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Guruvayur Temple – The Abode Of Guruvayurappan

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Steeped in history with a rich cultural significance, Guruvayur is a notable holy place in Kerala. The famous Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple nests in the region. It’s the abode of Guruvayurappan, four-armed affiliation of Lord Vishnu.

Guruvayur Temple's entrance
The entrance of Guruvayur Temple in Kerala.

Guruvayur Temple is by far, the most important pilgrimage centre for Hindus. Located in Trichur district, Guruvayur is also one of the leading paradises on earth. Lakhs of devotees throng the temple throughout the year to worship Vishnu in the form of Krishna. Guruvayur Temple timings is from 3 AM to 1:30 PM. It reopens from 4:30 PM to 9:15 PM.

The Deity

According to Guruvayur Temple’s story, holy basil garlands and pearl necklaces adorn the Lord. The deity here carries the  Panchajanya, the Sudarshana Chakra, the Kaumodaki, and a lotus. It’s a wondrous form of Lord Krishna, and devotees often worship him in his infant form. The temple is popularly known as “Dwarka of the South” due to his presence. Adi Shankara has laid down the principles of worship here that now follows the tantric way.

Guruvayur Temple History

Going by Pre-Colonial history, the deity is over 5,000 years old. It dates back to the 14th century where references to place Kuruvayur find a mention in a Tamil literary work. You can trace back to the 16th century during the Dravidian times when several Vishnu temples found mentions in songs of Alwars, Tamil saints. Guruvayur Temple is popular due to the battle between Kozhikode and Valluvanad.

Kerala's Guruvayur Temple
Guruvayur Temple is the abode of the four-armed affiliation of Lord Vishnu.

The Colonial Age

In the colonial period, the war between Zamorins and the Raja of Valluvanad popularized Guruvayur Temple. But, over a period of time, the Zamorian became a staunch devotee and his subjects too followed suit. The Dutch, after raiding Guruvayur in 1716 AD, went ahead to loot the treasures and set the Western Gopuram on fire. The temple was rebuilt in 1747 AD.

Hyder Ali went ahead to capture Guruvayur in 1766 AD, declared a fine and stopped the supply of rice. The temple was saved due to the requests of a Malabar Governor.

Post-Colonial Age

On 30th Nov 1970, there was a massive fire in the temple. This was the season of Ekadasi and grand celebrations took place by lighting all the lamps in the Vilakkumatham. The temple caught fire in the midnight and people rushed to douse the fire with water and sand.

The Legend

Janamejaya, son of Parikshit, sought refuge under the feet of Guruvayuruppan who cured his leprosy. Parikshit, the grandson of the Pandavas died due to the curse of a saint. Janamejaya made efforts to destroy all the snakes worldwide, including Takshaka. Takshaka was known to be the cause of his father’s death. Numerous snakes fell into the sacrificial fire, which was eventually stopped by a Brahmin before the fire consumed Takshaka.

Sage Atreya asked Janamejaya to seek Krishna’s blessings at Guruvayur. The effulgence of Sri Hari showers his blessings on all devotees. Hence, after spending ten months at this temple, he became healthy.

Guruvayur temple surroundings
Inside Guruvayur temple

Guruvayur Temple Tank

Rudratheertham is the temple tank at Guruvayur Temple. A legend predicts that Lord Shiva and his family was worshipping Lord Vishnu for thousands of years at this pond. Shiva’s name is Rudra and hence, the pond’s name is Rudratheertham.

This pond extended to  Mammiyur and Thamarayur during the ancient days. The pond is also famous for it’s blooming magical lotus flowers. Prachetas performed tapasya here to become the king of kings with the assistance of Lord Vishnu. Lord Shiva appeared in front of them and revealed the Rudragitam. It’s a hymn in praise of Vishnu.

The Architecture

Guruvayur Temple is a typical example of Vastuvidya style. The temple faces the east with a gopuram each on the east and the west. Anapanthal, a roofing system with tiles covers the area between the two gopurams. A square-shaped hall with pillars Nalambalam is in the middle. A shrine of  Lord Ayyappan is at the south side.

You can find the Deepastambam on the eastern side that has thirteen circular receptacles holding the wicks. Gold covers a 70-feet Flagstaff, Dwijasthamba. The Garbhagriha is the abode of Lord Krishna with all articles covering in gold.

Guruvayur Temple's Vilakkumatham
The Vilakkumatham at Guruvayur Temple

Staying in Guruvayur

Guruvayur Temple Nearest Hotels provide the much-needed convenience to commute to the temple. You can check in to Kunnathurmana Heritage Ayurveda Heritage Resort or Hotel Samudra Theeram.

Sree Krishna Residency and The Vyshakh International Hotel are decent 3-star hotels. Also, there are a host of other pristine hotels open for booking on leading travel websites.

Include this temple in your Kerala itinerary and gear up for a religious expedition of a lifetime.