Guruvayur (Guruvayoor) Sree Krishna Temple

Mahatmyam General
From the time immemorial, India has been a spiritually enlightened country consecrated by Rishis and temples of worship. Holy places like Kashi and Rameswaram have magnificent Temples which, besides their spiritual significance, are noted for their antiquity and historical importance. The artistic excellence and the architectural specialties of Konark and Khajuraho are so indescribable that they always attract not only the pilgrims from within the country but also swarm of tourists from abroad. But Guruvayur is a pilgrim center which has its own glory and greatness, mainly because of the divinity enshrined in the Sanctum - Sanctorum (central shrine) of the temple and the unique charm of the idol installed in it. The presiding deity in the Garbhagraha (central shrine) is Mahavishnu, worshipped according to the pooja routines laid down by Adi Sankaracharya and later written in to the Tantrasamuchaya by Chennas Narayanan Namboodiri (born in 1427). The Chennas Namboodiris are the hereditary Tantri of Guruvayur temple. The people at large, however, invoke the Lord as UNNIKRISHNA or BALAKRISHNA.

Guruvayur or Guruvayoor became divine on account of the "tapas" performed by Lord Siva and later by the Prechethas (the ten sons of Pracheenabarhis and Suvarna are together called Prechethas) in the Rudratheertham the sacred tank on the northern side of the present temple - where Lord Guruvayurappan has His Arattu (holy bath on the last day of Annual Utsavam). Siva worshipped Mahavishnu for years under the waters of the Rudratheertham ( hence the name Rudratheertham due to the presence of Rudra, Siva). Prechethas came to this place to do tapas to attain "prajapathithwam" ( king of all kings) from Lord Mahavishnu. Sensing the motive of Prechethas, Lord Siva emerged out of the Rudratheertham and revealed to them the "Rudrageetham", a hymn in praise of Mahavishnu. Siva suggested them to chant it with all their heart to get their wishes fulfilled. The Princes won the favour of Mahavishnu after rigorous tapas for 10,000 years under the waters of Rudratheertham chanting Rudrageetham. According to the legends, in ancient days Rudratheertham (present Arattukulam) extended up to Mammiyur and Thamarayur (about 3.00 kms) towards north and was known for its lotus flowers. Melpathur's Narayaneeyam refers to it as the lovely lake of lotus.

Sanctity of the idol
The idol of Guruvayur temple is unique, since it is carved out of "Paathalanjana Sila", and is considered extremely sacred. This idol was once worshipped by Mahavishnu in Vaikunta. Vishnu handed it over to Brahma. King Suthapas and his wife who worshipped Brahma for a child received this idol from Brahma. He advised them to 2 start worshipping the idol. Once Lord Vishnu appeared before them and blessed them that he himself will be born as their child in their three re-births in three different forms and in three different situations. Thus they got the good fortune to worship the same deity in all three rebirths. They gave birth to Prasnigarbhan who gave to the world the practice of Brahmacharya Vratha (Celibacy). In their next birth, Suthapas and his wife were born as Kashyapa and Adithi. Their son in that birth was Vamana. The third rebirth was as Vasudeva and Devaki. The Lord Krishna was born as their eighth son. In the long run , the Lord Krishna himself installed this idol in Dwaraka and worshipped it.

Sanctity of installation
From Mahavishnu the sacred idol has passed through the hands of Brahma, Suthapas, Kasyapa, Vasudeva, Sree Krishna and finally at the time of Krishna's ascension to Vaikunta, he instructed Udhava to entrust Brahaspathi (the Guru of Devas) with the task of taking the idol to a suitable place where people could worship it, so as to get salvation in Kaliyuga. A deluge had closed in on Dwaraka, but Guru salvaged the idol with the help of his prime disciple, Vayu. Guru and Vayu went around the world in search of an ideal place. They met Parasurama who lead them to a lush green spot with a beautiful lotus tank where they felt the presence of Lord Siva. Lord Siva along with Parvathy welcomed them and said, "This is the same spot you are looking for, here it was, I imparted the Rudrageetham to the Prechethas" .The idol was installed there. Siva with Parvathy left to the opposite bank, at Mammiyur. Siva permitted Guru and Vayu to perform the consecration rites and blessed them that henceforth this place would be known as GURUVAYUR (since the installation was done by Guru and Vayu).

Vishwakarma, the divine architect was requested to build a Temple , which he made in such a way that on the day of Vishu (Summer equinox), the sun himself makes his obeisance . His first rays on that day fall straight on the Lord's feet. The idol was installed in the solar month of Kumbha. (February - March). The ceremony was begun on the seventh asterism of Pooyam (Puozhya) and completed on the day of Anizham (Anuradha). As the idol was once worshiped by the Lord Mahavishnu himself in Vaikunta, Guruvayur is considered to be " Bhooloka Vaikunta " - the heaven on earth.


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Sankaracharya Manjulal Nenmini Unni Kittai's coconuts Aanayottam Lord as Assistant cook Lord as Mangattachan Melpathur Poonthanam Vilwamangalam Kururamma

Once Sankaracharya was on his aerial journey to Shringeri. While above Guruvayur he smiled at the pompousness and vividity of the procession of Sreebhootha Bali (feeding celestial attendants) and tried to pass the temple without making any obeisance to the Lord. Suddenly his forward movement stopped the procession there at the northwest corner. He soon recovered and saw the Lord in all his royalty. Realizing the cause of his fall, Sankaracharya prostrated before the Lord and tried to win the Lord's favour by chanting 8 slokas in praise of Govinda, known as Govinda Ashtakam. The small opening in the roof over the North- West courtyard is in commemoration of this event. Sankaracharya is believed to have instituted the Mandala Vilakku (lighting of lamps for 41days).

MANJULAL (Big banyan tree at Guruvayur)
Manjula was a warrior girl, always make garlands with great devotion and love towards Krishna. Every day she offers garlands to the Guruvayur temple. One day she was too late to enter the temple and became very sad about the incident. Then a great devotee of Shri Guruvayoorappa and Poet, Poonthanam advised her to place the garland on the stone below the big banyan tree considering it as Srikrishna. She was convinced, kept the garland there and happily went home. Next day morning, the Melsanthi removed all the garlands from the idol, but one garland remained stuck on the idol. The devotees were puzzled but Poonthanam realised last night's event. It was the garland, which Manjula had placed on the stone at the foot of the banyan tree.

Poonthanam told the story to everyone and then the garland slipped down from the idol. Devotees started chanting the name of the Lord and struggled to collect the flower from the garland. Worshipers went to the banyan tree to make their obeisance. Since then, the banyan tree came to be known as Manjulal.

Once a Nenmini Namboodiri was the priest at Guruvayur temple. There was only one priest on those days and had to go out on an urgent and unavoidable situation. He told his 12 year old son to offer the Nivedyam to the Lord and left. At the prescribed time he offered Nivedyam (cooked rice) to the Lord and thought in simplicity that the Lord will eat the rice, but the idol did not move. Unni went outside and brought some salted mangoes and curd from neighborhood in the belief that the Lord likes food this way. He mixed the curd with rice and offered it again. But the idol again remained unmoved. He cajoled, requested, coaxed and in the end threatened, but idol still unmoved . He started crying on his failure and shouting towards the Lord that his father would beat him. The Lord could not bear it any more, and suddenly the Nivedyam got disappeared. The boy left the place satisfactorily. The Nivedyam offered to the Lord was the Variyar's prerequisite. On seeing the empty plate, he became very angry with the Unni, but Unni still could not understand and told Variyar that God ate up the rice with the curd and salted mangoes. The Unni's innocent word made Variyar more furious. On santhi's arrival, Variyar told the complaint that Unni himself had eaten the Nivedyam, and that he was making a false story. Though Unni told his version, father could not believe it. He raised his hands to beat him, but just then an asareeri (celestial voice) was heard saying, "I am the guilty, Unni is innocent".

On Arattu day, the Utsava vigraha will be taken out and tender coconut water abhishekam (pouring of coconut water over the idol) will be done. An Ezhava family called Tampuran Patikkal brings these tender coconuts for this important rite. The legend behind this practice goes like this. Once, on the Arattu day, one Keezhsanthi went to a Kittai of Tampuran Patikkal and asked for some tender coconut to quench his thirst. Kittai was a bit slow to get the coconut and the Keezhsanthi went away in a hurry. As soon as he left, the coconuts began to fall from the trees, on their own, one after the other. The Kittai got shocked on seeing this, he took a head load full of 25 coconuts and ran to the temple. He met one of the ooralars or trustees of the temple and described the whole incident. On enquiring it was found that neither of the two Keezhsanthi’s had gone that way. It was evident that the Keezhsanthi was none other than the Lord himself and that He wanted the fun of an abhishekam with tender coconut water. Thus started this rite of tender coconut water abhishekam on the Arattu day. The privilege of bringing the tender-coconuts was conferred on the descendants of that family.

Once Guruvayur was a Keezhedam (subordinate temple) of Thrikanamathilakam (Trikkunavay). The festival of Trikkunavay used to finish two days before the beginning of Guruvayur Utsavam. The elephants used to come from Trikkunavay for the Guruvayur utsavam. Once they refused to send their elephants to Guruvayur for not making payment in time. The elephants were chained but they broke the chain and ran to Guruvayur without the mahouts on that night. From that day onwards the elephants used to leave Trikkunavay on Punarvasu to reach Guruvayur in time for the festival. Trikkunavay was destroyed by the Dutch in 1755. To keep the reminiscence of this unusual event, the elephant race (aanayottam) is conducted every year and this marks the beginning of the Guruvayur Utsavam. The elephants run from Manjulal, (the banyan tree half a kilometer away from the eastern entrance to the temple) enter the temple, take 7 rounds and touch the flagstaff in the end. The first elephant to touch the flagstaff will be given special treatment inside the temple on the days of Utsavam and will get the privilege of carrying the Lord's

thidambu for the procession.

One day a devotee wanted a feast to be held for the Lord with a hundred measures of rice. In Guruvayur the intended offering to the Lord is to be prepared by the two Keezhsanthi’s. One of the Keezhsanthi was on leave due to illness. Mallisseri Namboodiri was worried and he spent a sleepless night pondering over how to make the next days' arrangements. He could do nothing other than pray to the Lord chanting His name overnight for a solution. The next day he went to the temple, looked around, and was relieved to see the Keezhsanthi who had been on leave returned and was preparing the feast. After completion of cooking the Keezhsanthi went to Rudratheertham for a bath but not to return. He was not seen the next day also. Mallisseri sent his man to enquire about him. To his surprise he learned that the Keezhsanthi was actually bed ridden ever since he had been on leave. It was unbelievable but Mallisseri understood the whole thing. It was the Lord himself who came and helped him out of the difficulty.

