A municipal temple town in Thrissur District of Indian Kerala state is Guruvayur which is also written as Guruvayoor. The fourth largest temple in terms of the number of devotees visiting per day in India is houses the Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple. One of the most significant pilgrimages centers in India is Guruvayur which is aptly called the Dwarka of the South. The popular Sri Krishna Temple idol’s is said to have been worshipped by Lord Brahma itself here. While others are famous for their intriguing history or marvelous architecture the richest in the world are some of these temples. The temple of Guruvayur temple is one such temple.
Here, besides tourists and pilgrims, grooms and brides with hundreds of guests flock daily to get their weddings celebration. As it is not construct in the typical South Indian style of temple architecture unique is the Guruvayur. From this temple in Dwarka while the city was being destroyed and establish it in Kerala, is believed that Lord Krishna asked 2 sages to take the idol. No historical records to establish it are there. Lord Krishna’s idol was places in guruvayur and was brought by brhaspathi and Vayu deva. Seen about Kuruvayur are many references as early as the 16th century. The village on the coast may be called Kuruvayur because Kuruvai means sea in an ancient Dravidic.
The temple owns 36 mighty elephants that live 4 km north of the temple at Punnathur Fort in true Kerala style. The same as Mathilakam or Thrikkanamathilakam mentioned in the record of British and Dutch is Trikkunavay in the document of Guruvayur. The holy port city of Dwarka was submerged but after he left the earth for his heavenly abode. They entered Kerala and met Parasurama who was the Kerala’s legendary creator but after a long quest for an appropriate site. A semantic and reverential reference to the sponsors was “Guru and Vayu” when the place and the temple came to be known as Guruvayur.
Before the latter was destroyed in 1755 by the Dutch, Guruvayur was a subordinate shrine of Trikkunavay Shiva Temple. The best seasons to enjoy a trip to Guruvayoor are winters and autumn. Closed for a vacation are avoid visiting when the schools in Kerala if you want to avoid the crowd. The times when a large number of people visit Guruvayoor are Onam when the schools are closed for the festival and vacation in the months of April and May. Dry and quite hot and it might be a little difficult to roam around are summers. However, frequent, pleasant rains might hamper your travel plans are Monsoons. One of the most amazing places in Kerala is Guruvayur where lots of pilgrims are present.
PLACES TO VISIT
One of the most sacred places for Vaishnavites is Guruvayur Temple which is dedicated to Lord Krishna in Guruvayur town. A significant holy centre and a historic temple is the Guruvayur Temple which is shrouded in spiritual mystery and aura of the Kerala State. Owing to widespread presence of Krishna the temple is called “Dwarka of South India”. This temple is also known as “Dakshina Dwaraka” due to its reverence. The form of Maha Vishnu is the presiding deity is Lord Krishna who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Mahavishnu (worshipped in the form of Balakrishna) is the presiding deity in the temple of Guruvayur. God Mahavishnu is also known by the Unnikrishnan name and is adorned with four hands each carrying a discus, a conch, a lotus and a mace. A strict dress code is there. Around the temple premises, Lord Krishna in his boyhood would be seen frequently that’s why the temple is calles Shri Krishna Temple. From all over the country, unmatched and has devotees flocking to it is the spiritual charm of this place which is simple in its construction.
Punnathurkotta Elephant Place
One of its kinds in the world is Elephant Palace in Punnathur Kotta which is considered to be one of the largest elephant sanctuaries. From the ruins of the Punathur, this rambling mansion with luxurious courtyards was established which is located at about 3 km away from the Western Gate of the Guruvayur Temple. Except in the service of the Lord during temple ceremonies and processions forbidden to work anywhere else are these elephants. Ritual offerings made by the devotees of Lord Guruvayurappa are the elephants. During the festival the winter gets to carry the idol and the elephants need to participate in an Elephant Race or “Anayottam” in the temple for this purpose.
