Know More about Guruvayoor Temple

published on February 4, 2009


Shree Gurupavanapuradheesaya
 ShreeKrishnaya Parabrahmane Namah




is famous as *Bhooloka Vaikuntam*
(Vaikuntam on earth) .

*Srimad Narayaneeyam* (which has the stamp of approval by
 Bhagavan Krishna Himself) begins with the statement :


It is the greatest fortune of mankind in this *Kali Yuga* that the *ParaBrahman*
manifests itself  as Bhagavan Krishna
Deity  in Guruvayoor temple to bless the
Bhaktas . He  is incomparable ,
eternal , free of Maya (illusion), all-pervading and the  root cause of entire Universe. Even the
Vedas cannot fully understand Him. But,  just by Krishna-bhakti alone , devotees easily
attain Guruvayoor  Bhagavan .
Although such a very  easy Krishna-realization
is readily available at Guruvayoor temple,  foolish people  fail to worship Him  . But ,  we Krishna-Bhaktas , with a firm mind take
refuge in Guruvayoor-Bhagavan ,the very embodiment of *ParaBrahman*. ”


Yes ! Mankind is fortunate indeed for having been blessed with GuruvayoorTemple.  Shree Guruvayoorappan is ever willing to grant
the  glorious vision of His charming form and shower His blessings on the Bhaktas
who come to Guruvayoor temple .  Many
Bhaktas are thanking Him for favours already granted, and some praying for
desires to be fulfilled, and some just to offer their humble prostrations .  Guruvayoorappan  has been presented to the devotees , as
decreed by Bhagavan Himself for the benefit of mankind in the Kali-yuga .
Is not the mankind fortunate ?.

Many MahAtmAs like Sankaracharya and  Vilwamangalam had the divine vision of
Bhagavan Shree Krishna   in
Guruvayoor temple . Guruvayoorappan is *Pratyaksa-deva* ( visible God)
to the living legend Bhagavata-hamsam Malliyoor Sankararan Namboodiri .

Guruvayoor temple’s unique *Acharams* ( traditions) including daily
rituals and Poojas were formulated by Adi Sankaracharya under  Bhagavan’s   guidance . These *Kshetra-Acharams*
are being strictly followed without any compromise . The TempleTantris
are available full time at the Temple
to ensure this .  The *Melsanti*  ( Chief Priest) enters the *Sri Kovil* ((
sanctum sanctorum)) at 2:30 AM and he does not drink even a glass of water up to
the completion of noon poojas at 12:30 PM . 
This absolute  purity of vedic
tradition is the hallmark of Guruvayoor temple .


 The *Narada Purana* in its chapter *Gurupavanapura Mahatmya* states
: ” King Janamejaya, in order to avenge the death of his father
Pareekshit, (who was killed by Serpent  Chief Takshaka ) , performed the *Sarpayajna*
(snake sacrifice) in which thousands of innocent serpents were burnt alive
. As a result of their curse , Janamejaya was afflicted with
terrible leprosy, which left him in utter despair. Sensing this,
Sage Dattatreya appeared before him with a remedy – Seek  the mercy
 of Bhagavan Krishna, at Guruvayoor temple ”.

 The Sage recounted that ,
 Bhagavan Maha Vishu Himself was the first to worship this *Moorty* .
At the beginning of the Padma Kalpa, He gave the image  to Brahma .
At the beginning of the *Varaha Kalpa*, the childless couple, Sutepa &
Prisna prayed  to Brahma for a son. Brahma gave them this Moorty ,assuring
them of their wish if they worshipped the Moorty with sincere devotion. This
they did with excellence, so much so that the Lord MahaVishnu Himself appeared
before them. As a boon, they prayed Him three times, for a son.
He blessed  them that,  He would be born to them as son in three
successive births. And,they would also have the good fortune of
worshipping the divine Moorty  in all the three births.