Poonthanam a devout devotee of the Lord who used to walk about 100 kilometers to take darshan of Guruvayurappan every month. Once on his way, he was attacked by some robbers. Sensing the danger he closed his eyes and cried out for Lord's help. After some time there spread a sweet scent of Vanamala, the garland worn by Sreekrishna, and he opened his eyes to see Mangattachan (the Minister of the Zamorin Raja) standing before him with his drawn sword drenched in blood and also the dead bodies of the robbers around him. Quite relieved, Poonthanam cried out "Krishna!, Krishna!, your leelas are wonderful!". He took the ring off his finger and presented to Mangattachan. The Melsanthi of the Guruvayur temple, the same night, heard in a dream, an Unni Namboodiri telling him "You will find a ring on the idol. Give it to Poonthanam, who will come tomorrow". Quite miraculously, he saw a ring on the idol when he opened the Sreekovil next day. Shortly Poonthanam came for darshan and started his prayers. Melsanthi came out from Sreekovil and gave Poonthanam the ring and told him what had happened. Poonthanam was flabbergasted to see that the ring was his own, which he had presented to Mangattachan, the day before! It was Lord Guruvayurappan himself, who came to the rescue of Poonthanam as Mangattachan.

The Jnanapana (means the song of wisdom) written in simple Malayalam is Poonthanam's greatest work. Melpathur was the most popular Sanskrit scholar of that time. Poonthanam showed the draft of his Jnanapana to Melpathur. Malayalam was not accepted in the learned circle those days and Melpathur had contempt for Malayalam, which was not considered equal to Sanskrit. He refused to see Poonthanam's work and told him blatantly to learn Sanskrit and then start writing. This act of Melpathur hurt Poonthanam. Melpathur was composing Narayaneeyam in those days and when he came next day to offer dasaka of ten slokas (ten stanzas) before the Lord, he could not utter a single word. A small boy in his teens, never seen before presented himself and pointed out mistakes after mistakes in the slokas composed by Melpathur. After ten mistakes in ten slokas Melpathur realised the divinity of the boy. He fell at the feet of the boy but the boy disappeared and there was an asareeri (celestial voice) saying, "Poonthanam's Bhakthi (devotion) is more pleasing to me than Melpathur's Vibhakthi (learning or knowledge in Sanskrit grammar)". Melpathur realised his mistake and asked Poonthanam to pardon him and amended his arrogance by reading the works of Poonthanam.

Though Poonthanam and Melpathur were great devotees of Lord Guruvayurappan, Poonthanam, a great poet, who wrote his verses in the vernacular, was famous for his bhakthi where as Melpathur, an erudite scholar and great poet in Sanskrit was known for his vibhakthi. The Lord was partial towards Poonthanam than Melpathur. Melpathur used to laugh at Poonthanam's Sanskrit reading and recitation. One day Poonthanam was wrongly reciting "Padmanabho Maraprabhu", which means Lord of trees in Malayalam. Melpathur openly laughed at Poonthanam and corrected saying, Padmanabha is not Maraprabhu (Lord of trees) but Amaraprabhu (which means Lord of immortals in Sanskrit). Immediately, there was an asareeri (celestial voice) from the inner shrine, "I am also Maraprabhu" (Lord of trees). Now there is a statue of "Maraprabhu" in the Sreevalsam Guest house (South side of the temple) compound fully made of clay. This is the biggest idol made of clay in Asia.

Villwamangalam's devotion and dedication towards the Lord was such that he could have visions of the Lord, independent of the image. Wherever he went, he had visions. He visualised Vishnu, Siva, and in Guruvayur it was Unnikrishna and the Lord's other disguises. Whenever he came to Guruvayur for darshan, the Lord granted him vision from the Sanctum-Sanctorum (central shrine). One day he did not get the Lord's vision from there. He went around the temple in search of the Lord. The sound of tinkling of bells from the northern nalambalam attracted his curiosity. He peeped in and saw Unnikrishna dancing there. From that day onwards this place came to be known as Nritham ( Nrithappura or dancing hall). On another occasion also, he could not see the Lord's vision in the central shrine. Later he found the Lord sitting amidst the Marar boys (drummer's boys) and sharing feast with them, as the Lord was fond of the feast given to the Marar boys. It later became an important offering with the devotees. A third time also, he failed to have the Lord's vision in the central shrine. It was night time and the Krishnanattam was being staged in the courtyard. The saint ultimately found him on the stage with the 'gopikas'. Since then, Krishnanattam came to be staged in the northern bahyankana (outer courtyard) instead of the eastern bahyankana. And it begins only when the central shrine is closed after the last pooja at night.

Kururamma was a childless widow. She adopted Unnikrishnan as her son and gave Him a lot of motherly love. Villwamangalam also saw the Lord in the form of Unnikrishnan but the Lord always preferred Kururamma for her devotion. Once an old Brahmin with severe stomach ache approached Villwamangalam for relief. Villwamangalam could not cure him and told that the pain is the result of his past karma. Dispirited and dejected he unknowingly reached Kururamma's house. Kururamma thought he is hungry and offered him some food. The Brahmin said that he could not eat any food because of his stomach ache, which even Villwamangalam could not cure. After listening to his grievances, she told the Brahmin to have a bath in the tank, in the name of Lord. After his bath, he was served food. He realized that his stomach ache had disappeared. He ate the food and expressed his gratitude to Kururamma. One day Kururamma was washing her cloths. A few drops of water unintentionally fell upon Chemmangatt Amma,

another lady of the locality who had finished her bath. She felt polluted and took a second plunge in water to purify. She sarcastically told Kururamma that now she was doubly clean and stated that today Villwamangalam would be coming to her illam (house of a Brahmin) for bhiksha (alms). By this she wanted to show her acquaintance with the saint Villwamangalam. Kururamma replied that saint would only come to her illam and not in Chemmangatt's illam. Kururamma sent a member of her family to invite the saint, but he apologetically refused since he had promised Chemmangatt earlier. After his daily worship, Villwamangalam started for Chemmangatt's house for the bhiksha. But the pilot who was to lead his way by blowing conch to announce his presence could not produce any sound from his conch (shankh). It was a bad omen and Villwamangalam was bewildered. Then he remembered his refusal to Kururamma's offer in the morning, and decided that it is the Lord's wish that he should go to Kururamma's illam. On this thought itself, the conch started functioning and filled the air with its resonant sound. The saint then turned his steps towards Kururamma's house. The Lord was always partial to Kururamma.

History Early history
According to the legends, the idol worshipped here is more than 5000 years old. But there are no historical records to establish it. In the 14th century Tamil literature 'Kokasandesam', references about a place called Kuruvayur is made. As early as 16th century (50 years after the Narayaneeyam was composed) many references are seen about Kuruvayur. In ancient Dravidic, Kuruvai means sea; hence the village on the coast may be called Kuruvayur. But according to Prof. K V Krishna Iyer (eminent historian), the Brahmins had begun to come and settle at Kodungalloor during the period of Chandra Gupta Maurya (321-297 BC). Trikkunavay in the Guruvayur documents is the same as Thrikkanamathilakam or Mathilakam mentioned in the Dutch and British records. And this place was in between Guruvayur and Kodungalloor. Guruvayur was Trikkunavay's subordinate shrine since they were destroyed by the Dutch in 1755. That way Guruvayur must have come into existence before 52 AD. The story of Pandyan King building a shrine here may be a reference to the Azhavars , but they are all silent in their writing about Guruvayur. It was Melpathur's Narayaneeyam through which the Temple got publicity. The concept of Unnikrishnan popularised by Poonthanam , Kururamma , and Villwamangalam brought more and more devotees to Guruvayur.

Zamorin’s period
Mamankam was a very famous event at Thirunavaya, on the bank of Bharathapuzha. The war between the Zamorins and the Raja of Valluvanad of Thirunavaya in a way popularised Guruvayur temple. Due to the prolonged war people across the river bank started preferring Guruvayur. Even the Zamorin become a devotee and thus his subjects followed him completely. The central shrine which we see today is said to have been rebuilt in 1638 AD. Viswabali was performed later to propitiate all the spirits, good and bad. By the end of 16th century Guruvayur had become most popular pilgrimage centre in Kerala. In 1716 AD, the Dutch raided Guruvayur. They looted treasures, gold of the flag staff, and set fire to the Western Gopuram. It was later rebuilt in 1747 AD. In 1755 AD, the Dutch in war with the Zamorin destroyed Trikkunavay

temple and the Brahmins fled from there. Later the Zamorin become the trustee of both Guruvayur and Trikkunavay, and also their Melkoyma (Sovereign protector). In 1766 AD, Hyder Ali of Mysore captured Kozhikode (Calicut) and then Guruvayur. He fined 10,000 fanams to spare the temple. This fine was paid but due to insecurity pilgrims receded, the supply of rice was stopped and the tenants stopped annual dues. On the request of the Malabar Governor, Shrnivasa Rao, Hyder Ali granted a Devadaya (free gift) and the temple was saved from extinction. Again in 1789 AD Tippu Sultan invaded Zamorin's province. Apprehending the destruction, the idol was hidden underground and the Utsava vigraha was taken to Ambalapuzha by Mallisseri Namboodiri and Kakkad othikkan. Tippu destroyed the smaller shrines and set fire to the Temple, but it was saved due to timely rain. Tippu lost to the Zamorin and the English in 1792 AD. The idol hidden underground and the Utsava vigraha were re-installed on September 17th , 1792. But the daily poojas and routines were seriously affected. The Ullanad Panickers rescued and looked after the temple for good 75 years (1825 to 1900). Like Chempakassery Namboodiri and Deshavarma Namboodiri, the Panickers offered everything from service to property. Thus with their help daily pooja and Utsavam (annual festival) were once again restored. From 1859 to 1892, the Chuttambalam, the Vilakkumatam, the Koothambalam and Sastha shrine were renovated and roofed with copper sheeting. In 1900, Sri Konthi Menon, as a manager fixed the hours of worship and led the drive to keep the temple premises clean. He set up the big bell and reconstructed Pathayapura (granary). In 1928, the Zamorin once again become the administrator of Guruvayur. In 1931-32, Late Kelappan (known as "Kerala Gandhi" ) led the Guruvayur Satyagraha to secure the entry of lower castes in temples. The lower castes were allowed to go only up to Thiyyarambalam, more than about half kilometer from the temple. He started a fast unto death in front of the Eastern Gopuram. He broke the fast at the insistence of Mahatma Gandhi. It did not produce any immediate result but led to the entry of Dalits in various Kerala temples. In 1947, the Guruvayur temple was also opened for the entry of all Hindus. Later, namaskara sadya (feast), which was only for Brahmins was scrapped and was opened to everyone irrespective of caste.