Mammiyur Mahadevan Temple
Mammiyur Mahadevan Temple is considered an integral part of the Guruvayur pilgrim tour which is situated near the Guruvayurappam Temple. Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva adds to the lore of Guruvayoor which is popular for its large murals. The main offering of this temple is Rudrabhishekam. Present inside the sanctorum is Mammiyur Mahadevan Temple which is also believed that Goddess Parvathy and also the mural paintings adorn the walls of the temple with the images of Mohini. The place has prathishtas of Parvathi in the form of bronze mirror image and Shiva in the form of Linga. The major festivals are Ashtami Rohini and Shivaratri. The hereditary Thanthri of this temple too is the Puzhakkara Chennas Mana.
Institute of Mural Paintings
This is managed by Guruvayur Devaswom which is situated at the east gate of the Guruvayur Temple and is founded by renowned master of mural painting. The institute is managed by Guruvayur Devaswom which is an established in the year 1989. Taught in the traditional Gurukula system, this place also offers a five year diploma in mural painting of Kerala style, sculpture, art and aesthetics. One of the renowned masters of mural painting is Institute of Mural Paintings which was established by Shri Mammiyoor Krishnankutty in 1989. The authorities observed a lack of qualified artists who could do the required kind of paintings while decorating the walls as a part of the renovation. Arranged by this institute are training, seminars and exhibitions related to the culture and art of Kerala.
This 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 which is located within a kilometer from Guruvayoor temple. This idol is believed to have been placed in this temple by Adi Shankaracharya which is according to a legend. Parthasarathy Temple has another popular shrine which is believed to Adi Shankaracharya. In the shape of a chariot with the various horses is the structure of Parthasarathy Temple. A practice on Guruvayur Ekadesi day to take a procession from Guruvayur Temple in the morning accompanied by three caparisoned elephants and Pancha Vadya to Parathasarathy Temple and return by noon is Parthasarathy Temple as a part of special connection between Parthasarathy Temple and Guruvayur Temple. Adorned with many images are the huge fortifications of the temple. Their offerings respectively are Navagrahpooja, Rakassu pooja, Ottyappam, Bhasmabhishekam, neeranjanam and Elluthiri.
Statues of Maraprabhu and Guruvayur Kesavan
A huge statue of Kesavan the now deceased majestic Elephant King has been erected in the premises of Sree Valsam guest house complex. Meaning of the word Guruvayur maraprabhu is “the lord of tree”. One of the oldest and largest Krishna Temples existing in north and central Kerala is Krishna Temple from Guruvayur. The temple also accommodates several sub shrines dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Lord Bhairawa, Goddess Bhagavathi, Lord Ayyappa and so on which is dedicated to the infant form of Lord Krishna means “Lord Unni Krishna”.
The annual fiesta of the temple is celebrated in the April or May month which is the most noteworthy aspect for which this tabernacle is famed far and wide is its Thrissur Pooram Festival. When Dwarka was sinking and was hunting a place to the idol as instructed by Lord Vayu and Guru took away the idol. A creative interpretation of Lord Krishna as a trunk of giant banyan tree as depicted in traditional folklores which is also one can see the statue of Mara- Prabhu.
At Vengad under the possession of Guruvayur Devaswom in Malapuram District which is situated 40 km away from the Guruvayur Temple lays a 100 acre Vrindavanam Gokulam Estate. One of the largest dairy farms with 550 cows in Kerala is Gokulam Estate. All around you easily saw the dense greenery and forest atmosphere here. Gokulam Estate is also called as Vrandavanam Estate. Becoming the largest dairy of the place is these estates are generally created for the serving milk to the nearby areas in starting but now it. This milk also used in the several of the temples and use the milks in nearby areas which is famously using the cow by serving them feed are here the devotees. Other vegetation as cash crops and also feeds the temple cattle and elephants and the estate also cultivates palm, cashew and coconut. Some people say that the cow is the form of various Lords that’s why Kerala state is totally blessed by the God.
