Guruvayoor Temple is located at Guruvayoor town in Trichur district of Kerala. This temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna, one of the Avatars of Lord Vishnu. The temple is one of the most popular Hindu temples in South India. Here, Krishna is also known as Bhooloka Vaikunda Nathan. At this temple, people worship Vishnu through Krishna. Guruvayoor temple is also known as south India’s Dwaraka. The rituals and procedures for worshiping as laid down by Adi Sankara are followed in this temple. The temple follows all tantric values and is supervised by the main Tantri who remains in the temple 24*7. The main Tantri will not eat anything until he finishes the noon pooja by 12.30 pm.
Photo by arunpnair
As per the ‘Kokasandesam’, a Tamil literature, it is to be believed that Guruvayoor temple has been there for more than 5000 years. Even in the Narayaneeyam, which was written in the 16th century, there is a mention of this temple. The actual records show it from the 17th century. Earlier, Guruvayoor was known as Kuruvai means “Sea”. The temple has been mentioned by the Alwars who were Tamil saints. Guruvayoor temple is highly regarded by the Hindu followers. You will see very rare people in south India who have not visited this temple at least once in their life span.
The Rise of Guruvayoor
There used to be an event called Mamankam at Thirunavaya which was on the banks of the river Bharathapuzha. But later, the Raja of Thirunavaya and Zamorins had a war for some specific reason. Because of that, people were not able to cross the River and went to worship Lord Krishna of Guruvayoor. This made the place very famous among the people and later even the Zamorins started worshipping Guruvayoor Krishna.
Photo by Rameshng
According to studies, it is known that the temple which we see now was built in 1638 AD. They did the Vishwabhali also to make temple shrine clean from the evils. Later, the Dutch destroyed the Guruvayoor temple and took away all the precious metals and money from the temple and put fire to the western part of the temple. But in 1747 AD, it was rebuilt and by that time, Guruvayoor had become a very famous pilgrimage for the Hindu followers.
As per history, in 1766 AD, Hyder Ali attacked Kozhikode and captured the area. He asked for a huge amount of money to spare the temple from his attack. They paid it, but it was a huge amount and they faced issues in supplying rice because of the crunch. The devotees almost stopped coming to the temple because of Hyder Ali. But the Governor of Malabar discussed the matter with Hyder Ali and he said not to pay any amount further. But later, Tippu attacked the temple though the temple survived.
The Elephant Palace
Photo by arunpnair
Guruvayoor temple is the only temple which has the most number of elephants under its Dewasam or governance. The Punnattur Kotta is a place where all the elephants owned by the temple are kept and treated like human beings. They have around 60 elephants in this Aanakotta. Most of the elephants are donated by the devotees and they opt to give males rather than female. Male elephants are many in numbers because of this custom.
Photo by Rakesh Konni
Guruvayoor Dewasam had an elephant called Guruvayoor Kesavan, which was very famous among the elephant lovers in Kerala. It is believed that this elephant had some spiritual power also. It died around 40 years ago but the town has many stories to share about the majestic elephant. Every year, in the month of Karkkidakam, the Dewasam gives one month’s Ayurveda treatment called Sukhachikilsa for all those elephants.
Photo by shankar s.
Guruvayoor Ekadasi is the famous festival of this temple. In the month of Kumbham, this annual festival is celebrated. This festival ends with Guruvayoor elephant race. The Elephant race is very famous and you can huge numbers of devotees visiting the temple during the festival. During mandala pooja also there is a festival in Guruvayoor. This temple is one of the richest in south India.
Featured Photo by Pyngodan