Dedicated to Lord Krishna, Guruvayur Temple is one of the most famous temples in the entire south India. The serene and pious atmosphere of the temple attracts thousands of Hindu devotees from all over the world. The idol of the deity is magnificently carved. The deity is depicted in a standing position with four arms, each carrying an object in it, namely Panchajanya (conch shell), Sudarshana Chakra (Discus), Kaumodaki (Mace) and a lotus. The idol always stays adorned with garland made of Thulasi leaves. One of the popular legend which is associated with the temple states that Lord Siva (Rudra) performed Tapas and worshipped Lord Maha Vishnu at this place under the water of the sacred tank which is still located on the Northern side of the temple. The tank thus got the name of Rudra-Theertham.
Guruvayoor is a very old temple. However, there are no scriptures available that could establish the exact year of its construction. It is supposed that the idol which is worshipped at this temple is 5000 years old, but there is still no evidence to support the claim. According to a popular legend the temple is related to the city of Dwarka. When the city was submerged under the sea with its natives, Guru and Vayu were allocated the job to search for a new place that was equally sacred and beautiful as Dwarka, for a new temple.
Finally, the two were able to find a new location for the temple. The place was dedicated to the discoverers and was called Guruvayur. The deity of Lord Vishnu which presides here was named Guruvayurappan. The main idol was supposed to be installed by Brihaspati, the Guru of the gods and Vayu, after they invoked Lord Siva and Goddess Parvati for their blessings. The oldest scripture which includes the mention of Guruvayoor temple is Kokasandesam, which is a fourteenth century Tamil scripture. In this the temple, it is mentioned as Kuruvayur. Later in the 16th century the temple became quite popular. It was mentioned in a number of scriptures and literature.
Guruvayoor Temple is a living paradigm of Kerala style traditional architecture. It is a landmark if you want to witness the architectural prodigy of Kerala. The temple building is east facing with two Gopuram, following the traditional basics of Kerala architecture. Another theory behind the temple facing east is that the Sun God Surya pays homage to lord Vishnu on Vishu Day. On this particular day the first rays of the morning sun descend directly at the feet of the deity of Lord Vishnu, as the idol can easily be seen from the main doorway. Another interesting thing to view inside the temple is ‘Chuttambalam’, with a Dhwajastambham or the flag-staff which is 33.5 m high.
The Dipastambham (used for illuminating a number of lamps together) of Guruvayoor Temple is a massive structure. Its actual beauty comes out when number of lamps are illuminated on this structure. Just ahead of the Dipastambham is located the doorway to the inner sanctum. On either side of this passage are located intricately carved pillars, which give the passageway a magical ambiance.
How to Reach
Guruvayoor Temple is located just 30 km from Thrissur and is well connected to other major towns with an efficient network of roads. So, it is easy to reach the temple by road, as a number of public and private buses operate regularly to and from this temple.
Cochin International Airport is the nearest Airport to this temple. The airport is located 75km away from the temple. One can take cab to and from the airport, to the temple.
The nearest railway station is Guruvayur Railway Station. However, only Guruvayur-Chennai Egmore express train from Chennai plies through this station. One can take a regular passenger train to Ernakulam or Thrissur. From these stations one can easily board trains to the major cities nearby.