Musical Play In Temple
About Guruvayoor Temple
Guruvayoor temple Kerala is one of most revered pilgrim destination for people of South India, so much so that it has been termed the Dwarka of South. People from far off come in large numbers just to have a glimpse of the Guruvayoorappan (the form of Lord Vishnu worshipped in the temple) despite knowing the fact that they will have to wait for long hours and the darshan itself will be very short.
The Legend of Guruvayur Temple
It is believed that the idol of Guruvayur or Guruvayoor Devaswom(as known in Malayalam) is blessed by
Lord Narayana himself and also he was the first one to worship
it. Later, he handed over the deity to Brahma so that he could carry
out his work of creation of Universe efficiently. Still later, Brahma,
pleased with the devotion of a childless couple, asked them to worship
the deity. Lord Narayana blessed the childless couple (Sutepa &
Prisna) that he himself will take birth as their son in the next
three janam. Also, they will have the good fortune of worshipping the
same image in all three janams. Accordingly, he was born as Prisigarbha
in their first janam, as Vamana in their second janam (Kasyapa
& Adita) and finally as Sri Krishna in their third
janam (Vasudeva and Devaki).
After his third janam, when time came for Lord Krishna to leave for Vaikundha, he commanded his most trusted disciple to take good care of the idol. He also asked him to install the image, with the help of Lord Brihaspati (Guru), in a place that was as sacred as Dwarka. Hence, Guru, accompanied by Vayu (Lord of Wind) set out for Dwarka. Dwarka, after the departure of the God was submerged in the sea, and the deity kept on tossing with the sea waves. Vayu carried the image of Lord Narayana on his head and started looking for a place to install it with all respect. Finally they arrived in Kerala where they met Parsurama, the creator of the state. He guided them to the lake of lotuses. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were themselves present to welcome the deity. They asked for the deity to be installed at the place while they themselves moved to the other side of the lake. Lord Shiva also said that since the deity of Sri Krishna was installed here by the efforts of Guru and Vayu, the place will be known as Guruvayupuram. Guruvayupuram was later made Guruvayur.
History of Guruvayur Temple
The deity at the Guruvayur Temple is believed to be around 5000 years old. The Central shrine was rebuilt in the year 1638. After this, the shrine saw a number of attempts to destroy it. In 1716, the Dutch, after looting the temple, set it ablaze, however it was rebuilt in 1747. In 1766, Hyder Ali captured Guruvayur but spared the temple but shortly after, in 1789, his son, Tipu, succeeded him and took to converting Hindus to Islam. Fearing that the main deity of Guruvayur would be destroyed, it was hidden underground and a procession (with processional deity) was taken out to Ambalpuzzha. Tipu stormed the temple and put it on fire which luckily could not cause much damage because of the downpour of rains and a bodiless voice. After Tipu's ouster by the Britishers, both the deities were reinstalled. The year 1841 saw the Government of Madras restoring the Devdaya (free gift conferred upon by Hyder Ali) that was abolished by Tipu. From this period onwards, the temple saw much developments and progressed well, still it was closed for the untouchables. The efforts of Kellapan, also known as the Gandhi of Kerala, ensured that the untouchables also got a right to worship the deity in the temple 1946.
Inside the Temple
The Temple of Guruvayur manifests the rules laid down in the ancient treatise on architecture. Accordingly, it faces eastern direction and has two Gopurams - in its eastern and western portion. The area between the two Gopurams is covered with tiles and is known as the Anapanthal. Right in the middle of Anapanthal is Nalambalam, a squared shaped pillared hall. A sub shrine of Lord Ayappa occupies the portion that lies south to Nalambalam. Further, northeast of this shrine is the Koothambalam, a place which hosted the dance performances in olden times. The front side of Nalambalam has a pillar of light, Deepstambhas. There are a number of light pillars in the temple and they command special attention from the visitors. For example one of the Deepstambha rises to a height of 24 feet and has a total of 13 circular receptacles to hold the wicks. One of the other deepstambha at the temple is in the form of a tree. There is also a glittering gold covered Dwijastambha or flagpost soaring to a height of 70 feet.
The Sree Kovil or the Sanctum Sanctorum is square in shape and has two stairs and three rooms inside. The inner room, also known as the Grabh Griha houses the main deity. The Guruvayoor appan or the idol represents the traditional form of Lord Vishnu with all his four arms stretched out and carrying sankh (conch), chakra (wheel), gadha (club) and padmam (lotus). There are two other idols in the temple made of gold and silver. The one made of silver is considered much older and is used only during Arattu ( a festival custom) and few other significant occasion. The walls inside the Sree Kovil is full of mural paintings. The theme of the painting, undoubtedly, reflects the puaranic legends as well as Krishna leela. The doors and roofs of Sree Kovil are plated with gold. Infact the bells, which number an auspicious 101, are also made of silver and plated in gold. Sopanam, the stairs that lead upto the Sanctum Sanctorum are constructed of stone and embellished with carvings and designs.
The outer room of Sree Kovil is called Mukhamandapam. Right infront of Sree Kovil is the square shaped Namaskara Mandapam with a pyramidal roof. The north easter side of Sree Kovil is occupied by the temple well known as the Manikinar. On the northern side is a smaller Devi shrine dedicated to 'Edathririthi Kavu'. Oottupura is a place where daily lunch for devotees is organized.
Guruvayur Devaswom - The Temple Festival
The most important of all is the Utsavam which
is celebrated in the month of Feb - March and continues for 10 days.
The first day witnesses the hoisting of the temple flag atop the
flagstaff followed by an Guruvayoor elephant race. The next six day also see a
lot of elephant processions being taken out in the morning, afternoon
and night that is lead by Guruvayoor Kesavan(the lead elephant). Numerous cultural programs are conducted during this
period. The eighth day, Utsavbali has a grand feast prepared
for the devotees. On the ninth day, Pallivetta or the hunting
expedition of the Lord takes place which highlights the end of evils
like desire and anger. Thereafter, the Lord's Thidambu is carried to
the temple tank, Rudrateertha for Aarattu. A number of devotees take a
holy dip in the water of the pond in order to rinse themselves off the
sins they have committed. At the end, the deity is brought back to the
temple and the flag is lowered. This is indicative of the fact that
the festival has come to an end.
Other festivals celebrated in the temple with huge fervour include Vishu (Malayali New Year), Vaishka, Ashtami, Ashtami Rohini, Kuchela's Day, Mandalam, Ekadasi, Chembai music festival & Narayaneeyam day.
Darshan Timings for Devotees - 9 am to 11.30 am, 5 PM to 6.15 PM and 6.45 PM to 7.30 PM