Guruvayoor Sri Krshna Temple at Trichur

Guruvayur Sri Krshna Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Krshna, located in the town of Guruvayur 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 idol installed at Guruvayur Sri Krshna Temple represents a form of Krshna with its four arms carrying the conch Pancajanya, the magical discus with serrated edges Sudarshana Chakra, the mace Kaumodaki and a lotus with a boly basil garland. This idol represents the majestic form of god Vishnu as revealed to Vasudeva and Devaki around the time of Krshna; hence Guruvayur is also known as "Dwaraka of South India". Krishna is popularly known in Kerala by different names such as Kannan, Unnikkannan ("Baby" Kannan), Unnikkrshnan, Balakrshnan, and Guruvayurappan. The "presiding" deity in the Sri Kovil of the Guruvayur Sri Krshna Temple is Vishnu. He is currently worshipped (the "puja") 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 of the Guruvayur Temple The temple (puja) routines are strictly followed. The tantri is available full time at the Temple to ensure this. The Melsanti (Chief Priest) enters the sanctum sanctorum at 2:30 in the morning and does not drink anything up to the completion of "noon worships" at 12:30 PM. The Vedic traditions being followed at this temple with absolute perfection is the hallmark of the Guruvayur temple. It is important to note here that, even though the shrine is considered to be one of the holiest spots for Vaishnavites, the temple is not a part of the famous 108 Holy Temples.

Story of the deity

The deity of the Guruvayur Temple is unique, since it is carved out of a stone called "Patalanjana Stone", and is considered extremely sacred by the Hindus. This idol was once worshipped by god Vishnu in Vaikuntha and he handed it over to god Brahma. King Sutapas and his wife worshipped Brahma for a child and being gratified with their devotion, they received this Deity from him and advised them to start worshipping it. Being pleased with their worship, Vishnu appeared before them and blessed them with the boon that he himself will be born as their child in their four re-births in three different forms and in four different situations, with the deity. Thus they got the good fortune to worship the same deity in all four rebirths. They gave birth to Prsnigarbha who gave to the world the practice of Brahmacarya (Celibacy). In their next birth, Sutapas and his wife were born as Kasyapa and Aditi and their son was Vamana. In the third rebirth as Dasaratha and Kausalya, Vishnu was born as their son Rama. In the fourth rebirth as Vasudeva and Devaki, Vishnu was born as their eighth child Krshna. In the long run, god Krshna himself installed this deity at Dwaraka and worshipped it knowing that it is none other than himself. At the time of Krshna's ascension to heaven, his devotee Uddhava became sad thinking of the departure of Krshna. Krshna then gave his foremost disciple and devotee Uddhava this deity and instructed him to entrust Bṛhaspati (the master of the demi-gods) with the task of taking the deity to a suitable location. Uddhava was plunged in grief thinking of the fate that would befall the world in the Age of the Demon during his absence. Krshna pacified Uddhava and promised him that he himself would manifest in the deity and shower his blessings on the devotees who take refuge in him. A deluge had closed in on Dwaraka, but Bṛhaspati salvaged the deity floating in the water, with the help of his prime disciple Vayu. Bṛhaspati and Vayu went around the world in search of an ideal place. At last they entered Kerala through Palakkad gap where they met Parasurama who was going to Dwaraka in search of the very deity they were bringing. Parasurama led Bṛhaspati and Vayu to a lush green spot with a beautiful lotus lake where they felt the presence of god Siva. Siva along with Parvati welcomed them and told them that this would be the ideal spot for installing the deity. Siva permitted Bṛhaspati and Vayu to perform the consecration rites and blessed them that henceforth this place would be known as "Guruvayur" (since the installation was done by guru ("master") Bṛhaspati and Vayu). Siva with Parvati then left to the opposite bank to Mammiyur. It is in memory of this incident that a pilgrimage to Guruvayur is said to be complete only with a worship of "Mammiyur Siva" also. Viśvákarma, the divine architect of the demi-gods built the temple. He made it in such a way that on the day of Vishu (summer equinox) the first rays of the sun fall straight on to Vishnu's feet. The deity was installed in the solar month of Kumbha (February - March) and the ceremony was begun on the seventh asterism of Puyam and completed on the day of Anizham

Location and transport

The temple is located about 29 km from Thrissur. The nearest railway station is at Guruvayur. Only Guruvayur-Chennai Egmore express train from Chennai via Thiruvananthapuram, Madurai and Tiruchirapalli runs up to this station. However, a regular passenger train service to Ernakulam via Thrissur is available. The nearest major railway station with better connectivity is at Thrissur. The nearest airport (75 km) is Cochin International Airport, at Nedumbassery near Kochi. Guruvayur is well connected from all major towns of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Various private and state government-owned bus companies operate regular services to this temple town. The annual festival starts by hoisting the holy flag on the golden mast erected in front of the Temple. The holy rope for hoisting the Flag comes from Sree Mahavishnu Temple at Panangad near Kochi as a procession.

Dress code for entering the temple

Strict dress code exists for people who wish to enter the Guruvayur 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 shalwar kameez (churidar pyjamas) being allowed. Unlike in northern India, in Kerala and other southern Indian states Hindu women do not cover their heads in temples. Like all other temples in India, footwear is strictly prohibited. Security restrictions prevent carrying of mobile phones or cameras into the temple
Timings of Guruvayur Temple

Guruvayur Temple opens daily at 03:00 AM with Nirmalya Darshan and will be closed at 12:30 PM. The temple reopens at 4:30 PM and closed at 09:15 PM.

Elephant Sanctuary

The elephant sanctuary at Punnathur Kotta which is 3 km from Guruvayur is worth visiting. This is the largest elephant sanctuary and the elephants were offered by the devotees of the Lord. Gajapooja and Anayoottu (elephant feeding) are conducted here.

How to reach Sree Krishna Temple, Guruvayur

Railway Station Guruvayur Railway Station is on the east of the temple which is connected to the Chennai - Mangalore main line at Thrissur. Thrissur Railway Station is the nearest major railway station about 29 km from Guruvayoor.

By Road Guruvayoor is well connected with other parts of the country by road transport. Both KSRTC and private bus services offers interstate bus services to almost all major cities in south India including Palani, Madurai, Mookambika, Ooty, Coimbatore, Dindigul, Salem, Mysore, Chennai, Mangalore, and Udupi. National Highway 17 (NH 17) passes through Kunnamkulam about 8 km away from Guruvayur.

Airport Kochi International Airport (Nedumbassery Airpot) is the nearest airport, which is about 80 km from Guruvayur. Calicut International Airport (Karipur Airport) is another nearest airport around 100 km from Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple.

Visit Near Guruvayur Temple

Being an important Hindu pilgrimage center, Guruvayur is home for some of the famous temples in Kerala. Some of the famous temples located near by include Mammiyoor Temple, Parthasarathi Temple, Narayanamkulangara Bhagavati Temple, Tiruvenkatam Temple, and Sreekandapuram Vishnu Temple.