The presiding deity of the temple is Chamundeswari Devi which is a revered form of Goddess Durga. At a distance of 9 km from Trivandrum, situated in the close area of Guruvayur Temple is Chamundeswari Temple. An incarnation of Lord Durga, very close to Guruvayur is this centuries old temple which is dedicated to Sri Chamundeswari. A separate shrine is there which is situated in the premises devoted to Thazhthukavu Bhagavathy. A must visit for god lovers is the temple which enshrines a huge, artistic sculpture of Chamundeswari. Made of five metals or ‘panchloha’, namely, lead, silver, gold, copper and iron is the idol of Chamundeswari Devi. The carved pillars in the assembly hall date back to the Paramara period here worshippers throng to worship the idol at Chamundeswari Temple. The religious and tranquil environment of the Chamundeswari Temple makes it a perfect place for meditation.
This temple is also known as Perumal Kovil, Desikar Sannidhi, Srinivasar Kovil or Iyyengar Kovil which is located in Trivandrum. The main deity of the temple is Venkatachalapathy (is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu). Navagraha, Lord Shiva in the form of Linga: Ganesha and Bhagavathi are the other deities installed in the temple complex. A must visit temple for God lovers is Venkatachalapathy Temple. Famously celebrated in Sri Venkatachalapathy Temple are other festivals such as Onam, Pongal, Deepawali and Vishnu besides apart from Vaishnava festivals such as Vaikunta Ekadasi, pooram, Janmashtami, Aadi Swathi and Thiru Aadi. The unpolluted environment and the lush green backdrop add to the brilliance of the temple. Throughout the year, the temple attracts a devotee in a large amount.
Harikanyaka temple is believed to have been constructing by Perumthachan which is preserved by the Archeological Survey of India. One of the great constructed devotional places in Guruvayur is Harikanyaka Temple. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhagavathy who was an incarnation of Goddess Durga. One of the ancient Maha Kshethrams is Harikanyaka Temple. Enhanced by the sculpted entrances is the beauty of the temple.
A neighboring village of Guruvayur is Harikanyaka Temple which is situated in Ariyanoor. The temple was much wealthier than Guruvayur Temple and had a glorious history in the past. Every year, during the month of March to April, the temple draws an amount of devotees and celebrated a 15 day festival. Here, celebrated is one of an ancient ritual called Chandrolsavam.
This museum houses a large collection of temple materials, musical instruments, the jewelries of renowned elephants, antiques, mural paintings and also stores valuable offerings to the temple which is located on the East Gate. Also put on display are popular religious poets such as remain of Poonthanam and Melapthur. The previous items which are used to adorn the renowned elephants and adornments which are used in folk arts such as Krishnanttam and Kathakali, the museum also displays many other items like the remains and images of popular religious poets such as Melapthur and Poonthanam. The Sapthaham when the birthday of Lord Krishna is conducted in such a way which the chapter of Krishna’s birth (Avatharam) is recited on the Ashtami Rohini day in connection with the Ashtami Rohini in the month of August – September.
Nava Mukunda Temple
Nava Mukunda Temple is an ancient temple on the shores of Bharathapuzha which is located at Thirunavaya. The ninth idol which was installed by saints known as Navayogis is it said that the idol of this temple. Its history and religious beliefs attached to it that’s why Nava Mukunda Temple is one of the most visited temples in the city. The assembly of royal family members was the 28 days festival. The blessings which they get from here and the locals especially have a lot of faith in the temple which in a way makes it a priority in any list of traveler. Similar to the ones done there are the ritual offering practices for forefathers and considered as holy as Kasi are the river bank in the temple.
HOW TO REACH
By Road: One can take Kerala Road Transport Corporation where buses runs from the nearby cities to reach Guruvayur such as Palani, Mookambika, Madras, Mangalore, Udupi, Madurai, Coimbatore, Salem, Thiruchendur, Mysore etc.
By Train: Guruvayur is connected to the Madras- Mangalore main line in Thrissur and is the closest railway station towards the east of the temple. From this station, regular bus and cabs service are available to reach your desired destination in this town.
By Air: Kochi international airport is closest airport which is 80 km from Guruvayur and from here, the Calicut airport is 100 km away. From these airports to reach Guruvayur Town, one can easily avail direct bus, taxi or a cab.