Accordingly, in the first birth, Sutepa and Prisna had  Prisigarbha
as son . In their second birth , as Kasyapa & Aditi , the couple
worshipped the same Moorty  and got their son Vamana. In their
third  and the most auspicious birth  as Vasudeva and Devaki, Sree Krishna
was born to them.

       After killing  Kamsa , Shree Krishna
moved to Dwaraka where He built a temple, installed this Moorty and worshipped
it . When the time came for His return (to Vaikunta), Bhagavan
Krishna entrusted this image to Uddhava, (when the latter
expressed, his fears regarding the fate that would befall mankind in *Kaliyuga*
during Bhagavan’s absence) . Bhagavan  assured Udhava that , He would manifest in
this Moorty ,  to shield His devotees
from the ill-effects of Kaliyuga and to bless the mankind . He appraised
Udhava that, soon after His departure Dwaraka  would submerge
in the ocean ;
as such,  he
should install the Moorty in an equally sacred spot in consultation with
Brihaspati (Guru of Gods) .

Accordingly, Guru along with Vayu (Wind-God) set forth to Dwaraka where
they found,   the image being tossed about in the sea by the surging
waves. Vayu carried the image and both started searching  for a
sacred place for its installation . They were later joined by Sage
Parasurama , and  they came upon a lake of lotuses ( Rudratheertha)  where Lord Siva and Parvathi were
waiting to receive them. Siva told them that that spot was etched out
for Narayana long ago ; hence He and Parvathi-devi  would move to  the opposite bank . Guru
and Vayu installed the image in the temple built by Viswakarma, the divine
architect of  Gods. As Guru and Vayu together founded the temple,
the place came to be known as Guruvayoorpura which  was later shortened to

       Moved by this story, Janamejaya proceeded
to Guruvayoor temple where he worshipped Sree Krishna with great faith , for
four months. One night while asleep,  he felt Bhagavan Krishna’s
 healing touch over his body and his illness (leprosy)  was no more!
King Janamejaya returned to his kingdom elated singing praises for Bhagavan
Krishna .


in 1789 AD, the muslim tyrant Tippu Sultan , with the intention of
converting Hindus to Muslims,  invaded the kingdom of Calicut
where Guruvayoor is located . Apprehending the destruction, the image
  was hidden underground and the *Utsava Moorty*  was shifted to another place . Tippu
set fire to the Temple,
but it was saved by a celestial voice followed by  timely rain.  Terriblyfrightened at this divine intervention,  Tippu and his mighty
army fled from Guruvayoor . Later,  Tippu  was defeated and killed by the
combined army of Calicut
and the English .

On November30,1970, an uncontrollable mammoth  fire broke out in
Guruvayoor  temple. It  raged all around for five hours, but
the Sri Kovil ( Sanctum Sanctorum) ,  flag-staff and all  the support
– deities  remained unaffected. The fire  gutted the entire
surroundings. The *Sri Kovil*  was
only 3 yards off, but still the fierce fire did not touch even the dry flower
garlands, which hung on the corner of the *Sri Kovil*  !.




Guruvayur temple is an epitome of  Kerala’s templeVastuvidya. It is faced towards the East with two *Gopurams* , one at East (*Kizhakkenada*)
and other at West (*Padinjarenada*).


     The entire area between
these  *Gopurams* is roofed with tiles
and known as *Anapanthal* . At the centre of this is a square
shaped pillared hall called *Nalambalam*, the outer wall of which is
fixed with a gallery of oil lamps. At the south side of the *Nalambalam*,
there is a sub shrine of Sasta or Lord Ayyappan .

     At the north-east side of this shrine is the *Koothambalam*
, where, in olden times, dance performances were held. In the front and
the east side of *Nalambalam* , the *Belikkal* and *Deepastambas*
– Pillar of lights are located. There are a number of such light pillars
in the Temple.
The *Deepastambas* ,at each Gopurams ,are of special interest.

     The eastern side *Deepastambam* is 24 feet in
height and has thirteen circular receptacles to hold the wicks. Of the
other two at West Gopuram, one is in the shape
of a tree.Dwijasthamba – It is a flag-staff ,around 70 feet
height, fully covered with gold.

