A spiritual trip to Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple
by Lakshmi Menon
(Bengaluru, Karnataka, India)
Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple is a very popular temple of South India. It is located in Guruvayur Town of Thrissur District in Kerala.The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Mahavishnu. Sri Krishna Temple at Guruvayur is one of the most visited temples in South India.
A visit to Guruvayur temple every year is an amazing and unique experience to me. The temple courtyard is always filled with Krishna Bhakthi songs and the shops in front of the temple are filled with different colours of Kathakali, Nettipattom, miniature statues of Guruvayurappan, pappadams, banana chips, Kerala special halwas, ethnic clothes of Kerala etc. There are many restaurants also here.
This most important pilgrim centre is known as "Dwaraka of South". Guruvayur Temple is different because of the sanctity of the place and of the grace of the consecrated deity.
This sacred idol of Lord Krishna at Guruvayur Temple is carved out of Pathalanjala Shila. The idol is believed to be 5000 years old. This idol of Lord Krishna is said to have been worshipped by Lord Brahma at Dwaraka.
According to legends, Guruvayur Sri Krishna temple is believed to be created by Guru, the preceptor of Devas and Vayu, the Lord of Winds. They recovered the idol of the presiding deity from the flood that submerged Dwaraka, and installed it in Guruvayur. Thus the shrine is known as Guruvayurappan. There is a Dwajasthambam which is encased in plated gold at a height of 600 ft. There is a stage called Koothambalam, where Chakiyar Koothu is presented. Various cultural programmes are conducted at the stage in the night where the pilgrims can spend their time.
There is also a huge tower of light called Deepasthambam in front of the temple, with 13 discs, at a height of 24 ft. There are shrines of Lord Sastha, Lord Ganapathy and Bhagawathy in the temple.
The temple is also renowned for the healing powers. Large number of Hindu marriages and "Annaprasam" (the first feeding ceremony for the child) are conducted here. Krishnattam is the favourite dance form of Lord Krishna.
The Temple opens at 3.00 am and closes at 12.30 p.m. and again opens at 4.30 p.m. till 9.15 p.m. A series of poojas are conducted during the day. However, the above time may vary in Udayasthamana Pooja days. One can see the long line of devotees who come from near and far, waiting patiently in front of the temple, to experience the first glimpse of Lord Krishna during "Nirmalyam", the first pooja of the temple.
Senior citizens can enter the temple through a separate gate between 4 and 6 pm. Now there is a new system introduced for those who do not want to wait in the long line. Taking a special ticket for the ghee deepam (Nei vilakku) by paying an amount of Rs,1000/- per person, one can avoid the long line and can get an early entry to the temple. After the darshan, you will get the prasadam and go around the temple. We visited the temple two months ago and had an early entry and darshan by taking this ticket.
Strict dress code is followed there. Ladies have to enter the temple in sari or churidar and men have to remove their shirts. Slippers and mobiles are not allowed inside. Photography is strictly prohibited.
The main festival of the temple is Guruvayur Ulsavam, which is a ten day festival celebrated in the Malayalam month of Kumbha.
Another important festival of this temple is Gurvayur Ekadasi. Guruvayur Ekadasi is well known all over the country, celebrated in the month of Vrischigom. It is a very important day for the Hindus.
Mandalam: 41 days of pooja starting from the first of the month of Vrischigom.
Vishukani is celebrated on the first day of Medom.
Ashtami Rohini is celebrated on the birthday of Lord Krishna, in the month of Chingom.
Devotees also visit the nearby Mahadeva temple called Mammiyoor kshetram.
Another important temple nearby is Chowalloor Shiva temple. If you have some time to spend in Guruvayur you can visit some of the tourist places nearby such as Chavakkad Beach, Chetuwa Backwaters, and Punnathur Kotta.*****