A serene temple town that wakes up to the call of the conch. The aroma of fresh sandalwoods, incense sticks, half-bloomed jasmines and camphor waft in the air as the Gopuram cast in crimson and bathed in a tangerine glow witnesses the sun spreading its largess into a grateful sky.
Legend has it that the temple was established by the Teacher of the Gods (Guru) and Lord of the Winds (Vayu) to honour the sacred idol of Krishna that was submerged in a flood in Dwarka and that's how the name "Guruvayur" was derived. The central icon of this temple is in the form of Vishnu as revealed to Devaki and Vasudeva at the time of Sri Krishna’s birth. This is why the deity is worshipped in the form of a baby.
The temple opens at 3.00 am in the morning for ‘Nirmalyam’ and the devotees wait to get a glimpse of Krishna, chanting sacred verses from Poonthanam’s ‘Jnanappana’, believed to be the deity’s favourite poem.
Held together by beautiful architecture, lores and legends, a tapestry of stories are woven into the corners and streets of this 14th- century temple.
The locals also mention a plethora of myths and legends about the unique installations and sights in and around this temple.
The tale of the Lucky red seeds or Manjadikuru placed outside the temple sanctum in a huge golden vessel, the story of the Garuda structure ‘Manjulal’ placed 1 km away from the temple, the tale of Mahaprabhu, a 54 feet terracotta statue near Sreevalsam and the story of Guruvayur Keshavan, the most popular temple elephant, are sure to inspire the travellers, reminding them the sheer meaning of discovery.
This sacred shrine is a perfect example of Kerala’s temple Vastuvidya and has a repletion of ancient mural paintings on all three sides depicting the erotic forms of Krishna Leela.
This temple is starkly different from the Shiva Temple in Mammiyoor which is dedicated to Lord Mahadeva. Revered as a part of the 108 renowned Shiva temples in the world, this Mahadeva Kshetram is the abode of Lord Mahavishnu, Ganapathi, Muruga, Darma Sastha, Brahmmarakshas, Serpent Gods, and Mother Bhagavati Amman. A devotee should visit Mammiyoor temple after revering the deity at Guruvayur Sri Krishna temple, so goes the staunch belief of the localites.
Some of the other temples near Guruvayur are Sree Parthasarathy Temple, Sree Chamundeswari Temple and Kodungaloor Bhagavathi Kshetram. The Chavakkad Beach and Chetuva backwaters near this town are ideal for birdwatchers and nature lovers.
The town is full of surprises. And it won’t fail to surprise your taste buds either. From the Paalpayasam and Kadhalipazham that you receive from the Guruvayur temple prasadham counter to the piping hot filter coffee and ghee roast from the nearby Coffee House, each and every flavour in Guruvayur evokes a unique taste – the taste of legends and traditions extant since time unknown.
Evening is a great time to walk around the tranquil streets of this town. Banyan trees swaying in the cool breeze, smell of local snacks fried in ghee, women tying garlands with tulsi leaves, lotuses and jasmines, shop keepers in East Nada dusting rows of neatly arranged sandalwood chains and beautiful antique brass statues, neighbours watching art forms in the Melpathoor auditorium – the sights are unending for a traveller who seeks much more than just the destination, for a traveller who seeks the joy of discovery.
Destination Type: Heritage
Destinations Nearby: Thrissur 28 km, Kochi 64 km, Calicut 60 km
Languages: Malayalam and English
Nearest Railway Station: Guruvayur
Nearest Airport: Calicut Iternational Airport 60 km
Summer: March to May. Summers are hot with temperature ranging from 25°C to 38°C.
Monsoon: June to September. Guruvayur experiences heavy rainfall during the monsoon with temperature ranging from 23°C to 29°C and is less crowded.
Winter: December to February. Temperature ranges form 17°C to 30°C. Winter is the season to attend the famous festivals.