We invite you to explore India - the Land with infinite beauty ! Whether you soar high into Himalayas or peer under the ruins of the Ancient monuments dotting the landscape of India, you will cherish the experience long after your visit ! This India Travel Guide on Guruvayur Temple is free from any commercial interest! This site is dedicated to promote India - the vast subcontinent, its glorious past, magnificent landscape and its infinite variety.


Pinterest

Guruvayur Temple


Guruvayur or Guruvayoor, alluded to as the 'Bhuloka Vaikunta' is the abode of Vishnu on earth. The temple is one of the Mahashetras - 'Great abodes of worship'. The temple is located in the town of Guruvayur in the Thrissur district of Kerala. The temple is said to be built by Guru (the preceptor of Gods) and Vayu (God of winds).


History of Guruvayur temple

Legends suggest that the idol in this temple is being worshipped for more than 5100 years now. There are historical records to back this claim. The Tamil literature Kokasandesam has references to Kuruvayur - here the term Kuruvai means sea and hence the village on the coast was called Kuruvayur.


The eminent historian Prof Krishna Iyer opines that Trikkunavay in Guruvayur is the same as Thrikkanamathilakkam or Mathilakam mentioned in the Dutch and British records. Guruvayur must have come into existence before 52 AD.


Deity of Sree Krishna

The presiding deity of the Guruvayur temple is Lord Krishna, depicted with four lustrous arms carrying the conch 'Panchajanya', the discus 'Sudarshana Chakra' and mace 'Kaumodaki' and the lotus flower. The deity is adorned with Tulasi garland. Lord Krishna of Guruvayur is also popularly called as Kannan, Unni Kannan, Unni Krishnan and Balakrishnan and Guruvayurappan, which means Lord or father.


The small idol is made up of the rare stone called 'Patala Anjana' (black antimony stone), which is magnetic and has medicinal properties as well. The Lord's idol is anointed with oil in the early morning and then sprinkled with special cleansing powder made of herbs known as 'vaka'. This powder lends an added hue to the idol. The idol is given a ritual bath with the water consecrated with mantras. Devotees throng from early morning to catch a glimpse of this holy ritual and drink the holy water, said to possess miraculous properties.


Other than the idol of Lord Krishna, one can find idols of Lord Ganesha, Lord Ayyappa and Goddess Durga.


History of the idol of Guruvayurappan

This image of the Lord at Guruvayur is believed to have been worshipped by Lord Vasudeva himself and then by Lord Krishna at Dwaraka. The story goes that before the divine ascent of Lord Krishna he instructed Uddhava, his devotee and Minister to carry this image. At his behest, Brihaspati, along with Vayu looked for a suitable spot. Parasurama located this spot and as instructed by Lord Shiva, he installed the idol at this location called 'Guru - Vayu - Oor'.


The temple is believed to be 5100 years old and the image of its origin in Vaikuntam, the divine abode of Lord Vishnu.


Traditions at the Guruvayur temple

The deity is worshipped according to the norms laid down for pooja by Adi Sankara. This was later written in the tantric way by Narayanan Namboodiri, the hereditary Namboodaris of this temple. And the concluding words of Srimad Narayaneeyam, 'Hantha! Bhagyam Jananaam!' embodies the spirit of Guruvayur, as devotees believe that Narayaneeyam is of vital importance to Guruvayoor and is identical with the Lord, the Supreme Consciousness.


There is no compromise in the temple pooja, and the Melsanti or the Chief priest ensures that it is followed strictly according to the set timings. He enters the temple at 2. 30 am on an empty stomach and does not even drink water till the completion of pooja at 12.30 pm. The hallmark of this temple is that the Vedic traditions are inherently followed with no deviation.


The temple is famous for holding weddings and 'Annaprasanam' - feeding rice to a child for the first time.


Dress code at the Guruvayur temple

There is a strict dress code that exists for the devotees of this temple. Men should wear 'Mundu' around their waist and there should be no dress over the chest. They can wear a small piece of cloth 'Veshthi'. Boys can wear shorts but not shirt.


Girls and women need to wear sari and young girls a long skirt with blouse. Short skirts and trousers are not allowed inside the temple. However, in the present times salwar kameez is allowed. There is no need for women to cover their heads in the temple.