    The square shaped *Sri Kovil* has two stairs and
three rooms inside. The inner most room is known as *Garbhagriha*
(The Moorty of Bhagavan Krishna is placed here). Here, the two doors and
the roof are covered by Gold. All the articles inside the *Garbhagriha*
are in Gold.

     The outer room is called *Mukhamandapam* .
The wall of Sree Kovil is decorated with ancient (17th century) murals.
In front of the Sree Kovil is the *Namaskara Mandapam*,
square in shape and with a pyramidal roof. Surrounding this is a
pillared square hall called *Nalambalam* or *Chuttambalam* .
A gallery of oil lamps is fixed on the wall of *Nalambalam * . In the
north-eastern side of the Sree Kovil is the temple well called *Manikinar*.
In the North side of the temple, a sub shrine of Devi, *Edathirithi Kavu*
is situated.

     The *Oottupura*,
the place for *prasadauttu* is also located in the north side Here, the
daily lunch is arranged for the devotees .Next to it is the temple tank *Rudratheertha*
which is located near the north side of the temple.



presiding Deity in the *Garbhagraha* (central shrine) is Maha Vishnu,
worshipped and served according to the specific pooja routines laid down by Adi
Sankaracharya . Bhaktas at large, however, invoke the Bhagavan as Unnikrishna
 or Balakrishna. The *Moorty*
is carved out of  *Pathalanjana Sila*, which
is supremely sacred .



A.M to 3.20 A.M) . This  is the first darshan of the day. Bhagavan
is still adorned with the flowers and garlands of the previous night . after the night Pooja (worship), when
the doors are closed, the Devas (Gods) come and worship the Moorty. A darshan
of Bhagavan who has just been worshipped by the Devas themselves is considered
highly auspicious. Amidst the lit lamps, the chiming bells and the
conch, the spontaneous loud chanting  of the devotees “Narayana”,”Guruvayurappa”,
“Govinda”,etc., your mind will be lifted to the higher levels
of devotion.



(3.20 A.M to 3.30 A.M) . The rite of
bathing the Moorty with gingerly oil takes place,  after removing the
adornments of the previous day. Then comes `Vakacharth’  i.e.
sprinkling the Moorty with the `Vaka’ powder. The kork of a tree called
`vaka’ is powdered and used. After this is performed, the `abhishekam’
(rite of bathing the Moorty),  with water sanctified in a `sankhu’ (conch). 

4.15 A.M) .  After the bath,  the Moorty  is wiped
with a thin cloth, then adorned with garlands, ear ornaments, Kasthuri tilaka
and a red loincloth . Butter in hand and playing the flute, Bhagavan
 here appears as Unnikrishna (child Krishna),
reminiscent of His playful days at Gokulam. After the `alankaram’
 (adornment or decoration),the `malar’ (puffed rice) `naivedyam’, plantain
and jaggery are offered to Bhagavan . 



(4.15 AM to 4.30 AM) . Offerings
of cooked rice and `naipayasam’ (rice cooked in jaggery)  constitute the `usha
naivedyam’ (morning offering). The ‘Usha Pooja’ (morning worship) is
also conducted at this time.  



(4.30 AM to 6.15 AM) . 
Now Bhagavan and the Sun are facing each other and Pooja is performed by
offering `vella naivadyam’ (white offering i.e. of cooked rice) ;
simultaneously, the sub-deities in the temple are attended by associate priests.
Ganapathy homa’ is performed in the temple kitchen. 



(6.15 AM to 7.00AM) . The
Sreekovil (Sanctum sanctorum) opens allowing  the  devotees to have
their darshan . The Moorty
then proceeds  for the Siveli (procession). The `utsavaMoorty’
(processional Moorty) is mounted on an elephant and taken round the temple
thrice. Bhagavan wants this exercise to be done,  so that He
himself can ascertain,  if all His celestial attendants  and devotees
in place are keeping well .


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