Guruvayur Temple in my memory!
There wouldn’t be any Malayalee who haven’t heard of or been to Guruvayur Temple once in a lifetime, as this is one of the important places of worship for Hindus of Kerala. Well not just Keralites but also people from other states and countries visit this temple to pray in front of this deity. This temple is dedicated to the Hindu God Guruvayurappan (a four-armed affiliation of the Lord Vishnu), located in the town of Guruvayur in Kerala. The story what my grandma told about this temple was pretty interesting. According to legends, the deity worshipped here is more than 5000 years old and it was built by Guru and Vayu together, henceforth the temple got its name Guruvayur. If you look into the Hindu Myths, the Guru mentioned here is the Dev Guru Brihaspathi and Vayu , the God of the winds.
The idol worshipped here is a four-armed standing Krishna carrying the conch Panchajanya, the discus Sudarshana Chakra, the mace Kaumodaki and a lotus with a Holy basil/Tulsi garland. This image represents the majestic form of Vishnu as revealed to Krishna’s parents Vasudeva and Devaki around the time of Krishna’s birth; hence Guruvayur is also known as “Dwarka of South India”.
The temple that we see at present is a much renovated one as there were few fire attacks on the temple from the past. But luckily there were no much harm happened. Many stories are there in regards with the temple and its devotees. Don’t worry we are not discussing them all here! The temple also has a pond named “Rudrathirtam” as one of the stories say Lord Shiva worshipped Vishnu with this water.
People who visits the temple look forward for the early morning pooja which is popularly known as Vakacharthu. This pooja is really special as the Thantric who does the early morning pooja decorates the idol in a way that the devotees who comes seeking the blessing of the lord can see various stages of Lord Krishna’s life. Childhood stage, youth and the adult stage these are the 3 stages which we usually see there.
If you ever wanna visit this temple; be sure that you strictly follow this dress code otherwise you are no where allowed to enter the temple! Men’s can wear mundu, boys can wear shorts, and for women strictly no dresses with pants which leaves them with only two choices; sari or long skirts with blouse. People also wait for the “Prasadootu”, which is a free food service given by the temple authorities. The payasam (Keer/Rice pudding), powdered sugar, butter, and banana is the main offering to the lord here.
Many kids get to taste rice for the first time here “Annaprasam“. Many conducts “thulabharam” here as an offering to the lord. There’s also an auditorium where many people does their “Arangettam“, the first public performance of singing/dancing talents. There’s a large vessel filled with Manjadikuru and kunnikuru at the main entrance of the temple, for the kids to pick up. Its a belief that the kids who does that becomes more smart and intelligent. Shayanapradhakshinam and Bhajan are the other two more important things that we do as a part of our devotion to the lord. But it’s not necessary that all must perform these.. It’s just one’s choice what to offer to lord as a part of their devotion. Like cherry to the top, some people have donated Elephants to the temple as offering.
It won’t be good if you say Hi to one person and didn’t mind the other one right? Just like that for us Hindus it’s just the same if you go visit all the way to one temple and didn’t mind the other one nearby! lol
Mammiyur Shiva Temple is the next major place that they visit. It’s just 15 km away from Guruvayur temple and there’s one Elephant Treatment Centre (Anakotta) under the Guruvayoor Devasom nearby which is also a main tourist attraction spot. There are almost 56 elephants under the Devasom there. I hope now you know why there are these many elephants under Devasom now.
As a kid I have lots of memories associated with Guruvayur Temple, and the SUNRISE lodge that we prefer to stay every time when we visit this temple. But what I will never forget will be the reunion I had with my family at the time when my family went there to give my little brother his first morsel of rice! So PARENTS, make sure you do not leave your kid’s hand in the crowds as you get all sorts of people there and not everyone can get lucky as my parents were!