Guruvayur Temple Kerala

Place::Guruvayur, Thrissur , Kerala

Significance:Guruvayur temple, one of the greatest Krishna shrines in India

Best Time to Visit:October to March

Guruvayur also known as the Dwaraka of the South is the one of the most popular Hindu pilgrimage spots in Kerala, attracting thousands of pilgrims from all parts of the country. It is situated 33km North of Thrissur, around 100km from Ernakulam. The main attraction here is the Sree Krishna temple known as 'Guruvayoor Ambalam' one of the greatest Krishna shrines in India. The structure of this historic temple is typically Kerala style with gopurams (gateways), repeated mandapas, sreekovil, subsidiary shrines around a courtyard circumbulatory.

The idol of the Sri Krishna Temple is said to have been worshipped by Lord Brahma himself at Dwaraka and gifted to Vishnu in his Krishnavataram. After Lord Krishna left this earth for his heavenly abode, and the holy city of Dwaraka was to be submerged, 'Guru', the preceptor of the Devas and 'Vayu', Lord of the winds were entrusted with the job of finding an equally holy spot for the idol. At the end of a long quest for an appropriate site they entered Kerala and met Parasurama, legendary creator of Kerala.


He led them to a beautiful lake full of lotuses, the present temple tank, 'Rudratirtha', beside which Shiva and Parvati waited to welcome them. The idol was duly installed at this spot and lovingly called Guruvauurappan, or the Lord of Guruvayur. Since the installation was done by Guru and Vayu the place was named as Guruvayurappa and later on as Guruvayur. Shiva and Parvathi installed themselves in Mammiyur temple at the opposite bank of the lake. Guruvayur temple is linked with Melpattur Narayana Bhattathiri, the author of 'Narayaneeyam' (16th century) a Sanskrit work comprising 1000 slokas (couplets) of inimitable beauty which is believed to have been composed in front of the deity here.

Precious materials are everywhere, as in a golden flagstaff and flimsy replicas of the arms, legs, ears and other affected parts of worshippers that are given as offerings. The temple faces east with two gopurams (gateways) one on the east and the other in the west. The Eastern 'gopuram' (Kizhakkenada) of the Sri Krishna temple, also known as Bhooloka Vaikuntam, is the main entrance to the shrine. In the centre of the inner courtyard stands a pillared hall known as the 'Nalambalam' or 'Chutambalam' with scores of oil lambs fixed on its walls. Inside the Chutambalam or outer enclosure is the square two-storeyed Sreekovil (main shrine) with three rooms, the innermost of which is the sacred sanctum sanctorum housing the main deity and can be viewed from the temple entrance.