The fire and renovation
On November 30, 1970, a massive fire broke out in the temple. It begin from the western chuttambalam and raged all around for five hours, but the Sreekovil , the Vigraha, sub-shrines of Ganapathy , Sastha , Bhagavathy and flag-staff remained unaffected. People from all walks of life, irrespective of age, caste, creed and religion fought the fire to set a glorious example. Later, the temple was once again built to the glory of the Lord. This shocking incidence of fire took place on 29th November during the season of Ekadasivilakku. On this day Vilakku was celebrated on a grand scale and all the lamps in the Vilakkumatam were lighted. After the Seeveli procession, the function came to an end and the gates of Gopuram were closed. Around 1.00 am, somebody in the

immediate neighborhood near the western chuttambalam saw a blaze from within the Temple. Roused by the news, the whole lot of people, irrespective of caste, color or creed rushed to the Temple and joined in fighting the fire with water and sand. Later, the fire force units of Ponnani, Thrissur (Trichur) and FACT arrived and started fighting the fire which seems to have started from the western Vilakkumatam. It was brought under control by 5.30 am. Seeing the uncontrollable fire, the authorities had already removed the valuables from the Sreekovil. The Ganapathy idol, Sastha idol and the main idol of Lord Guruvayurappan were shifted to the Koothambalam and then to a more safer place, the residence of the Tantri. The fire gutted the whole of chuttambalam, the entire Vilakkumatam on the west, south and north sides. The Chuttambalam 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 Sreekovil. Two committees were formed to undertake the renovation work. One committee was headed by the Devaswom Minister, Govt. of Kerala and another technical committee to advice on the renovation work. It had eminent engineers, astrologers and the Tantri as the members. The committee arrived at some general decisions.

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To attract more devotees, all possible alterations to remove inconveniences which are permitted according to tantric principles. To increase the moving space for worshippers by reducing the height of Chuttambalam basement. To provide granite pillars instead of wooden. To put granite wall against the Vilakkumatam. To provide a passage around the Ganapathy shrine to eliminate congestion. To reconstruct the Ganapathy temple in granite. To put a granite engraved "Ananthasayanam" in place of the old "Ananthasayanam" (Mahavishnu lying over serpent) painting which was lost in fire. To widen the gates at the north and east entrances. To reduce the size of the Nivedyathara at the south of the Mandapam.

Eminent astrologers of Kerala were requested to attend the meeting and decide about the Lord's approval for above mentioned changes. Except the widening of two doors everything else were approved. The foundation stone for the renovation was laid by His Holiness Jagatguru Kanchi Kamakoti Matadhipathy Jayendra Saraswathy Swamikal. The ten round pillars in the two Vathilmatam were magnificently carved. The eastern pillar on the southern Vathilmatam, at the foot of which Melpathur meditated and wrote the Narayaneeyam was not removed. After the great fire, the Vilakkumatam, for the first time, was lighted on the Vishu day, 14th April, 1973.

Old political organisation
Before the British occupation, Guruvayur was a temple state. As a state it had a well defined government, law and order maintenance, army and judicial jurisdiction. As a colony of Trikkunavay, Guruvayur had certain obligations too. It had to receive the permission of the parent temple to celebrate the Annual Utsavam (festival). The Sovereign Lord - As a temple state, its sovereignty resided in the Lord himself. All deeds and documents were drawn up in his name. The last item in the daily routine before temple closure is the reading of the Trithola (the sacred palm leaf), which details the day's expenditure. The Lord has also a private account of his own. All the remuneration, unused properties etc. were credited to the Lord's account. The annual Utsavam corresponds to the

annual birthday celebrations of a sovereign king. The Lord thus holds dual office - As an owner of own land of temple of Trikkunavay but also as a tenant of the temples which comes under it. OOraalars - The Lord handled the functions his state through the committee of ooraalars (or uralans) . This committee consisted only of members elected by the yogam or assembly. Later it became hereditary. In the 17th century, there were only seven families and they were all ooraalars. Possibly committee of ooraalars consisted seven members representing seven illams of Chomana, Mallisseri, Jnelliyur, Trithala, Tathamangalam, Pillanazhi and Arimpur. Of these Mallisseri alone is extent. Yogam - It consist of the heads of all the Namboodiri families of Guruvayur, around 72 . When the urayma became hereditary, yogam lost the selection right as well as examination of previous accounts. Yogam used to meet to consider budget and arrangements for annual festivals and poojas. It also looked after extraordinary rites of Viswabali after the renovation and consecration of the idol, attending major repairs in temples as well as hearing of the complaints and rendering the judgments. The Meledam - As the parent settlement and apex of the order, Trikkunavay exercised a nominal control over the affairs of Guruvayur. Its consent was required for the annual festival , special worships like mandala pooja , Viswabali , renovation, installation and consecration etc. Normally its chief accountant, Kantiyur Pattar used to come with permission and supervised the ceremonies of Guruvayur. Kantiyur Pattar - 'Pattar' in Tamil means learned Brahmin or may be taken from Pattola karyakkar (ministry of accounts). Kantiyur is a village near Mavelikkara. It is not known how Kantiyur Pattar became the hereditary accountant of Trikkunavay. The Kantiyur Pattar was one of the dignitaries who accompanied the Arattu procession. In 19th century, one Kantiyur Pattar, who was accompanying the procession, was murdered. In memory of this event, an Athani was set up here and the Utsava procession comes to halt at this point and silence is made for a minute. A member of the Kantiyur family comes forward and bowing before the lord reads a palm leaf, "Namukku sankatam tirnnu" (I am consoled). After this the procession resumes in its usual style. Pura koyma - Koyma is derived from 'ko' (means king) or 'kol' (means rod), wielder of the rod . In every big temple there were two koymas, Pura and Aka koyma. The purakoyma was concerned with all external matters like the protection of the temple and its property and the execution of the decisions of the yogam and ooraalars. The Zamorins - When Punnathur became subject to the Zamorins, the latter became the Melkoyma (presiding Lord). Zamorins later became the protector of Trikkunavay and in 1757 AD he succeeded to become the owner of all the keezhedams of Trikkunavay including Guruvayur. The Vanneri Nambidi - The Vanneri Nambidi was Punnathur's representative on the spot. His family seat was at Vanneri or Valiyankode. Later the family divided into two branches, the Kizhakke (Eastern) and Patinjare (Western) Vanneri. Kizhakke Nambidi was the elder branch and resided permanently at Guruvayur. He accompanied the Lord to Aarattukulam for Arattu and back to the temple as 'akampadi' (escort). He was the final authority on the

Old Administration
The superior staff in the administration was called Kovil adhikarikal, and lower staff as Kovil karmikal. The members of the staff were either given a monthly remuneration or assigned lands.

Aka koyma
The Aka koyma had to see that all the poojas and routine were performed at the proper time. He was the koyma or the supreme authority in the akam inside the temple (temple matters as far as administration is concerned). He had his own room called koyma room inside the nalambalam.

Samudaya manusham (representative of the samudayam)
Representative of the samudayam, consisting of the yogam and Ooraalars. He was the chief executive, who does work in the name of Lord, as ordered by the Ooraalar. As a servant he wasn't appointed from the Guruvayur Namboodiries. In ancient times, he was appointed by the Ooraalar, subject to yogam approval. He used to get keys of Bandaram (cash box) with itangazhi (small 13 measures). Since 1757, the Zamorins started appointing him and Mallisseri instructing. Ooraalar - The term Oor means village and Ooraalan /Ooraalar means village master/masters

The official with whom people come in direct contact was the Variyar. They received offerings and made arrangements for performing them and were known as Pana-pravarthikkaran. The reading of daily Trithola (daily accounts) at night was done by them. Three families of Chowallur, Vadakkeppat and Tiruvankatam performed these functions every ten days in turn. They were called pathukar (ten day men).

Puthiyadathu Pisharodi
Pisharodi is a truncated form of Patarar tiruvati. Originally, the Patarar Tiruvati was the name of a Jain deity. After the ascendancy of Hinduism over Jainism, the tiruvati's status deteriorated from a Aka Koyma to kazhakakkaran (sweeping the ankana, cleaning the vessels, making garlands etc.). The Puthiyadathu Pisharodi were the kazhakakkaran of Edatharikathu Kavu (Devi temple). Earlier they were also temple criers.

Chronicle of events
The idol installed here at Guruvayur temple considered being 5000 years old and lot of legends associated with it. 1030 - Sreekovil and Mandapam renovated.

1058 - Koothambalam and Nalambalam reconstructed.

12thcentury - Western Gopuram constructed.

14thcentury - Tantra Samuchaya written by Chennas Narayanan Namboodiri.

14thcentury - Mentions of Kuruvayur in Tamil literature and Kokasandesam.

1587 - Narayaneeyam composed

1637 - Temple records available in Kolezhuthu script

1638 - The central shrine rebuilt.

1716 - Dutch raided Guruvayur and set fire to the Western Gopuram.

1747 - Western Gopuram rebuilt by Panikkaveettil Ittirayicha Menon, Karyasthan.

1756 - Dutch attacked and desecrated Trikkunavay to which Guruvayur was a Keezhedam (Subordinate temple)

1757 - Dutch again attacked Trikkunavay temple and the Devaswom dissolved.

1757 - Zamorin became the supervising trustee with Mallisseri as the co-trustee of Guruvayur.

1766 - Hyder Ali attacked Guruvayur.

1780 - "Devadaya" from Hyder Ali through Madras Governor Shri. Srinivasa Rao.

1789 - Tippu Sultan attacked Guruvayur - Utsavavigraha shifted to Ambalappuzha and Moolavigraha to a safe underground place.

1792 - September 17 - Reinstallation of the Moolavigraha after the victory of Zamorins over Tippu with the help of British.

1825 - 1892- Temple under the supervision of Court.

1836 - Installation of Deepasthambam in front of the gate way.

1841 - Government of Madras restored Devadaya appropriated by Tippu Sultan.

1842 - The Eastern Gopuram rebuilt.

1859 - Central shrine and mandapam covered with copper sheeting. A permanent flagstaff with bell metal covering set up.

1889 - Dispute started between trustees. Even temple closed for over a week.

1892 - Chuttambalam, Vilakkumatam, Koothambalam and Sastha Shrine were renovated and roofed with copper sheets.

1893 - Compromise was arrived between trustees.

1900 - Big bell was set up and reconstructed the Pathayapura (granary).

1910 - Deepasthambam at Eastern Gopuram installed by Shri Chettur Sankaran Nair.

1915 - A court of wards assumed the management of Zamorin's Estate including Guruvayur temple.

1922 - January 4th Nadayiruthal of elephant "Kesavan".

1927 - Zamorins got back the administrative powers from the Court of Wards.

1930 - A clear administrative scheme was framed by the High court of Madras with the Zamorin once again as the head.

1931 - Guruvayur Satyagraham started.

