Name of the Temple

Sri Guruvayurappan temple

Period of origin

Before 3000 years

Name of deity

Moolavar: Guruvayurappan

Pushkarani: Rudratheertha

Vriksham:  Manjula aal

Sthalapuranam:

After the destruction of Yadava clan, Krishna too left the earth. Very soon the whole of Dwarka was submerged under water. Everything was destroyed except the idol of the Lord. Krishna himself had installed that idol in the temple built by him at Dwaraka. Udhava, Krishna’s closest disciple retrieved it from sea and approached Guru (the teacher of Devas) and Vayu (God of Winds) to find an idol spot to install the idol.

Guru and Vayu went around the world in search of an ideal place. They met Parasurama who led them to a lush green spot with a beautiful lotus tank where they felt the presence of Lord Siva and Parvathy. The idol was installed there. Siva with Parvathy left to the opposite bank, at Mammiyur. Siva permitted Guru 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 and Vayu)

Vishwakarma, the divine architect was requested to built a Temple , which he made in such a way that on the day of Vishu (Summer equinox), the sun himself makes his obeisance . His first rays on that day fall straight on the Lord’s feet. The idol was installed in the solar month of Kumbha. (February – March).

Guruvayur also known as the Dwaraka of the South is the one of the most importnat sites in the South for the Hindus. The idol of Guruvayur temple is unique, since it is carved out of “Pathalanjana Sila”, and is considered extremely sacred. This idol was once worshipped by Mahavishnu himself in Vaikunta, so Guruvayur is considered to be ” Bhooloka Vaikunta ” – the heaven on earth.

On the final day of the temple festival there is a custom to pour tender coconut water on the deity. The coconuts for this purpose from a family called Thampuran Patikal. There is a legend behind this. Thampuran patikal is a family belongs to Ezhava community which was banned from entering the temple on the days when the discrimination in the name of cast was prevailing. There was one Kittai, as the head of the family then. Sometime back on the Arattu day (Final day of temple festival) Kittai was busy in collecting coconuts in his farm. At that time one of the assistant priests from the Guruvayur Temple came there and asked for some tender coconut water. As busy with his work, Kittai did not heed to his plea and the priest went back. Suddenly coconuts start falling from the trees. Surprised with this Kittai got scared and he remembered about the plea of the priest. Fearing further curses, he came to the temple with almost 25 coconuts and explained everything to the temple authorities. To the surprise of Kittai, the authorities told him that none of the priests went outside the temple on that day. Then everybody realized that it was lord himself who went to Kittai’s house in disguise of a priest because he wants to enjoy the tender coconut water. Then it made a custom to have coconut water abhisheka every year on that day.

The temple celebrates many Vaishnava festivals among which the Vrichika Ekadasi is very important.  The festival begins 18 days earlier.  The temple has 52 elephants. They only open temple doors.  As an elephant carries Lord during festivals, a running race is conducted among them and the winner elephant would thus become eligible to carry the Lord during festivals.  The temple will be opened at 3.00 a.m. and the first puja is offered to Lord Krishna without removing the garlands etc. used in the previous day.  This is known as Nirmalya Puja.  Abishek follows then.  Many visit the temple on Chithirai 1st – April 14 for the darshan when the Melshanthi (chief priest) offers Kai Neettam – offering a coin to the devotees considered a gift direct from Lord.  Handful of coins is offered to Kerala politicians that day.  This means that with the blessings of Lord Guruvayurappan, there won’t be money shortage for the devotee throughout the year. Parents do the first rice feeding (Choru Oottal in Tamil and Malayalam) to their children, a ritual called Anna prasanam in this temple on April 14 each year being the Chithirai Vishu-Tamil New year day.  It is their staunch faith that Lord would take care of the child with nutritious food for ever.

The famous work Naaraayaneeyam – authored in the 16th century was composed in the presence of the presiding deity here, and its author is believed to have been cured of an incurable bout of arthritis. At the time of the political turmoil that prevailed during the period of Tippu Sultan, the image of Krishna was taken to Ambalapuzha for safety and worshipped there for a period of 2 years. It was then brought back in 1789. The temple faces east. Crowds throng the entrance, and are let in through a queue system. The sanctum can be viewed from the temple entrance. There are also shrines to Durga (Edathidettukkaavu Bhagawati), and Sastha here.

