Pavitrya

Guruvayoor Temple, Kerala

about-guruvayur

About Guruvayoor Temple:

Guruvayoor, the abode of Lord Sree Guruvayoorappan, is located 29 kms north west to the cultural capital of the ‘God’s own country’, Kerala. This narrow coastline strip of land on the south western edge of Indian subcontinent is one of the 10 paradises in the world.

Guruvayoor is a thriving township in Trichur district of Kerala state in the South of India, its scenic beauty and serenity are breath taking. Guruvayoorappan is the chief diety here – The God which hears the prayers of its pilgrims. Guruvayoorappan is adorned with the holy tulasi (Basil) garland, and pearl necklace the Lord here appears in all radiance to bless the devotees.

History:

Guruvayoor, the abode of Lord Sree Guruvayoorappan, is located 29 kms north west to the cultural capital of the ‘God’s own country’, Kerala. This narrow coastline strip of land on the south western edge of Indian subcontinent is one of the 10 paradises in the world.

Guruvayoor is a thriving township in Trichur district of Kerala state in the South of India, its scenic beauty and serenity are breath taking. Guruvayoorappan is the chief diety here – The God which hears the prayers of its pilgrims. Guruvayoorappan is adorned with the holy tulasi (Basil) garland, and pearl necklace the Lord here appears in all radiance to bless the devotees.

In 1716 AD The Dutch plundered and set fire to the temple. It was rebuilt in 1747 AD.In 1766 AD Haider Ali captured Calicut and Guruvayoor, but spared the temple for a reason of 10000 Ferams which was paid by Vatakkepat Variyar.The general insecurity prevailing; the flow of pilgrims and the annual payment of tenants ceased. Haider Ali however gave a ‘Devadaya’ (free gift) to the temple in 1780 AD., on the recommendation of the Governer of Malabar, Srinivasa Rao and thus saved the temple from total extinction.

In 1789, Tipu Sultan, Haider Ali’s son and successor descended on the scene to defeat the Zamorin and to convert Hindus to Islam. Fearing destruction of the image, the Mulavigraha (Main deity) was hidden underground and the Utsavavigraha (processional deity) was taken to Ambalapuzha. Tipu set fire to and plundered the temple. But a timely rain and an incorporeal voice averted a major catastrophe. After the English drove out Tipu, both the vigrahas (deities) were reinstalled. From 1875 to 1900, the Ullanad Panikars came in and offered their free secures to the lord apart from contributing from their family estates. [Like the earlier devotees Chempakasseri Nambudiri & Desavarma Nambudiri who had donated everything they had, to the lord].

guruvayur-temple

In 1841, the Govt. of Madras restored the Devadaya appropriated by Tipu Sultan. Slowly & steadily the temple became prosperous. All the portions were rebuilt renovated and ornamented. At the turn of the 20th century various reforms have seen in the temple under the administration of its manager Sri Konti Menon. In 1928, the Zamorin once again became responsible for the administration of the temple.

In 1931-32, a Sathyagraha was launched under the leadership of Kerala Gandhi, i.e., Kelappan, a prominent group leader of Kerala, to secure the entry of untouchables in to the temple. All this resulted in the Travancore Temple Entry proclamation in 1936, and similar measures in British Malabar in 1946 & Cochin in 1947. Since then every Hindu is permitted to have a darshan of the Lord outside the sanctum sanctorum (Sree kovil). Yet the offering of Namaskara sadhya (feast) exclusively to Brahmins in the Uttupura (dining hall) continued. Finally this custom was also sapped. From 1st Jan 1982, the Devaswam itself feeds 500 – 1000 pilgrims, with Prasadam (Prasada Oottu). Devotees too can make an offering of any amount for free feeding.

On 30th November 1970, after the 6th day of the annual Ekadasi festival, a disastrous fire broke out in the temple Hindus, Muslims & Christians fought the fire shoulder to shoulder. Despite 5 hours of the raging fire, the Srikovil, the vigraha of Guruvayoorappan, and the subshrines of Ganesha, Ayyappa and Devi, and the flag staff remained intact.

Legend :

The Legend says that when the temple of Dwarka was submerged under the sea, Guru and Vayu were assigned the job to discover an equally holy place for a fresh temple. Ultimately, when they discovered the site, the place came to be known as Guruvayur and the deity, Guruvayurappan. The main idol is said to have got installed by Brihaspati (Guru) and Vayu, by the blessings of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

The oldest mention of Guruvayur is traceable in ‘Kokasandesam’, a fourteenth century Tamil work. In this scripture, it is stated as Kuruvayur. Guruvayoor has scores of references in the works of 16th century. The temple actually got famous with Melpathur’s ‘Narayaniyam’. At this abode of Lord, maximum number of marriages is observed every year.

Architecture:

The structure of the temple gives the hints of typical Kerala temple architecture. The temple is believed to have been designed by the divine architect, Vishwakarma. The temple is erected in such a way that Sun God (Surya) himself pays homage to Vishnu on Vishu day. At this juncture, the first rays of Sun descend directly at the feet of Vishnu. The main doorway to the shrine is from the eastern side. Form the main doorway; one can observe the idol of the Lord.

In the temple, the ‘Chuttambalam’ is a gold-plated ‘dhwajastambham’ or flag-mast, which extends to the height of 33.5 meters. The ”dipastambham’ or pillar of lamps, is another attraction that looks fascinating when lightened in the evenings. The doorway to inner sanctum is sited just ahead of this pillar. On two raised plinths, there are ten beautifully carved pillars on the either side of the passage. It was here the golden slokas of ‘Narayaniyam’ were written, in the praise of Lord Guruvayur.

How To Reach:

By Road: Guruvayoor is well connected with the other parts of the country by road and rail. The National highway is passing through Kunnamkulam which is just 8 kms away from Guruvayoor. The private bus stand is towards the east of the temple, near Manjulal (the banyan tree). It is half an hour drive by car from Thrissur and busses ply every 5 minutes from Thrissur to Guruvayoor.

Kerala Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) runs bus services from all major locations of the state and few inter-state services. The bus stand is 500 meters to the west of the temple. Both KSRTC and private busses offer interstate services to all major South Indian cities like Madras, Madurai, Palani, Salem, Coimbatore, Thiruchandoor, Mysore, Mangalore, Uduppi, Mookambika etc.

By rail: Guruvayoor has got a railway station towards the east of the temple which is connected to the Madras-Mangalore main line at Thrissur. It has got computerised ticket booking facility and tickets can be booked to any locations from here. One from the Mangalore side can get down at the Kuttippram station. Regular buss services are available from there to Guruvayoor. Those from the Madras/Trivandrum side can get down at Thrissur.

By Air: Kochi international airport (Nedumbassery) is 80 kms from Guruvayoor and the Calicut airport is 100 kms away. All major international flight services are operated from these airports.

Festivals:

Festivals like Ulsavam, Vishu, Ashtami Rohini, Mandalam, Ekadasi, Ashtami Rohini, Kuchela’s Day, Chembai Music Festival and Narayaneeyam day are the major occasions that observe special celebrations at Guruvayur Temple. On special events, the sacred images are brought out to take in a procession in Guruvayur town. At the time of festivals, the entire is decorated with inestimable butter lamps, which truly recreates the impression of the former age.

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