1932 - Temple remained closed for 12 days without pooja, because of Guruvayur Satyagraham.

1946 - Temple entry for all Hindus.

1952 - January 30 - Flagstaff completely enclosed with gold.

1964 - Sree Krishna College started.

1970 November 30 - Huge fire devastated the Temple.

1971 March 9 - Guruvayur Devaswom Act. Replaced the 1930 Scheme enacted by the Hon'ble High Court of Madras. The Kerala Government takes charge of the temple administration.

1973 - The honor "Gajarajan" awarded to Kesavan on his Shashtipoorthi (60thbirth day).

1974 October 31 - The temple renovation after fire completed.

1978 March 2 - A regular bill passed in the Kerala Assembly with some modification to the existing Guruvayur Devaswom Act - 1971.

Guruvayur satyagraham
The famous Guruvayur Satyagraham was started by the Gandhians in 1934, led by Late Shri. K Kelappan. They advocated the need for throwing open the temple for worship by all Hindus including the Dalits on an equal footing. It was the platform near Manjulal where they started the struggle. This gave national attraction to Guruvayur temple. In the early thirties as a second stage of their campaigns, Shri. Kelappan started a fast un-to death. Late Shri. A K Gopalan was the volunteer captain of the movement. But soon Mahatma Gandhi intervened and the fast was called off. The temple remained closed for 12 days and poojas were suspended. It took another 15 years for the objectives of the movement to be realised and the right to temple entry declared. An impressive obelisk was erected right at the center of the Devaswom Satram to commemorate the Satyagraham of 1931. The plaque on the obelisk carries a tribute to the memory of this great historical event and a homage to its hero, Sri. K. Kelappan.

History of lord Maraprabhu
An idol of Lord Maraprbhu is situated at south side of the temple in the Sreevalsam compound.

The Moolamantra Of Lord Maraprabhu (The Primal Chant)
“Brahmanda Sarwaswavum Jeddhare vazhikkumee Mara Amara Prabhuve Pranamikkam”. [Brahmnad – the whole universe, Sarwaswam – All, Jeddhare – womb, Vahikkume – carrier, Mara Amara – Mortal and Immortal]

Meaning I worship the Lord Maraprabhu who carries the cosmic universe in his womb. Note Even the yogis and Devathas wonder what could Maraprabhu bear in the heart and the head!


Thousands of Artists worked hard for constructed in terracotta.

months together to complete this holy idol, which is

Thousands of different types of herbs were used in the tantric construction of this idol, which is 52 feet tall. The idol Lord Maraprabhu is the material embodiment of all the medicinal herbs all over the world. Lord Maraprabhu is the whole and complete symbol of the eternal potentialities of medicinal herbs. This idol sculptured in the traditional terracotta style, is also a symbol of the bond between man and clay.

Upadevas Ganapathy
In almost all Kerala temples, Ganapathy will find a place among upadevas of the main installation. Here the Ganapathy shrine is situated within the Nalambalam itself, at the south-western corner. Initially this shrine was situated in such a way that the devotees could not go around. But during the renovation work done after the fire, sufficient passage has been provided around this shrine

At the southern side of the temple, outside the Nalambalam and just inside the pradikshinavazhy is the shrine of Sastha. This is the only shrine outside the Nalambalam. The shrine of Edatharikathu Bhagavathy is considered to be in a separate compound with a small passage separating it with the main temple. The idol made of dark granite is about a meter in height. There is a huge granite stone in front of the shrine, placed in an inclined position, for breaking coconuts, considered very dear to Sastha. A small deepasthambam is there in front of the shrine. During the mandala season, lot of devotees take darshan at this shrine. In front of the shrine arrangements are made for "malayidal" and "kettunira" for Sabarimala pilgrimage during Mandala season.

Edatharikathu Bhagavathy
The name Edatharikathu Kavu has come on account of its proximity to the main deity. The goddess here is looked upon as upadevatha (subordinate deity) of the temple. The popular belief is that the presiding deity is Vana Durga and with this belief no roof is provided for the Sreekovil. This shrine is said to be older than the main deity. This shrine is situated at the North-Eastern corner of the main temple, just outside bahyankana, on the bank of Rudratheertham. There is a pradhikshina vazhy around the shrine. Azhal is the important offering here and like other temples of Goddess, there is a permanent oracle (Velichappad). Thalapoli is the important festival and usually unmarried girls alone will take the thalam. Two Thalapolies are celebrated here during the month of Dhanu. One by the Thalapoli sangham and the other by the Devaswom. The last ten days of Mandala season are also considered to be very holy here

Office Ganapathy
This shrine is situated at the East nada inside the old Devaswom office compound. There is no roof for this shrine. The image here is considered to be very powerful and many people pray here to fulfill their wishes. Unlike other Ganapathy idols, this idol has its tusk towards the left side. Daily pooja is conducted here. People break coconuts in front of the shrine as an offering. Another main offering here is 'Ganapathy pooja' which can be done on any day and in the month of Karkidakam, it is the most auspicious.

The Keezhedams

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This shrine in Mammiyur was closely associated with the extinct Jamelliyur illam. The family enjoyed the right of offering the paddy when the procession headed for Guruvayur for the meena pooram, till the pooram celebration was stopped due to Tipu's invasion. Pana ( songs) in praise of the goddess with the Thalapoli on the last night of first 10 days of Makaram is still celebrated. Navarathri , Nira , Puthari, and mandala pooja are also celebrated. Vishu vela is celebrated on the day following Vishu.

There is a big shrine dedicated to Ayyappa which belong to the Thamarayur illam, situated 2.5 Km north of the Guruvayur. The Vishnu temple is known as Sreekandapuram Vishnu temple. These are on the way to Punnathur Kotta. Pooram is celebrated here on the 1st day of Makaram every year.

The shrine is located at Mundur, 16kms away from Guruvayur, on the Guruvayur - Thrissur route. The presiding deity here is Ayyappa. It is believed that on the Thiruvathira (Sixth asterism) day in the month of Kumbham (February - March) every year, Lord Ayyappa used to come to Guruvayur for Arattu which has stopped with the invasion of Tippu. Now there is only Niramala (adorning the whole Sreekovil with 26 flower garland) on the first nine days of Makaram and on the tenth day both Niramala and Utsavam are celebrated by the Devaswom.

Vermanur is situated at Parakkulam near Kunissery in Palakkad district. Parakkulam literally means the tank of rocks and the temple is on the eastern bank of the tank. It might have been either made over to Guruvayur Devaswom by the Zamorins or purchased by Guruvayur from him. The deity here is Shiva . Shivarathri and Prathishta Dinam (foundation day), Nira, Puthari are important festivals.

The presiding deity is Sree Krishna. The temple is in Peruvallur, in the Annakara village, about 9 kms from Guruvayur. It is in the PeruvallurTrichur road. Ashtami Rohini is the important festival.

It is in Kunnamkulam 8 kms away from Guruvayur on the Thrissur road. The deity is Shiva. There are two shrines within the same Chuttambalam. One is Swayambhu and in the other is the Linga. The same priest worships both. Thiruvathira, Shivarathri and Prathishta Dinam are the main festivals.

These two temples are situated 3.5 kms away from Guruvayur in a place called Punnathur. Punnathur was earlier the administrative center of the Punnathur Rajas, which was later purchased by the Devaswom in 1975. These two temples and about 10 acres of landed properties were taken from the receiver, Trichur Sub-Court. The main deities are Siva and Bhagavathy. The Siva temple is also called the Thekke Ambalam and the Bhagavathy Temple is called the Pathirikottu Kavu. In the Bhagavathy temple, Navarathri Utsavam is celebrated.

This is one among the famous 108 Durga temples in Kerala. Bhagavathy is the main deity. It is situated at Kaveed, 6 kms from Guruvayur, near to Punnathur Kotta. Prathishta Dinam is celebrated here. Karkkidaka Pooja is another important event which is celebrated for 12 days.

It is situated on the Perinthalmanna - Nilambur route, 60 kms away from Guruvayur at Poonthanam. Vishnu is the main deity here. But it is more famous for another deity of Lord Krishna, which was once worshipped by the great poet Poonthanam himself. The successors of Poonthanam Namboodiri gave this property to Guruvayur Devaswom. The Poonthanam Day and Navarathri are the main festivals. On the Poonthanam day, special cultural programmes and literary seminars are arranged in the Poonthanam illam. Another deity which is worshiped in the illam is the image of Thirumandamkunnu Bhagavathy.

Nenmini is about 4 kms from Guruvayur towards the east of Guruvayur temple. There are two small temples separated by 500 meters. The main deities here are Balarama and Ayyappa. These temple were under Nenmini mana which were later handed over to Devaswom

Temple Customs
• • • • • • • • • • • • •
Only Hindus are allowed to enter the temple. The temple pond on the northern side is known as Rudratheertham. Devotees can purify themselves by taking bath here and can enter the temple preferably with wet clothes. Follow the temple rules and regulations, so that all can comfortably worship the Lord. Do not enter the temple wearing shirt, banyan, pyjama, lungi, chequered clothes, chapels etc. There are facilities to keep them outside the temple. Do not enter the temple wearing shirt, banyan, pyjama, lungi, chequered clothes, chapels etc. There are facilities to keep them outside the temple. Do not take video camera, mobile phone, radio, tape recorder etc. inside the temple wall. Do not touch on the big altar stone (Balikkallu) by foot. Immediately after marriage, the couples should not enter the Nalambalam. Do not spit in the temple premises. Do not retain babies and children for a long time within the Nalambalam. The receipt for the remittance for offerings (Vazhipad) can be obtained from the booking counters on the ground floor of the oottupura. Be careful not to get deceived by fraud agents for such bookings. Receipts obtained for the feeding of the poor etc. should be put inside the box for the purpose in front of the booking counter. Such items as miniature human figures, replicas of hands, legs, eyes, abnormal body eruptions etc. made of gold and silver can be obtained from the temple official, who are available near the Kodimaram (Flag-staff. Put the amount you wish to offer in the Bandaram (Hundi).

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Udayasthamana Pooja, Chuttuvilakku, Bhagavathy Chuttuvilakku, Namaskaram, Krishnanattam and offerings of the like, have to be booked in advance. Ornaments and such other costly offerings can be put in the Bhandaram. Enter the temple with an absolute sense of devotion. Take special care of your valuables. Offerings and the relevant letters should be sent to the Administrator, Guruvayur Devaswom, Guruvayur 680101, Kerala. Complete information about offerings and full address of the person making the offerings in

bold capital letters should be given on the money order coupon or covering letter of DD. If these are not given, the amount sent will be put in to the Bhandaram.