It is believed that Aadi Sankaracharya set up the worship protocol here. The Nirmalya Darisanam is celebrated in the pre-dawn hours (3 am). The sanctum closes at 9 pm, and it stays open throughout the day except for a break between 1pm and 4 pm. A series of worship services are conducted throughout the day. A festival image of the deity is carried in procession around the temple during various rituals. Worship at Guruvayur is considered complete after visiting the Mammiyur Mahadevar temple nearby. The mandala ulsavam is celebrated for a period of 41 days towards the end of each calendar year. The annual ulsavam or festival is celebrated in the month of Kumbha, and this festival concludes with an elephant race.

The legends of Guruvayur Temple will not be complete without mentioning certain incidents and about certain persons. Poonthanam and Melppattur Bhattathir were two such persons. Although both were devotees of Lord Guruvayurappan, he is believed to have a soft corner towards Poonthanam who was quite innocent and not a Vedic scholar like Melpattoor. Poonthanam has written “Jnanappana” or the “Verses of Knowledge “in Malayalam and gave it to Melpattoor for proof reading. Melpattoor was an eminent scholar in Sanskrit and he had a sort of disrespect towards Malayalam. Hence he refused to correct the book and told Poonthanam to learn “vibhakthi” (a part of Sanskrit grammar) first. Melapattur was writing his famous “Narayaneeyam” on those days and it was a practice for him to recite the verses he had completed each day in front of the deity. On that day when he went to recite the verses, to his utter shock he found that he cannot even open his mouth. At the same time a small boy appeared there and started reciting the verses which he had completed on that day and started finding out many mistakes in those verses and started kidding Melpattur. After finishing it he disappeared suddenly. At the same time there was a voice from nowhere saying “I love Poonthanam’s bhakthi (devotion) more than Melpattur’s Vibhakthi (Grammar). Suddenly, Melpattur recognized his mistake and he went to Poonthanam and consoled him with so many words and took the hand written copy of ‘Jnanappana’ from him and returned it after making necessary corrections. There are many stories related to these two devotees which will be told in later posts. Now it will be better to go with the legends of some special places in Guruvayur and special occasions and practices in Guruvayur temple.

Almost half a kilometer away from the east entrance of the temple you will see a huge banyan tree. It is called as the Manjula aal. Aal in Malayalam means banyan tree and Manjula is a common name given to girls in Kerala. The legend is that there was a girl called Manjula and she was an ardent devotee of lord Krishna at Guruvayur temple. She used to present floral garlands to lord every day. Once she came late and the temple was almost getting closed then. The priests refused to accept her garland as they did not want to waste their time in closing the temple. She got hurt on the behavior of temple priests and sat in front of the east entrance weeping. Seeing this Poonthanam came near to her and asked the reason for her agony. She explained everything. Touched by her innocence and devotion towards lord Krishna, Poonathanam advised her to put the garland at the feet of a banyan trees approximately half a kilometer away from there. He promised her that the lord will wait there to accept her garland. She did so with full confidence and went back home.

The next day when the priests opened the temple to their surprise they saw a different garland on the deity which they have not kept on the previous day. Seeing the garland Poonthanam recognized it as the one Manjual brought on the previous day. He explained the incident to all and the devotees rushed to have a piece of flower from that garland. Since then the banyan tree, beneath which Manjula put the garland came to known as Manjula aal.

Route:

Guruvayoor is 20 km far from Trissur in Kerala and is linked by convenient transport facility from all corners of the country

Temple Timings:

Time Pooja
3.00am to 3.20am Nirmalyam
3.20am to 3.30am Thailabhishekam, Vakacharthu, Sankhabhishekam
3.30am to 4.15am Malar Nivedyam, Alankaram
4.15am to 4.30am Usha Nivedyam
4.30am to 6.15am Ethirettu pooja followed by Usha pooja
7.15am to 9.00am Seeveli,Palabhishekam,Navakabhishekam, Pantheeradi Nivedyam, and Pooja
11.30am to 12.30pm Ucha pooja (The Noon Pooja)
4.30pm to 5.00pm Seeveli
6.00pm to 6.45pm Deeparadhana
7.30pm to 7.45pm Athazha pooja Nivedyam
7.45pm to 8.15pm Athazha pooja
8.45pm to 9.00pm Athazha seeveli
9.00pm to 9.15pm Thrippuka, Olavayana
9.15pm The Sreekovil will be closed.
The timings given are approximate. It may vary if there is Udayasthamana pooja or on certain special occasions.

Temple Telephone Number:

+91-487-255 6335, 255 6799, 255 6347, 255 6365

Temple Address:

Sri Guruvayurappan Temple,

Guruvayoor,

Trissur district,

Kerala.