, unlike most of the other Kerala temples). All ten days, the place wears a festive look, streets dressed up with arches, festoons etc., houses freshly thatched and painted. Every shrine and building is tastefully decorated with lights, plantain trunks, bunches of coconut and arecanuts. Two Gopurams and the bahyankana (outer-courtyard) are elaborately decorated with illuminations and eye-catching electric displays. The lamps, deepasthambams and vilakku are all lightened.
Other Cultural Festivals
CHEMBAI MUSIC FESTIVAL
It is actually a part of Ekadasi festival, which is conducted for 15 days and attracts more than 2000 Carnatic musicians. This music festival is in commemoration of Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagawathar who was a doyen of Carnatic music and an ardent devotee of the Lord Guruvayurappan. It is almost a replica of Saint Thyagaraja festival. Earlier it was a three day festival but with the phenomenal rise in the number of participants, the period was extended with artists of all types - young, old, novices, experts, vocalists and instrumentalists are allowed to participate. The highlights of the Utsavam are group singing of saint Thyagaraja's Pancharatna Krithis on Dasami day by several leading artists. All India Radio and Doordharsan telecast the last few days’ programmmes live.
NARAYANEEYAM DAY
The day on which Narayaneeyam was completed, 28th Vrichikam, is celebrated by the Devaswom as Narayaneeyam day. Discourses and debates on Narayaneeyam written by Melpathur take place. Special functions are held at Melpathur Illapparambu also.
POONTHANAM DAY
The Poonthanam day is celebrated on the Aswathi day of the month of Kumbham (February-March) in commemoration of the Saint Poonthanam, a great devotee of the Lord, who enriched Malayalam devotional literature with his renowned poetic composition 'Jnanapana', a philosophical work of all times. On this day, recital of Poonthanam's works and debate takes place. A one week literary festival is conducted at Poonthanam illam.
KRISHNANATTAM
Krishnanattam is a performing art that combines both piety and art. It is based on a Sanskrit work named “Krishnageethi” written by the Manavedan Raja, a Zamurin king of Kozhikode (Calicut) 350 years ago. The work includes 8 phases of the life of Lord Krishna starting with the incarnation (Avatharam) and ending with the Ascension to Heaven (Swargarohanam). The salient feature of the ‘Krishnanattam’ is the rhythmic and beautiful dance. The musical instruments used in Krishnanattam are Chengila, Ilathalam (Cimbal), Sankhu (Conch), Sudhamadhalam and Thoppimadhalam.
After Guruvayur Devaswom has taken over the art form Krishnanattam in 1958, the singers have started to use two more musical instruments namely ‘Sruthipetti’ and ‘Idakka’ besides the traditional ones.
In Guruvayur temple the month of June is the vacation for Krishnanattam. July and August are months for rehearsal. Tuesday is weekly holiday. On all other days , ‘Krishnanattam’ is performed in the temple on demand of devotees. This traditional performing art of Kerala is getting popular and performed not only in other parts of Kerala, but also in many other countries of the world.
If the performance is made in the temple as part of worship, the devotees have to pay the fixed fee and for performance outside the temple, the devotees may pay the fixed charge for the performance.

How to reach:

By Road: The temple is located about 29 km from Thrissur. Guruvayur is well connected from all major towns of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Various private and state government-owned bus companies operate regular services to this temple town.
By Train: The nearest railway station is at Guruvayur. However, a regular passenger train service to Ernakulam via Thrissur is available. The nearest major railway station with better connectivity is at Thrissur, 29 KM away.
By Air: The nearest airport (75 km) is Cochin International Airport, at Nedumbassery near Kochi.
 

 

Nearest Destinations
Athirappally Vazhachal Water Falls
Bible Tower
Chavakkad Beach
Cheraman Juma Masjid
Chimmini Dam
Kerala Kalamandalam
Kodungallur Bhagavati Temple
Mammiyoor Mahadeva Temple
Palayur Church
Peechi Dam
Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary
Peruvanmala
Poomala Dam
Punnathur Kotta (The Elephant sanctuary)
Puthan Pally (Basilica of Our Lady of Dolours)
Shakthan Thampuran Palace
Silver Storm Water Theme Park
Snehatheeram Beach
Thrissur Zoo and Museum
Triprayar Sree Rama Temple
Vadakkumnathan Temple
Vadanapilly Beach
Vazhani Dam
Vilangan Kunnu (Hills)

 

Route Map

To get route map, enter the location in field "Start" and click the button "Get Direction!".
Start: End:

Map

   Directions

 

  

Add comment

Name *
E-mail *
Phone
Comments* 
Photo