Guruvayurappan temple art and architecture

The inner courtyard of the temple is adorned with some magnificent wall paintings made largely from vegetable dyes which date to antiquity. Many paintings belong to the 17th century.


The roof and the two doors of the temple are covered with gold. A Dhwajasthambam or flag post adorns the eastern side of the temple. This is 33 m tall and it entirely gold plated. A 7 m tall pillar of lamps known as Dipastambham is adjacent to this. This pillar of lamps has 13 circular receptacles on top of each other that look awesome in the evening when lit.


Recent constructions exhibit plenty of sculptures. Students are taught ancient wall paintings called 'chomiru chitram'. Reproductions of original paintings are made available to devotees.


No wonder then, the Guruvayurappan temple with its grandeur of festivals and festivities, is hailed as one of the prime pilgrimage centres for the Hindus. Yet, surprisingly, this holy spot for the Vaishnavites is not a part of the 108 Divya Desams, that is Hindu temples mentioned in the works of Azhvars or divine saints.

Guruvayur Temple
Search through our pages on India

Indian Temples Indian Temples - Information about temples in all their architectural grandeur

Belur Hoysala Temples Belur Hoysala Temples - Poetry in Stone

Chola Temples Chola Temples - Revisit the past glory of the mighty Cholas

Madurai Meenakshi Temple Madurai Meenakshi Temple - One of the Biggest temples

Tirupati temple Tirupati temple - Lord of the 7 Hills

Rameshwaram Temple Rameshwaram Temple - Sethu Yathra

Swamimalai Temple Swamimalai Temple - The Son who taught his Father

Guruvayur Temple Guruvayur Temple - Bhuloka Vaikunta

Sabarimala Temple Sabarimala Temple - Makara Jyothi

Padmanabha swamy Temple Padmanabha swamy Temple - Ananthasayanam

God in Himalaya Mountains God in Himalaya Mountains - Abode of Shiva and his consort Shakthi

Char Dham Char Dham - Most revered 4 temples of Hindu Pilgrimage in Himalayas

Yamunotri Yamunotri - Yamunotri - dedicated to Goddess Yamuna

Gangotri Gangotri - Holy destination that embodies the origins of the Ganga

Kedarnath Kedarnath - Kedarnath on the Garhwal Range built by Adi Shankaracharya

Badrinath Badrinath - Badrinath dedicated to Vishnu - supreme God of Vaishnavites

Temples in Mathura and Vrindavan Temples in Mathura and Vrindavan - Temples dedicated to Lord Krishna

Temples in Dwarka Temples in Dwarka - legend and lore that surround the temples in Dwarka

Amritsar Golden Temple Amritsar Golden Temple - In the Pool of the Nectar of Immortality

Vaishno Devi Temple Vaishno Devi Temple - Shakti - Source of all Power

Konark Sun Temple Konark Sun Temple - Intricate sculptural work

Khajuraho Khajuraho - Breathtaking sculptures of Khajuraho

Puri Jagannath Temple Puri Jagannath Temple - 12 century Hindu Temple

Kashi Vishwanath Temple Kashi Vishwanath Temple - Temple in the oldest living city

Shirdi Temple Shirdi Temple - White marble temple

Thiruvannamalai temple Thiruvannamalai temple - Padal PetraSthalam

Saradamba Temple Sringeri Saradamba Temple Sringeri - Sringeri Temples

Ranganatha Swami Temple Ranganatha Swami Temple - Largest Temple in the World

Udupi Krishna Temple Udupi Krishna Temple - Kanakanakindi

Vaitheeswaran Koil Vaitheeswaran Koil - Prime center for naadi shastra

Sripuram Golden Temple Sripuram Golden Temple - Temple of Gold

Sakshi Gopal Temple Puri Sakshi Gopal Temple Puri - Witness by God

Srikalahasti Temple Srikalahasti Temple - Kailas of the South

Kanchipuram Temple Kanchipuram Temple - Ancient Pallava built Temple

Palani Temple Palani Temple - Temple dedicated to Tamil God

Thiruchendur Murugan Temple Thiruchendur Murugan Temple - Part of the 6 Abodes of Murugan


Guruvayur Temple