Dubbed God's own temple, Guruvayoor is a famous
location where there are about 40,000 devotees visiting to have a darshan of the
graceful image of the Lord, the sanctum, sanctorum.
It is one of the most important and holiest pilgrim centres in Kerala, South
India, attracting thousands of pilgrims from all over India. The major
attraction is the temple of Lord Sree Krishna who is also called 'Guruvayurappan'.
Guruvayuur is located 25 km to the north west
of Thrissur City in Thrissur district. The temple is famous as a site for
pilgrimage and also a Cultural centre as it is one of the centre-points along
which Kerala literature and art-forms have been developed. There are other
Another attraction is the famous Elephant Sanctuary (Punnathur kotta) near the temple where elephants are trained for temple purposes. Here right now more than 60 elephants are kept. All these elephants were offered by devotees of Lord Guruvayurappa. Gajapooja (Worshipping Elephants) & Anayoottu (Feeding Elephants) are conducted here, as an offering to Lord Ganesha.
To trace the history of Guruvayoor, we have to go back a few thousand years.
Lord Krishna was born as the son of Vasudeva and Devaki in the dwapara yuga. He
was not an ordinary boy! He performed wonderful deeds and everyone was convinced
that the boy was none other than Lord Vishnu in human form, an avatar of Vishnu
or the perfect manifestation of the supreme power. Before leaving the earth to
the heavenly abode, Lord Krishna told Udhava, his foremost disciple that he had
installed the image of Lord Vishnu in the temple built by him at Dwaraka.
Later Dwaraka was submerged in the sea and Brihaspathi (Guru) recovered the idol
and with the assistance of Vayu (Wind God). Together, they traveled all over
India in search of a holy place and finally reached Kerala. Here, with the help
of Parasurama, they located a holy spot. Guru and Vayu installed the image of
Lord Vishnu (Lord Krishna) in the temple built by Viswakarma, the architect of
the Gods. As Guru and Vayu together founded the temple, the place came to be
called ‘Guruvayupura’ in accordance with Lord Shiva’s wish. Later the name
was shortened to Guruvayoor. With regard to the number of devotees visiting each
day to receive the Lord’s blessings, Guruvayoor Temple ranks first in Kerala
and fourth in India. Considering the number of devotees, it is a ‘Maha Kshetra’.
Sri Narada purana
mentions Guruvayurpura mahatmyan and describes how Janamejaya
was cured of leprosy by taking refuge under the feet of Guruvayuruppa. The Pandavas
handed over the kingdom to their grandson Parikshit,
and left for the forest to spend their last days. Parikshit died of the curse of
a saint, who cursed that Parikshit will die of snake bite by Taksaka,
the king of serpents. After the death of Parikshit he was suceeded by his son
Janamejaya. Janamejaya conducted a sacrifice to destroy all the snakes of the
world including Takshaka, who was the cause of his father's death . Hundreds of
thousands of snakes fell into the sacrificial fire and were killed, but the
sacrifice was stopped before Takshaka was killed, by a Brahmin called Astika.
Since Janamejaya was responsible for the death
of millions of snakes, he was afflicted with leprosy. He lost all hope of a
cure. One day Sage Atreya (son of Atri) came before Janamejaya and told him to
take refuge under the feet of Krishna at Guruvayoor.
Atreya told that in the temple at Guruvayyoor the effulgence of Sri
Hari is at its best and Vishnu showers his blessings on all devotees.
Hearing this, Janamejaya wanted to know the full details of the Sthala purana
and the greatness of the temple.
Locala legend says that Bhagwan Vishnu himself worshipped idol at Guruvayoor made out of Pathala Anjanam . Vishnu gave the idol to Brahma . Prajapati Sutapa and his wife Prsni did penance to Brahma, and pleased with their devotion Brahma gave them this idol. Sutapa and his wife Prsni worshipped the idol with such devotion that Mahavishnu Himself appeared before them for granting boon. In their over enthusiasm they asked thrice "We need a son equivalent to you" . Mahavishnu told them that He Himself will be born as their son in three different janmas (birth) and in all the three janmas you will get the vigraha given to you by Brahma .
In the first janma in Satya Yuga, Mahavishnu was born as Prsnigarba, as son of Sutapa and Prsni. Psrigarba instructed
the importance of Brahmacharya to the world.
In the second janma, Sutapa and his wife Prsni were born as Kashayap and Aditi and Mahavishnu was born as Vamana, their son in Treta Yuga.
In Dwapar Yuga, Krishna was born as son of Vasudeva and Devaki .
In Dwapar Yuga the idol was given to them by Daumya for worship. Sri Krishna established a big temple at Dwaraka and installed this idol. At the time of swargaarohana Krishna instructed his devotee Udhava to install the idol at a sacred place with the help of Brihaspathi, the guru of the Devas and Vayu, the wind God. They (Guru and Vayu) took the idol and came down to a place down south and installed it. This is why the place got its name Guruvayoor, where oor means place. It is also said that Shiva and his Wife Parvathy were present at the auspicious moment and because there was a lack of space in the temple premises, Shiva moved a little further away, and gives his blessings from Mammiyoor Temple, which is a ten minute walk from the Guruvayoor Temple. Every devotee who goes to Guruvayoor is supposed to go to Mammiyoor also, as the ritual goes. Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple premises. The temple tank is known as Rudra theertham