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Kerala Backwater


Guruvayoor Temple, Guruvayoor, Kerala

If you are making a pilgrimage in the southern Indian state of Kerala, how can you miss a visit to the ‘Dwarka of South’? The most frequented pilgrimage destination in the state, Guruvayoor Temple is located 29 km northwest of Thrissur. The temple is also referred to as Guruvayoorappan and stands in dedication to Lord Krishna. According to the Hindu mythology, the Lord Krishna idol at the Guruvayoor Temple is believed to have been worshipped by Vasudevar and Devaki in Dwarka. Constructed in a rectangular shape, the temple also features an array of eye-catching murals and carvings, displayed around sanctum sanctorum of the temple.

Mythological Background
Not much is known about the Guruvayoor Temple of Kerala. However, locals believe that behind the genesis of the temple were the Guru (preceptor of gods) and Vayu (the god of winds). As mentioned above, the idol has the eminence of being worshipped by Vasudeva and Devaki of Dwarka, a city located in the Jamnagar district of Gujarat. The history of the Guruvayoor temple traces back to the 14th century.

Legend has it that a poet was relieved from his sufferings after he penned hymns in the praise of Lord Krishna. While visiting the temple, you will also hear stories about an elephant that was infatuated with Guruvayurappan.

What’s interesting about the temple?
Kerala has to boast a number of temples and pilgrimage spots. It is the only temple among all others to host the most number of marriage ceremonies held here. Rice feeding ceremony at the temple is also a part of the chore at the temple. Besides this, the Guruvayoor Temple is the place from where was spearheaded the historical movement called ‘Guruvayoor Satyagraha’. The movement fights for the entry rights of lower castes to temples where they are denied access.

Not to be missed!
Once you enter the premises of the Guruvayoor Temple in Kerala, do remember to take a walk around it. The very first thing that catches your eye is the 33.5 m tall gold plated flag post, known as Dwajastambham. Next you come to witness a 7 m high pillar of lamps or the Deepastambham. The sanctum sanctorum of the temple is called ‘Sreekovil’. Apart from Lord Krishna’s idol, other images in the temple include those of Lord Ganesha, Lord Ayyappa and Edathedathy Kavil Bhagavathy.

Also visit the ‘Koothambalam’. During festival occasion, a classical dance form known as ‘Koothu’ is organized here.

Just at a distance of 2 km from the temple is a place called Punnathoorkotta. Here, you will witness as many as 50 temple elephants. Enjoy the sight.

Reaching the Temple
Fly to the Kochi International Airport (Nedumbassery), which lies at a distance of 87 km from Guruvayoor. Another closely located airport is Kozhikode, at 100 km. The Guruvayoor Temple can also be easily reached by road from anywhere within the state as well as from neighbouring places. From Thrissur (or Trichur), the temple stands at just half an hour road journey.