Bank drafts or Money orders should be sent well in advance to make the offerings on the desired date

The Sreekovil (Sanctum Sanctorum) is designed in 2 layers with copper sheet roofing plated with gold. The deity is in the traditionally orthodox form of Mahavishnu, with all the compliments - four arms each carrying sankh (conch), chakra(wheel), gadha (club) and padmam (lotus). The Moolavigraha (main idol) is made of Pathalanjana Shila and is considered extremely sacred. There are two more idols one of silver and the other of gold of which the silver idol is more older. These are used for

the seeveli and other processions. Generally the gold idol is

used and the silver idol

which is more older is taken out only for Arattu and on a few special occasions. There is a repletion of traditional mural paintings on all the three sides, depicting sequences from puranic tales and Krishnaleela. There is amorous and erotic accent in the murals. The old doors of Sreekovil are replaced with a new set secured with gold plated bars and embellished with golden bells. There are 101 bells, all made of silver and plated with gold. Sopanam, the steps leading to the Sreekovil, are made of stone with carvings and designs of attractive craftsmanship.

Ankana- It is the inner courtyard around the Sreekovil (central shrine) and its passage is flanked by vathilmatam. Vathilmatam- The two platforms on both sides of the Eastern entrance to the Sreekovil are called Vathilmatam.Melpathur meditated andcomposed his magnum opus Narayaneeyam sitting here on theeastern pillar on the southern Vathilmatam. The northern side was initially being used by the paradesaBrahmins and the southern side by the KeralaBrahmins for daily orisons. Namaskara Mandapam-The mandapam is situated right in the center of the chuttambalam or Nalambalam and just right in front of the Sreekovil. The roof is supported by four granite pillars. The mandapam is plated with 100 kg copper and 25 kg gold

Nalambalam (Chutambalam ) - The roofed structure around the ankana is the Nalambalam. Before the 1970 fire, there was a chuttambalam (separate passage around Sreekovil between the Vathilmatam and the Vilakkumatam). Now all are made under single roof and one cannot find the chuttambalam in some places like the Ganapathy shrine. The southern side is divided in to five parts. Titappalli is the place where the offerings to the Lord are prepared. Patakkalam- where the pata (cooked rice) offered to the Lord is being distributed. Turakka Ara, literally the unopened chamber, which is an under ground cell where the reserve cash, gold and silver are believed to be hidden in ancient days. It remains closed witha huge granite stone. It is widely believed that this contains rare and precious stones including the mythological "Syamanthakam". Legend has it that the treasures inside the chamber are closely guarded by innumerable serpents. Saraswathi Ara- where the palm leaf manuscripts are kept for worship during the Navarathri festival. Now it is shifted to the Koothambalam. Ganapathy shrine- Where the Ganapathy is worshipped. Western Chuttambalam- In between the Ganapathyshrine and the store room the temple priests prepare sandal paste and Variyar make garlands. Northern Chuttambalam is towards the east of store room. It consists ofa small open hall, the chottara, where the temple servants keep the choru (cooked rice). Chottara (Velichanna)- earlier coconut oil room [ now shifted] Nrithapura the northern part of chottarafrom where saint Villwamangalam had the darshan of Unnikrishna dancing. Mulayara is the place where the pots filled with earth and ritually sown with different seeds and worshipped before the beginning of the Annual Utsavam every year. Koyma Ara, the office of the Akakoymas (in the old administrative setup), whose charge is to see that the poojas of the day areconductedproperly. Sacred well- There is a deep well to the south of Nrithapura. Nowhere in the neighborhood, there is such clear and cool water. The water in the well maintains its level throughout the year. This water is used for the daily poojas and abhishekam inside Sreekovil.

Bhahyankanam is the outer courtyard where the procession for the Seeveli takes place. It is open both on the south and the west. The northern courtyard was in the past covered by a tiled roof ( now by a concrete roof ) with a small

opening near its western end for acharyabhivandanam , in commemoration of Sankaracharya`s forced landing . Beyond the Sastha shrine and the opening on the courtyard from the opposite side are the store rooms , the quarters for the temple priests , the Patinjare Gopuram , also the aduppukalam ( big kitchen) , where the rice and other items for the feasts are prepared.

Gopurams - There are two storied Gopurams at the eastern and western entrances which house some of the rare frescos of the 16th century. These mural paintings are distinct from those found in other temples in their theme and style. Some of the paintings were damaged in the course of time and due to the fire in 1970 , and were then repainted. Vilakkumatam The massive array of metal lamps round the Sreekovil on the outer walls of the Nalambalam. Around 8000 brass metal lamps fixed on the wooden trellis, around the temple are lighted on the festival and special days or by an

offering. Nadappura - The roof expanse inside the temple between the Eastern Gopuram and the balickalpura is called Nadappura . 'Aanappanthal' is the northern portion of nadappura. It acquired the name from its giant size. (aana means elephant and panthal means pavilion). Here annaprasam , thulabharam etc. are being conducted . Formerly marriages were conducted under it but now marriages are shifted to the Kalyana Mandapam Dhwajasthambam or the flag-staff rises amidst the eastern bahyankana which has a tiled roof. Dhwajasthambam is encased in plated gold at a height of 600feet. Flag is hoisted to mark the beginning of the Annual Utsavam and will be there till the Arattu day. Valiya mani - Situated south of Kizhakke Gopuram and near the south east corner of the bahyankana, is the valiya mani (big bell), announcing the time by its hourly chiming. Koothambalam - It is the stage or the theatre for presenting the Chakiyar koothu . Koothambalam is located in the front and to the right of the presiding deity. The pillars and the ceilings of it are profusely engraved , painted and lavishly embellished with ornamental filigrees and fittings. Deepasthambams - Just in front of the temple there is a huge tower of light, it has thirteen discs including basement and is 24 feet in height. There are four Deepasthambams made of brass, inside the temple. One at northern wing was smashed by theGajarajan Kesavan. The eastern tower, Kizhakke Gopuram (eastern tower) is 33 feet and Patinjhare Gopuram (western tower) is 27 feet in height.

Rudratheertham - This is the tank behind the oottupura where the Lord has His annual Arattu. Siva is said to have washed and worshipped the deity when the idol was brought by Guru and Vayu for installation to Guruvayur. Kovilakam - Towards the south from the Kizhakke Gopuram is Kovilakam(Zamorin Palace), the place where Prince Manavedan had been residing during the days of composition of Krishnagiti (1654). This has been demolished and Sreevalsam rest house have come-up. Prince Manavedan became Zamorin King. Another text composed by him is Purva Bharatha Campu (1644) Athani - On the northern bank of the Rudratheertham is an Athani (porters' rest), in memory of a Kantiyur Pattar, a trusted servant of the temple who got murdered on an Utsava day. As a mark of respect, Lord's Arattu procession stops here for a minute. Tantrimadam - On the north-east bank of Rudratheertham in the Inner-ring road is the tantrimadam or the official residence of the Tantri. Kizhakke Nada - There were many residences on the right side of the street.The Pazhaya othikkans madam, the residence of the Thiyyarambalam priests, Mallisseri Malika and Chondath Malika on the Kizhakee nada are no more now. Till the temple entry of 1947, Thiyyas and other avarnas (lower cast people) were permitted to approach only up to Thiyyarambalam. About a furlong and a half from the Thiyyarambalam is Manjulal (the banyan tree). This is the starting point of the elephant race which precedes Kodiyettam (hosting of the flag) for the Annual Utsavam.

The daily poojas in the temple
The temple is open at 3 am and closes after the day's poojas and rituals around 10 pm. Normally there are five poojas and three circumambulatory processions called Sreeveli, propitiating the celestial deities and carrying the Lord’s Thidambu on elephant's back. During the days of Udayasthamana Poojas there will be a total of twenty one poojas. THE TEMPLE OPENS AT 3.00 AM & TEMPLE WILL BE CLOSED BETWEEN 1.30PM AND 4.30PM AND REOPENS AT 4.30 PM

Time 3.00am to 3.30am 3.20am to 3.30am 3.30am to 4.15am 4.15am to 4.30am 4.30am to 6.15am 7.15am to 9.00am

Pooja Nirmalyam Oilabhishekam, Vakacharthu, Sankhabhishekam Malar Nivedyam, Alankaram Usha Nivedyam Ethirettu pooja followed by Usha pooja Seeveli,Palabhishekam,Navakabhishekam, Pantheeradi Nivedyam, and Pooja

11.30am to 12.30pm 4.30pm to 5.00pm 6.00pm to 6.45pm 7.30pm to 7.45pm 7.45pm to 8.15pm 8.45pm to 9.00pm 9.00pm to 9.15pm


Ucha pooja (the noon pooja) Seeveli Deeparadhana Athazha pooja Nivedyam Athazha pooja Athazha seeveli Thrippuka, Olavayana The Sreekovil will be closed. On the day of Special Illuminations called "Vilakku" the Thripuka is performed after that. The Sreekovil will be closed after Thripuka. Then the Krishnanattam, a colourful traditional dance-drama on Lord Krishna's life is enacted inside the Temple on specified days.

*The timings given are approximate. It may vary if there is Udayasthamana pooja or on certain special occasions.

Offerings at Guruvayoor.....
Gajapooja and Aanayoottu
The devaswom is Making the arrangements for the traditional auspicious worshipof elephants is known as Gajapooja. Now there is an offering called Aanayoottu. This is the feeding of lord's elephants with rice, jaggery, plantain, coconut etc. The charges for this offering per day is Rs. 6000/-. The feeding takes place at3pm at the Devaswom elephant's sanctury at Punnathur Kotta.

Prasada oottu (Annadaanam)
There are arrangements for free feeding as Prasadam at the dining hall for thousands of pilgrims at 10 am and 7.30 pm. One can make offering of any amount for this free feeding.

