Guruvayoor Temple

Guruvayoor Sri Krishna Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Krishna (an avatar of the god Vishnu), located in the town of Guruvayoor in Kerala, India. It is one of the most important places of worship for Hindus of Kerala and is often referred to as "Bhuloka Vaikunta” which translates to the "Holy Abode of Vishnu on Earth".

The presiding deity of the Guruvayoor Temple is Vishnu, worshipped in the form of Krishna. The central icon is a four-armed standing Krishna carrying the conch Panchajanya, the discus Sudarshana Chakra, the mace Kaumodaki and a lotus with a Holy basil garland. This image represents the majestic form of Vishnu as revealed to Krishna's parents Vasudeva and Devaki around the time of Krishna's birth; hence Guruvayoor is also known as "Dwarka of South India". He is currently worshipped according to routines laid down by Adi Shankara and later written formally in the Tantric way, the inter-religious spiritual movement that arose in medieval India, by Cennas Narayanan Nambudiri (born in 1427). The Cennas Nambudiris are the hereditary tantris (high priest) of the Guruvayoor Temple.

The Krishna temple in the town of Guruvayoor in Kerala is one of the five famous Krishna/Vishnu temples in India. The others are the Jagannath Temple in Puri in Orissa, Tirupati Venkatachalapati in Andhra Pradesh, Nathdwara in Rajasthan and Dwaraka in Gujarat. Of course there are many other famous ones of Vishnu as well as of Krishna but these are considered to be the most popular. Even though the idol in Guruvayoor is that of Vishnu it is still known as a Krishna temple since the boy Lord Krishna is always said to be running around incognito in the temple precincts. Guruvayoor is known as “Bhooloka Vaikunta” or the abode of Vishnu on earth, as the idol represents the full form of Lord Vishnu.

God Krishna in Guruvayoor is popularly called Sri Guruvayoorappan. Appan means God or father so the title means the God of Guruvayoor. The small idol is made of the stone known as black antimony and is a magnetic stone said to have special medicinal properties. Every morning the God is anointed in til oil. He is then sprinkled with a special cleansing powder made of herbs known as “vaka”. This powder is light brown in colour and gives an added hue to the idol. Crowds go to the temple at 3 A.M in order to see this charming sight. Then water from the temple, consecrated with mantras is poured over the idol for his ritual bath. This holy water is then eagerly drunk by the devotees since it is said to contain a little of the miraculous properties of the stone of which the idol is made.

The history of the idol goes back to the age of Dwapara when God Krishna was present on earth. His parents were Vasudeva and Devaki. They two of them had been great devotees of God Vishnu for many ages. After assiduously wooing him for many births, the God had manifested himself to them and promised that he would be born as their son for three lives in succession. He promised them liberation at the end of these three births. This was their last birth as Devaki and Vasudeva in the clan of the Yadavas in the city of Mathura and Krishna was born to them as their eighth son. The idol of God Vishnu which is found in Guruvayoor is one which had been worshipped by Devaki and Vasudeva and one can easily imagine that it must also have been worshipped by God Krishna himself. This is the greatness and glory of this particular idol of God Vishnu – that Vishnu himself had done puja to it in his incarnation as Krishna.

At the end of his earthly sojourn, Krishna prophesied to his friend and devotee, Uddhava that the island of Dwaraka, which had been his stronghold, would be swept away by the sea, seven days after he left his mortal body. He instructed him to rescue the precious idol of Vishnu which his parents had worshipped, and hand it over to Brihaspati, the guru of the gods who would come to him. After seven days, the island submerged in the sea as foretold by God Krishna. Uddhava went sadly to the seashore and saw the idol bobbing up and down on the waves far out in the sea. He begged the wind god – Vayu to bring it closer to him. The wind wafted it gently to the shore and Uddhava picked it up lovingly and cradled it in his arms. As he was wondering how to contact the guru of the gods, he found that Brihaspati himself was walking towards him. Uddhava told him the whole story of how God Krishna had instructed him and Brihaspati who knew everything agreed to take it and install it at some special place. He was sure that he would be given further instructions.

Now Brihaspati asked Vayu, the wind god to transport him through the air so that they could choose a perfect spot for the installation. Carrying the precious idol in his hands, Brihaspati was wafted across the sub-continent of India till they came almost to the sea shore to the spot where the present town of Guruvayoor now stands. Looking down Brihaspati saw a beautiful lake filled with lotuses on the banks of which Shiva and Parvati were dancing. He was charmed by the sight and he requested Vayu to float him down. For some time he stood spell-bound by the dancing couple. When they had finished he prostrated to them and begged Shiva to tell him of a perfect spot to install the idol of Vishnu. Shiva said that this was indeed the ideal place. He told him to build the temple right there at one end of the lake where he and Parvati had been dancing. He magnanimously said that he himself would take up residence at the other end of the lake which was known as Rudrathirta. The temple of Mammiyoor to which Shiva shifted still exists. However, during the course of time the lake dried up little by little and now only the temple tank adjoining the Guruvayoor temple remains to tell the tale of this ancient lake. The word Guruvayoor has special connotations. It is made up of two words “guru” and “vayu”. Guru means preceptor and vayu is wind. The idol was installed by Brihaspati, the guru of the gods and Vayu, the god of wind and hence came to be known as Guru-vayoor! The word also has an esoteric meaning. It stands for the body of the human being which is the abode of wind. The five pranas or vital breaths are what sustain the body and make it function properly.

- Source: Wikipedia

Dress code for entering the temple

Strict dress code exists for people who wish to enter the Guruvayoor Temple. Men are to wear mundu around their waist, without any dress covering their chest. But it is allowed to cover the chest region with a small piece of cloth (veshthi). Boys are allowed to wear shorts, but they are also prohibited from wearing a shirt. Girls and women are not allowed to wear any trouser like dresses or short skirts. Women are allowed to wear sari and girls are to wear long skirt and blouses. Presently the dress code for women have been relaxed with salwar kameez (churidar pyjamas) being allowed. Like all other temples in India, footwear is strictly prohibited. Security restrictions prevent carrying of mobile phones or cameras into the temple.

Temple Timings

The timings given are approximate. It may vary if there is Udayasthamana pooja or on certain special occasions.

3.00 am Temple Open
3.00am to 3.30am Nirmalyam
3.20am to 3.30am Thailabhishekam, Vakacharthu, Sankhabhishekam
3.30am to 4.15am Malar Nivedyam, Alankaram
4.15am to 4.30am Usha Nivedyam
4.30am to 6.15am Ethirettu pooja followed by Usha Pooja
7.15am to 9.00am Seeveli,Palabhishekam,Navakabhish ekam, Pantheeradi Nivedyam, and Pooja
11.30am to 12.30pm Ucha pooja (the noon pooja)
4.30 pm Temple Reopen
4.30pm to 5.00pm Seeveli
6.00pm to 6.45pm Deeparadhana
7.30pm to 7.45pm Athazha pooja Nivedyam
7.45pm to 8.15pm Athazha Pooja
8.45pm to 9.00pm Athazha seeveli
9.00pm to 9.15pm Thrippuka, Olavayana
9.15pm The Sreekovil remains closed.