The pilgrims town of Guruvayur

Oct 23, 2017
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Sreekrishna Kshethram at Guruvayur is a famous temple of Lord Sreekrishna (aka Krishna) that belongs to the Hindu community.  Because of its religious importance, thousands of pilgrims are visiting Guruvayur temple every day from different parts of India and abroad for Darshan (worship). 

Sreekrishna Kshethram at Guruvayur is a famous temple of Lord Sreekrishna (aka Krishna) that belongs to the Hindu community.  Because of its religious importance, thousands of pilgrims are visiting Guruvayur temple every day from different parts of India and abroad for Darshan (worship). The belief is that the idol of Lord Krishna here is consecrated jointly by two mythological gods Guru ( Guru Brhuhaspathi ) and Vayu  (The God of Wind) and hence the place name derived Guruvayur. The deity is addressed as Guruvayurappan.

The Sreekovil, sanctum sanctorum is in square shape and is facing east. The walls of the sreekovil are adorned with traditional murals. In front of the Sreekovil is Namaskara Mandapam, a prayer area for Brahmins. The roofed structure surround to Sreekovil and Namaskara Mandapam is Naalambalam or Chuttambalam. There are separate shrines for the subsidiary deities- Lord Ganapathi (ganesha), Lord Sasthavu  and Goddess Bhagavathi (Edatharikathu Kavu). Entry to the temple complex is restricted to the people of Hindu religion.

The temple rituals start from 03.00am and will continue upto 10.00pm. Usually the temple will be closed for two hours in the afternoon. Holy processions are held inside the temple complex everyday (morning, evening and late night) as part of the daily ritual. Apart from the annual festival in Feb/March, the temple celebrates Ekadaasi, Ashtamirohini, Thiruonam etc.

Krishnanattom, an ancient classical performance with colorful costumes narrating the story of Sreekrishna is performed inside the temple complex almost every day during night as a ritual offering.  A professional team is maintained by the temple authorities only for performing this.

Outside the temple complex

The following are some interesting things to see and experience for a pilgrim or a tourist, irrespective of religion. The area/pathway on the east is known as Kizhakkenada and that of west is Padinjhare Nada.

Architecture

The temple complex has two Gopurams, one at East and other at West with murals and some sculptures on it.  There are a number of Deepasthabha, pillars with oil lamps in the temple compound. The temple pond, known as Rudratheertha is located on the north side, near the temple.

Wedding ceremonies:
The temple is a venue for many weddings. The wedding ceremony is usually done in the morning, in front of the main entrance on the eastside (Kizhakke nada). Some ritualistic ceremonies like the exchange flower garlands, tieing up the pendant, etc are performed  by the bride and bridegroom, in traditional costumes. 

Prasadam:
Devotees can offer many things to the deity. Some of the common items are Pal Payasam, Appam (sweets), flattened rice, puffed rice, plantain ( some special varieties locally called Poovan, Kadali etc.), butter, flowers and leaves of holy basil etc. After its dedicated to the deity, a portion of it is given back to the devotee as Prasadam.  So the temple authorities are provided a Prasadam counter outside the temple complex, where you can pay the specified amount for each item and collect it. Any traveller can try this sweets, plantain etc.

Murals on the outer walls:
Recently, the authorities have drawn murals on the outer walls of the temple complex so that people from any religion can see and photograph it. These murals are drawn by the artists from the Institute of Mural Painting, run by temple authorities and depict different scenes from the story of Sreekrishna.

Cultural programmes:
The temple is a venue for many cultural performances like Carnatic music, devotional music, Bhajans, classical dances like Mohiniyattam, Bharathanatyam etc. These are staged at Melpathur auditorium, situated in front of Kizhakke Nada.  Such performances are staged almost every day, either organized by the temple authorities or sponsored by other institutions or devotees.

Accommodation & other Facilities to pilgrims

Food & Accommodation:  The temple management is running some hotels and lodging places in vicinity of the temple for pilgrims. There are many hotels and lodging places of various categories in Guruvayur.  The restaurants generally serve Vegetarian feast for lunch. Apart from rice, this include a variety of dishes, Pappad, Pickles, Payasam etc, There are some non-vegetarian restaurants as well as two/three bar attached hotels in Guruvayur town.

Devaswom is providing Car parking (East Nada and South Nada) facility; public toilets/bathrooms, Cloakrooms, Ayurvedic/ Modern medicine clinics and hospitals etc functions here for pilgrims. The authorities also give free lunch to all devotees called Prasada ottu at Annalakshmi hall outside the temple (10.30am onwards)

Shopping: The temple surroundings are a good place for shopping holy materials used by Hindu community, religious books, posters/paintings of different deities, CDs/DVDs of devotional music, classical music, dance/Kathakali performances etc.,  Apart from this you can also see shops selling Khadi/ Handloom clothing, brass/bronze items, artifacts, pappad (the fryms) etc. 

The temple management Guruvayur Devaswom is an independent body under Government of Kerala.

Darshan timing:  3am- 12.30pm & 4.30pm- 10pm;
Temple Ph: +91- 487-2556335

Other places of interest

The Library & reading room
Library is functioning in spacious hall of Vyjayanthy Building in front of Kizhakke nada with a collection of  books on religion, art , philosophy,  culture etc.  and reading room with newspapers and magazines. There are hundreds of rare palm-leaf manuscripts in the reference section. The library and reading room functions between 8am- 8pm except Sundays.

Institute of Mural painting
The institute run by the temple authority is at Kizhakke Nada. Anyone can do a visit there to get an insight about the mural tradition of Kerala. You can also purchase the paintings from there.

Elephant sanctuary 
The domesticated elephants owned by the temple are looked after at Punnathur Kotta, about 3.5km from the temple. More than fifty elephants are taken care of here. Visitors are allowed to see the sanctuary on a small fee. The ancient aristocratic home of the erstwhile Rajas known as Punnathur Kotta, situated in the compound is also worth seeing.  (Ph: +91- 487-2556004)

Mammiyur Shiva Kshethram
Situated less than 700m from Srikrishna Kshethra, Mammiyur temple is dedicated to loed Shiva. But Lord Vishu is also given importance by giving an adjacent sanctumsactorum.

It is believed that the Pilgrimage to Guruvayur temple will be fulfilled only when the devotees visits Mammiyur temple too. Darshan timing: 4.45am- 12.30pm & 4.45pm to 8.30pm). This temple is under a separate management.  Mammiyur Temple- 0487- 2555425

Location/access: Guruvayur is a small town in Thrissur district, about 27km from Thrissur town and about 25km from Thriprayar.  There is a railway station in Guruvayur and connects to Thrissur/Ernakulam, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram.
(Ph: Railway station- 0487- 2556820,  KSRTC bus station- 2556450)

 

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