NAME OF OFFERING Palpayasam Neipayasam Sarkarapayasam VellaNivedyam Appam Ada Avil Thirumadhuram Butter Nivedyam Sugar Plantain Undamala Thirumudimala Niramala Annaprasam (Chorun)

MINIMUM CHARGES (Rs) 20 20 20 10 12 10 10 10 5 10 40 12 100 10

Bhagavathy Azhal Butter after Japam Kelikkayyu Purusha sooktham Ashtotharam Archana Sahasra namam Archana Alankaram with Kalabham (6 Balls) Kalabham 1 Ball Kalabham 1 Packet Ghee Lamp Ghee Lamp in Sreekovil Ghee Lamp in Sreekovil Ghee Lamp in Sreekovil Thali pooja Oil Abhishekam (250ml) Malar Nivedyam Marriage Ashtapathi (One Chapter) Geetha ( One Chapter) Bhagavatham (One Chapter) Bhagavatha Sapthaham Narayaneeyam (One Dasakam) Ganapathy Archana Sastha Archana Lalitha Sahasra nama Archana Palada Pradhaman Eratti Payasam Namaskaram (Approximate) Athazham (Approximate) Palakapuram Ahassu Malayidal ( Sabarimala) Kettu Nira ( Sabarimala) Thulabharam Thattil Panam( Cost of Items extra) Anayoottu Go-pooja Go-Preethi Maintenance of Elephants Alroopam Prasada oottu Vahana pooja (Heav Vehicles) Vahana Pooja Car, Jeep etc Vahana Pooja Auto rikshaw, Motor cycle etc Vidyarambham Saptha Sudhi Abhishekam Saptha Sudhi Abhishekam (Minimum) Veda Parayanam

10 2 10 3 4 5 5400 900 25 1 3000 4500 500 10 160 16 250 2 2 2 1000 2 3 3 5 100 110 5500 5500 3000 1500 2 5 5 6000 250 10 Any amount Any amount Any amount 300 150 75 5 202 2 1000

SapthasudhiAbhishekam Sapthasudhi (min) Vedaparayanam Milk Abhishekam Chuttambalalam East Deepasthambham West Deepasthambham Bhagavathy Chuttuvilakku Nivedyakooru Kadali Vettila Adakka Gayathry NeyJapam Deepasthambham Inside Avatharam Kaliamardhanam Rasakreeda Kamsavadham Swayamvaram Bhanayudham Vividhavadham Swargarohanam Chuttuvilakku (2019 Onwards)

202 2 1000 20 10000 3000 3000 1000 1 2 2 5 1600 1500 1500 1500 1500 1500 1500 1500 1700 35000

Namaskaram And Athaazham
Both these offerings can be made by one devotee per day. The athaazham can be conducted only by the devotee who conducts udayasthamana pooja day before. The namaskaram can be conducted only by the devotee who conducts udayasthamana pooja of the day. Both Athaazham and Namaskaram will not be conducted on Vavu and Ekadasi night.

The choroonu for kids will not be conducted on Ekadasi and Vavu Night. The choroonu will not be conducted on Guruvayur Ekadasi Day.

Now devotees can book Chutuvilakku for the year 2019. The rate of chutuvilakku is 35,000/-.

Offering one's weight of such materials as water, coconut, butter,sugar, fruits, copper, silver, gold or any other materials isa popular vow taken by devotees. The devaswam will supply most of these materials. There is no advance booking, but for materials such as flowers, etc., which may not be immediately available, the Devaswom should be informed atleast a day in advance, the devotee should bring them. The weighing facilities are on both sides of the entrance. for the non hindus, the thulabharam facility is available near the Kalyana Mandapam. The expenses

involved should be remitted after the offering and receipt obtained.There are three thulabhram counters are available in temple and there is no advance booking for thulabharam offerings. The items will be available with devaswom or contractor or devotees can perform with their own items.

Thulabharam Offering Rates



RATE 150 5 10 15 15 15 20 20 20 25 20 40 10 15 8 6 6 10 15 50 4 5 30 75 25 25 10 150 10 5 10 120 5 200 4 5 5 20 20



30 5 200 30 30 30 10 20 10 10000 10 15 15000 8 200 5 100 30 5

“Thalikettu” (tying of the sacred mangalsutra by the groom around the bride's neck) is performed in kalyanamandapam outside the temple wall directly opposite to Sri Guruvayurappan idol (eastern gate). For this a fee has to be paid in advance to the Dewasom and token Number will be given with the receipt. This fee includes the fee for the artistes who play the traditional instruments, like chenda and nadaswaram. During the marriage day, the marriage party has to present at the kalyanamandapam. On calling token number bride, groom and their near relatives have to enter the mandapam and “Thalikettu” function will be performed by temple priests. After the exchange of garlands given from temple and the gift (pudava) to the bride, the mandapam has to be vacated for the next couple. Newly married couples are not allowed in Chuttambalam, soon after the marriage ceremony. Kerala government has decided to open a special wedding registration counter at Sree Krishna temple in Guruvayur, where a large number of marriages take place every day. Other functions of marriage can be done at marriage halls near by. The striking advantage of Guruvayoor is that marriages can be held here on any day and at any time. Hindu marriages are normally avoided in the Malayalam months of Midhunam, Karkatakam and Kanni. But, in Guruvayoor, marriages take place even during these inauspicious months. But the marriage frenzy reaches its zenith during Chingam (August-September), the most auspicious month of the year. “Thalikettu” is performed even during the inauspicious rahukalam (a time usually avoided while performing holy or worthwhile tasks).

At Guruvayoor, marriages can be held any time between 5 to 12.30 am and 4.30 to 8.30 pm. Preference, however, is given to the morning session. The Guruvayur temple does not have any arrangement for the registration of the marriages. All Marriages under the "Hindu Marriage Act" conducted in Guruvayur must be registered within 15 days to Guruvayur Municipality. While registering the marriage, two witnesses have to be accompanied with couple.

Special Offerings
Now no booking is available for Udayasthamana Pooja.

There will be only one performance on a day. There is no performance on Tuesdays and during off season (between June and September). Krishnanattam must be Booked in advance at the advance booking counter. Devotees who book Krishnanattam can watch the performance inside the temple that particular day. Prasadam is not issued to devotees who book krishnanattam. Devotees who wish to book ‘Swargaarohanam’ krishnanattam should book ‘Avatharam’ also.

Avatharam Kaliyamardhanam Rasakreeda Kamsavaddham Swayamvaram Bana yuddham Vividha vadham Swargarohanam

for a birth of a child to remove the effect of poison For the well being of unmarried girls, to end disputes between couples to remove enemies for a happy matrimony For the fulfillment of vows to eliminate poverty and increase yield from farms for salvation of a departed soul

How to Make an Offering
Any of the offerings given in the list of offerings can be booked and performed from official site filling up the form. The payment should be done either by way of Money order, Demand Draft or Cheque drawn in favour of the "Administrator, Guruvayur Devaswom, Guruvayur", and the details should be clearly furnished in the form. All payments should be made to:

THE ADMINISTRATOR GURUVAYUR DEVASWOM GURUVAYUR - 680 101, KERALA. TEL: 91-487-2556335,2556346(OFF) 2556660(PER) FAX: 91-487-2554844. Note: Check the site for updated details

Nadayiruthal- Offering an Elephant to the God
According to Hindu belief, all obstacles in one's life can be cleared by propitiating Lord Ganesha. The temple is thus home to a large captive herd of elephants, thanks to generous offerings by grateful politicians, businessmen, film stars and other devotees. The Guruvayoor Devaswom Board has set up an Elephant Expert Committee which will physically examine each animal offered. Only after the Committee issues a fitness certificate will the temple accept the gift. New temple guidelines stipulate that any devotee wishing to donate an elephant should also pay Rs 400,000 towards its upkeep. Instead of donating an elephant, a devotee can also make a 'symbolic offer' by paying Rs 500,000 to the temple. The latter provision, temple officials say, makes economic sense for the devotees because an elephant can cost anything between Rs 600,000 and Rs 800,000. "If a devotees offers an elephant to the temple, it could cost him more than Rs 10 lakhs (Rs 1 million) including the maintenance charge of Rs 400,000 we now ask for," a temple official points out. But the new rules have not deterred devotees. Temple officials reveal that eight applications to donate elephants are pending with the temple administration.

Guruvayurappan Lockets
Guruvayur Devaswom now offers Gold and Silver lockets of Lord Guruvayurappan. The lockets are available in the Superintendent’s office inside the temple.

Ticket Counter
Ticket Counters
There are three different types of ticket counters inside the temple.

Current Ticketing
The tickets issued through these counters are for conducting offerings on the same day. The list of offerings available in this counter can be seen in the offering list.

Advance And Endowment Counter
Devotees can book offerings in advance through this counter. Some of the offerings from the offering list must be booked in advance. Devotees can book Devotees can book offerings per month, per year or for a particular date etc through this counter. Devaswom provides the facility to send Chandanam, Kalabham etc by post after conducting the offerings. Devotees can also book endowment and nithyatha through this counter.

Thulabharam Counter
Guruvayur Devaswom now operates 3 thulabharam counters inside the temple. Advance booking is not required for thulabharam offerings. The thulabharam items are available with devaswom or contractor or devotees can bring items that are not available in the temple.

Present Administrative Organisation
The Administrative office is functioning in the Sreepadmam building from 1997. In the present set-up there is no yogam. The ancient families all except Mallisseri have become extinct. On 9th March 1971, the Government of Kerala introduced an Act , known as the Guruvayur Devaswom Act, replacing the Trusteeship by a Managing Committee, nominated by the Hindu Ministers in the State Cabinet. The day-to-day administration is to be looked after by an Administrator appointed by the Government. The Managing

Committee include, the Zamorin Raja, the Mallisseri Namboodiri and the Tantri of the temple among others. Due to the High Court's directive that the Act should be revamped, the 1971 Act was replaced by 1978 Act. According to 1978 Act, the Managing Committee consists of 9 members - The Zamorin Raja, Mallisseri Namboodiri, the Tantri, a representative of the employees of the Devaswom and five more persons of whom one shall be a Scheduled Caste

member. The six non-traditional members are appointed by the Hindu ministers of Kerala Government of which one will be the Chairman of the Managing Committee. The committee selects an Administrator from the panel of names given by the Government. The Administrator should not be below the rank of Deputy collector. The Administrator acts as the Secretary of the Managing Committee and the Chief Executive of the Devaswom.

Temple organisation
The word tantra had a special meaning as applied to the temples of Kerala. It is both a science and an art. It deals with structural and functional aspects of the temples and images, the dedication and consecration of the idol. The expert in tantra is called Tantri.

Puzhakkara Chennas Namboodiri is the hereditary Tantri of Guruvayur. The Tantra Samuchaya according to which temples rites and rituals are performed in most of the temples in Kerala was written by Chennas Narayanan Namboodiri, born in 1427. When Punnathur chief submitted to the Zamorin, Chennas also joined the Zamorins' party in the Koorumatsaram and its senior most member became the Zamorins' spiritual adviser and supervisor of the temples in the empire. The Tantri lives in the tantrimadam near the temple. He offers Utsava bali (offerings to the celestial attendants) on Utsava days and takes part in all special worships during the Mandalam.

Derived from the Malayalam word 'oothuka'- to recite the Vedas. The othikkan is a person who chants as well as teaches the Veda. From the ancient times, Guruvayur has been having four othikkans, known from their house names, as Pazhayam, Munnoolam, Pottakuzhi and Kakkad .They assist the Melsanthi by performing the Pantheeradi pooja (the worship when the sun's shadow measures 12 feet). The Othikkans officiate for the Tantri during the utsavam and other festivals and also when the tantri is not available due to sickness or so.

The Melsanthi (Chief Priest) is appointed for six months at a time. In Guruvayur, the Melsanthi has to observe strict brahmacharya and has to live within the temple premises. He is now appointed by the Managing Committee. Before taking the charge of the office, he has to undergo a fortnight's probation under the Tantri and Othikkans. The Tantri imparts to him, the Dhyanasloka, the litany and deity worshipped forms and schools him in 'Moolamantra' or the

secret syllables associated with deity. The Othikkans instruct him in ancient practices of the temple.

The Keezhsanthis are the subordinate temple priests. The Melsanthi is assisted by two Keezhsanthis. They prepare everything for the daily worship and attend to the daily chores such as bringing water, making sandal paste, cooking

the nivedyam (offerings for the Lord). They also distribute the prasadam such as worshipped flowers, sandal paste and the idol anointed oil. He takes the Utsava vigraha on the elephant's back for seevelis. They perform the annual Chempakasseri and Desavarma sradham on behalf of the Lord. They cannot however act for the Melsanthi, neither can the Keezhsanthis touch the Moolavigraha ( the main idol). Since the return of the vigraha of the Lord, the duties of the Keezhsanthis are being performed by fourteen Namboodiri illams of Karisseri (Puzhavy) by turn, two illams (houses) performing the various services month by month.

Financial assets
Guruvayur temple had about 13000 acres of land until the Kerala Land Reforms Act came to force. Presently the Devaswom has 230 acres of land including that purchased after the Act. The major income of Devaswom is from the temple as Vazhipad by the devotees which amounts to about Rs.10.00 Core an year. Other sources of income are the receipts from land and buildings, Guest houses, interest from investments and endowments, livestock, grants and fees etc. There are about 900 permanent staff and many part-time and contract laborers working under the Devaswom.

Ekadasi festival ( Nov - Dec)
Ekadasi, the eleventh day of every lunar fortnight, is very auspicious to the Hindus. Of the 24 Ekadasis in an year, the Vrishchika Ekadasi (Suklapaksha) has got special significance in Guruvayur. It falls in the Mandala season. The Navami (9th day) and Dasami (10th day) are also very important. Ekadasi Vilakku starts a month before the Ekadasi day as offerings by different persons, families and organisations. On Navami day, the Vilakku is lit with ghee as an offering by Kolady family. The Dasami Vilakku which used to be an offering of Zamorin Raja, is now conducted by Guruvayurappan Sankeerthana Trust. After the temple is open on this day for Nirmalya darshan ( 3.00AM ), it is closed only at 9.00 am on Dwadasi Day (12th day), thus allowing continues darshan for devotees throughout Dasami and Ekadasi Days. Until the temple entry for all Hindus in 1947, Avarnas (lower caste) were allowed to come up to Thiyyarambalam on Dasami day (in between Manjulal and Eastern Gopuram). On Dwadasi day there is a custom of offering a token amount called Dwadasi Panam in Koothambalam for the welfare of the family. A highlight of the Ekadasi is the memorial honour for Gajarajan Kesavan . The Karanavar or head of the elephant family places a wreath at the statue of Kesavan in front of Sreevalsam guest house and all the other elephants stand around and pay obeisance. On Ekadasi day, the Udayasthamana Pooja (continuous pooja) is conducted by the Devaswom itself . After the morning seeveli, on Ekadasi there is a grant elephant procession to the Parthasarathi temple since it is regarded as Geethopadesam Day also. On Ekadasi after night pooja the famous Ekadasi Vilakku with elephant procession takes place and provides a fitting finale to the festival.

Other religious festivals
Mandala pooja begins on the first day of the Malayalam month of Vrishchikam. This is a period of 41 days for the pilgrimage to the shrine of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala. Most of the devotees who go to Sabarimala also visit Guruvayur. At Guruvayur, there will be special abhishekam with panchagavya (mixture of five products of cow - milk, curd, ghee, urine and cow dung) on all days. Many devotees visit the shrine to partake of it, since it is believed to burn up all inner impurities. Chakkiyar Koothu takes place after lunch. Krishnanattam may be performed after Athazha pooja . Mandalam comes to end with Kalabhaattam (pouring mixture of sandal paste, saffron, camphor and rose water) on the deity. This special offering is made only once in a year and it is the hereditary privilege of the Zamorin Rajas. Besides, the three seevelis during mandalam will be conducted with three elephants and they take five rounds around the temple. The famous Guruvayur Ekadasi festival, Melpathur statue installation day, Narayaneeyam day and Kuchela day also occur during Mandalam, thus making it the busiest season at Guruvayur. During this season, special arrangements are made for 'kettunira' and 'malayidal' in front of the Sastha shrine inside the temple.

Of the 9 days of the Navarathri festival, the last three days are specially sacred for goddess Saraswathy who presides over the world of learning and fine arts. Children are initiated into learning on the last day known as Vidyarambham day. The training in Krishnanattam, Kathakali, Kalaripayattu, (traditional martial art-form of Kerala) etc. generally begins on this day.

On the Uthradam day of the month of Chingam (August- September), thousands of devotees bring "Kazhcha kulas" (bunches of Banana) as offering to the Lord. These bananas are given to all the elephants of Guruvayur Devaswom on the same day or next day. On Thiruvonam day, free Onam feast with Pazhaprathaman is given to thousands of devotees.

Ashtami Rohini in Chingam (August-September) is the birthday of Lord Krishna. Appam and Palpayasam are considered to be important offerings on this day. Special feast is arranged for the devotees.

It means new rice. It is a formal beginning of the use of rice from the new harvest season for offering in the temple. Puthari payasam is offered to Lord; it takes place in the month of Chingam.

The Vaishakha is the lunar month starting from new moon of Medam (April-May). The Vaishakha vratham (fast) is auspicious and sacred to Vishnu. The vratham can be followed in the routine of morning ablutions , feeding the poor, keeping fast, taking prasadams from the offerings to the Lord and participating in the divine discourses. The third day of this month - Akshaya-thrithiya - birth day of Balarama, is the most auspicious. Palpayasam is the main offering and feast is also arranged during the entire Vaishakha month.

The first day of Medam ( mid April) is the new year day for Malayalees. People believe that the fortunes for the next year depend on the nature of the objects one sees in the morning of Vishu. For this purpose, Kani (an omen) with articles like yellow flowers, rice, betel nuts, golden coins etc. is displayed in front of the deity. Thousands prefer to see Kani at Guruvayur on Vishu morning. Crowds stay overnight inside the courtyard of temple, which is specially permitted on this day. They close their eyes and set their eyes on the Kani and deity, as the doors are opened at 2.30 am for darshan.

The first Wednesday of the month of Dhanu (December) is celebrated as Kuchela Dinam. It is based on the belief that it was on this day that Kuchela, an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna offered Avil (parched rice) to him and in return attained eternal bliss and material property . Avil offering is considered auspicious on this day.

The Samkrama Sandhyas, a very auspicious occasion for worship of the Lord, is observed by the devotees on the eve of each Malayalam month in the spirit of intense devotion and piety. Thousands of people stream in to the temple for a darshan of the Lord at the time of Deeparadhana. Spiritual discourses and various cultural programmes befitting Hindu faith are held at Melpathur Auditorium.

Other Cultural Festivals
It is actually a part of Ekadasi festival, which is conducted for 15 days and attracts more than 2000 Carnatic musicians. This music festival is in commemoration of Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagawathar who was a doyen of Carnatic music and an ardent devotee of the Lord Guruvayurappan. It is almost a replica of Saint Thyagaraja festival. Earlier it was a three day festival but with the phenomenal rise in the number of participants, the period was extended with artists of all types - young, old, novices, experts, vocalists and instrumentalists are allowed to participate. The highlights of the Utsavam are group singing of saint Thyagaraja's Pancharatna Krithis on Dasami day by several leading artists. All India Radio and Doordharsan telecast the last few days’ programmmes live.

The day on which Narayaneeyam was completed, 28th Vrichikam, is celebrated by the Devaswom as Narayaneeyam day. Discourses and debates on Narayaneeyam written by Melpathur take place. Special functions are held at Melpathur Illapparambu also.

The Poonthanam day is celebrated on the Aswathi day of the month of Kumbham (February-March) in commemoration of the Saint Poonthanam, a great devotee of the Lord, who enriched Malayalam devotional literature with his renowned poetic composition 'Jnanapana', a philosophical work of all times. On this day, recital of Poonthanam's works and debate takes place. A one week literary festival is conducted at Poonthanam illam.

Utsavam or annual festival
Guruvayur, the Utsavam lasts for ten days. Beginning on the day of Pushya (the 8th asterism) in the month of Kumbham ( February-March), it ends after the Aarattu on the 10th day. Religiously, it is the restoration of divine Chaithanya. Brahmakalasam is preceded by the Utsavam. It is aimed at the purification and energisation of the powers of the deity. It is the last of the long series of rituals of kalasam and at the end, the flag will be hoisted heralding the Utsavam. Culturally, it consists of various processions, illumination and modest fireworks (this is a specialty of Guruvayur Utsavam that no explosives are used, unlike most of the other Kerala temples). All ten days, the place wears a festive look, streets dressed up with arches, festoons etc., houses freshly thatched and painted. Every shrine and building is tastefully decorated with lights, plantain trunks, bunches of coconut and arecanuts. Two Gopurams and the bahyankana (outer-courtyard) are elaborately decorated with illuminations and eye-catching electric displays. The lamps, deepasthambams and vilakku are all lightened.

Ekadasi observance propitiates Gods and Goddesses including Vishnu. Ekadasi associated with dasami at sunrise is called Bhooripaksham and Ekadasi associated with dwadasi is called Anandapaksham. They are also called Pithrupaksha and Devapaksha respectively. Bhooripaksha or Pithrupaksha ekadasi is more suitable to perform paternal rites and Anandapaksha or Devapaksha more suited for those who seek salvation. Regulations of Ekadasi observance

• •

Rice should not be taken Only one meal at daytime on dasami day

• • • •

Total fast on Ekadasi day. Thulasitheertham can be taken Only one meal at daytime on dwadasi No supper on three consecutive days Must not sleep during daytime

The last phase of Ekadasi (one fourth of thithi) consisting of 15 nazhikas and the first phase of dwadasi consisting of 15 nazhikas (total 30 nazhikas) is known as Harivasara. Though all Ekadasis have their own importance the Vaikunda, Sayana, and Uthana Ekadasis and the Ekadasis of Guruvayur, Thiruvilwamala, Nelluvai, Thripayar and Kadavallur temple are considered to have special significance.

Among dwadasis, Vaisakha and Sravana dwadasi are considered more important. All observances bring blessings, but not observing Ekadasi may bring harm.

Arkavratham is observed to please Aadithya (sun). Must get up before sunrise on Sunday and worship Aadithya, silently chanting Gayathri manthram or Sooryasthuthi. Only one meal during daytime and no food after sunset. This observance promotes dharma in whole humanity and gives deliverance from all evils.

Dhakshinamurthy turned ascetic when his wife Dhakshayani gave up her life. Parvathi was able to make Dhakshinamurthy to take her as his wife by observing Somavaravratham (fasting on Monday). The widowhood of princess Seemanthini came to an end by observing Somavaravratham. It is particularly pleasing to the Siva family: Siva, Parvathi, Ganapathi and Skandamurthy. When Amavasi coincides with Monday it is known as Amosomavaram and that day is particularly suitable for fasting. Regulations

• • • • • • •

Get up early in the morning Take bath and put on white cloths Smear ash on the forehead and put on rudraksha Go to temple and pray Soman (Siva and Uma –half man and half woman) chanting hymns Visit the temple again in the evening chanting prayers of Siva Make offerings to Siva and the Brahmins No food during daytime

Shashteevratham appeases Lord Subramanya. The legend says that Sreeskandhan after imprisoning Brahmavu became conscious of the magnitude of his crime and turned himself into a horrible serpent and vanished. Lord Siva advised Parvathi to observe Sukla shshteevratham to regain her son. Accordingly Parvathi observed Shashti for 108 days. During the observance she ate only once a day, slept on bare floor, woke up early morning and continued to pray Subrahmanya.On the last day Vishnu and other Gods appeared before Parvathi. She had a vision of Subramhanyan in the shape of a horrible serpent. When Mahavishnu touched the serpent it regained the form of Subramanya. That is why we offer the idol of serpent when we worship Subramhanya. It is believed that Subrahmanya appeared to Parvathi on the shashti in the month of Vaisakha at a place called Subrahmanayam. There is another legend, which says that Shashteevratham was observed by the Gods when they lost sight of Skandha in the middle of war. Shashti is also observed for deliverance from the disease of leprosy.

It is observed on Astami day in the Karutha Paksha. The day is observed just as Ekadasi.It was on the Ashtami day in Krishna paksha that Vyaghra pada maharshi sighted Lord Siva in the sanctum sactorum of Vaikkom temple.

Pradosham is sacred to Lord Siva. It marks the beginning of the dusk of Thrayodashi day. Not only human beings but also Gods like Vishnu worship and perform dance to pray Pradosha rudra on the day. It is also the day Lord Siva seats the Goddess on a pedestal and dances around to please her. Regulations

• • • • • •

Put on white cloths after bath Smear ash over the body and put on rudraksha Pray at Siva temple Fast during daytime Pray at Siva temple in the evening chanting Panchakshara Complete the observance by taking food

Navarathri may fall in the month of Kanni or Thulam. It is observed for 9 days in Kerala after the vavu of Kanni. Regulations

• • •

Fasting begins with Amavasi Only one meal on the first day Goddess to be worshipped at a clean and decorated place inside the house o Poojas to be performed by Brahmins

After Navarathri pooja girls between two and ten years of age must be worshipped as the representatives of the Goddess as Kumari, Thrimurthi, Kalyani, Rohini, Kali, Chandika, Sambhavi, Durga and Subhadra. The Ashtami day when Durga appeared to the Gods is called Durgashtami and the day Durgaman, the evil spirit was assassinated is known as Vijayadasami. It was Lord Sreerama who first observed Navarathri. Devi bhagavatham says that he observed Sivarathri at Kishkindha after Seetha was stolen. Some people conceive Bhuvaneswari as Saraswathi and worship books for 9 days starting on Durgashtami and ending with Vijayadasami. Vijayadasami is the auspicious day to initiate children to education. Goddess Saraswathi is known by different names in different aspects: Veena Saraswathi, Dancing Saraswathi, Bharathi, Brahmi, Vageeswari and Gayathri.

The Chadurdasi coming in between the amavasi of Makara and Kumbha is known as Mahasivarathri. The day Chadurdasi touches the midnight is the beginning of Sivarathri. If it happens on two days the first day is taken as Sivarathri. Navarathri associated with Thrayodasi is considered more auspicious. Legend says that when Palazhi was churned a very dangerous poison Halahal came out and Lord Mahadeva consumed it. To prevent the poison from entering the stomach all Gods kept awake, fasted and prayed throughout the night. The poison stayed at the throat of Lord Siva and after that he came to be called as “Blue throat”, Neelakanda. Persons who do not observe any other fast, if they observe Sivarathri will get the benefit of observing all other fasts. Regulations

• • • • • • • •

Get up at Brahma muhurtham (4.30 a.m approximately) After bathing put on rudraksha and smear ash on body Must not take any food through out the day Spend the whole day at Siva temple if possible Chant prayers of Siva o At sunset take bath and make offerings to Siva Must not sleep at night Next morning pray at Siva temple, make offerings and give feast and presents to Brahmins Put an end to fasting and take food

Sivarathri observance at Gokarnum in Karnataka, Thripangote in Vettathunadu, Kallekkulangara in Palakkad, Aluva in Ernakulam and Vadakkumnatha in Thrissur are considered to be more important.

This observance appeases Umamaheshwara. Thoruvathira of the month of Dhanu is considered more auspicious. Devotees observe Ardravratham, Ardradarasanam and Ardrajagaranam. If Thiruvathira falls on daytime, fast should be observed. Rice should not be eaten. Married women will be blessed if they observe fast and pray to God chanting hymns.

Lord Mahavishnu was incarnated as Sreekrishna on the day Ashtamy and Rohini conjoined in the month of Chingam. People should keep awake till midnight observing fast. When the moon rises fast can be broken after worshipping God. Rice should not be eaten for the whole day and Bhagavad-geetha had to be recited day and night.

Deepavali is celebrated in memory of the assassination of Narakasura, who was a curse to humanity. It begins with the Chathurdasi in the month of Thulam. It is known as Narakachadurdasi. In some places deepavali starts on the day of Trayodasi.Early morning on Trayodasi all anoint their bodies with oil and take bath. Worship of Goddess Lakshmi is more gainful during deepavali. Jains also observe deepavali as the death anniversary of Mahaveera. In Bengal deepavali is considered suitable for rites to please forefathers. Sree Lakshmi and Mahakali are worshiped during deepavali.

The thritheeya on the veluthapaksha of the month of Medam is celebrated as Akshaya thritheeya. Sukhlapaksha dwadasi in the month of Vaisakha, Thritheeya and Pournami are believed to have more importance than other days. Observing fast on these three days amounts to observing Vaisakha dharma on all other days. ps, deepasthambams and vilakku are all lightened.

SPECIAL DAYS Edatharikathukavil Pilleru Thalappoli Makaravilakku Dwajaprathishta Dinam Republic Day Edatharikathukavil Devaswom Thalappoli Guruvayur Ulsavam Kalasarambam Thathwakalasam Sahasra Kalasam Ulsavarambam, Anayottam, Kodiyettam Ulsavam 8th day, Ulsavabali Ulsavam 9th day, Pallivetta Ulsavam 10th day, Arattu Mahasivarathri Poonthanam Day Vishusankramam Vishukani Vaisakha Arambam Akshayathritiya Thrissur Pooram

DATE 05/01/2011 14/01/2011 17/01/2011 26/01/2011 01/02/2011 08/02/2011 14/02/2011 15/02/2011 16/02/2011 23/02/2011 24/02/2011 25/02/2011 02/03/2011 09/03/2011 14/04/2011 15/04/2011 04/05/2011 06/05/2011 12/05/2011

Vaisakham last day Upadevanmar Kalasam Karkidakavavu Independence day Sreekrishna Jayanthi/Ashtamirohini Uthradam Kazhchakula Veppu Thiruvonam Gandhi Jayanthi

01/06/2011 20/06/2011 to 26/06/2011 30/07/2011 15/08/2011 21/08/2011 08/09/2011 09/09/2011 02/10/2011

Auspicious Days

The Aswathi of Kumbha is celebrated as the Poonthanam day in honour of the great vernacular poet Poonthanam. The day is celebrated with literary competitions and cultural programmes. Poonthanam Illam (house of Poonthanam) is taken over and preserved by Guruvayur Devaswom and the day is celebrated both at the illam and at Guruvayur temple.

The abode of Merlpathur is situated near the Chandanakkavu Bhagavathi temple, three kms away from Thirunavaya Vishnu temple in Malappuram district. A life size statue of Narayana Bhattathiripad, the writer of Sreemannarayaneeyam was erected in the Mandapam built in this place owned by Guruvayur Devaswom. Narayaneeyam day is celebrated in the memorial on the 8th of Vrischikam every year just as it is celebrated in Guruvayur temple on 28th of Vrischikam. It is the day when the great poet Narayana Bhattathiripad dedicated his magnum opus Sreemannarayaneeyam to Guruvayurappan in the year 762.The day is celebrated with competitions for students and cultural programmes.

Thulam 30th is celebrated as Krishnageethi day since the year 1160 (1984). It was on the 30th of Thulam that Manavedan Namboothiripad dedicated his Sanskrit composition entitled Krishnageethi to Guruvayurappan. The performing art Krishnanattom is based on this composition.

Ashtamirohini is the birth time of Sree Guruvayurappan. It is celebrated with great rejoicing and various cultural programmes to commemorate the incarnation of Lord Krishna at Ashtamirohini in the month of Chingam. As part of the Bhagavatha sapthaha yajna conducted by the devaswom, the story of the incarnation of the Lord is narrated on

this day. Palpayasam and ada are the special offerings of the day. All devotees who come to the temple on the day get the opportunity to relish the birthday feast. Thousands of devotees attend the celebration every year. The awards for outstanding performance in the temple arts of Koothu, Koodiyattom, Sopanasangeetham, Krishnanattom, Padakam, Melam, Pancha vadyam, Nadaswarom, Sculpture, Murals and the art of making elephant paraphernalia are distributed on the day. The award consists of a citation and Rs.10001. An expert committee selects the winners.

Ekadasi is one of the greatest annual celebrations of Guruvayur temple. Ekadasi falling in the Veluthapaksham in the month of Vrischikam is celebrated as the historical Guruvayur Ekadasi. Lamp lighting in connection with the celebration starts a month before. Illumination using oil lamps on Ashtami, Navami, Dasami and Ekadasi attracts a lot of people to the temple. Special feast is supplied to devtees coming to the temple on Ekadasi, Dwadasi and Thrayodasi. Thousands reach the temple to participate in the celebration from different parts of the country.

The memory of the great elephant of GD called Kesavan is sacred to all devotees of Guruvayurappan. Kesavan expired on 2nd December 1976, which was the day of Ekadasi. In memory of the departed Kesavan, a procession of all elephants of the temple is taken out from the Thiruvenkitachalapathi temple to the statue of Kesavan in front of the Sreevalsam Guest House. After garlanding the statue, the elephants are fed in the temple.

As part of Ekadasi celebration an Aksharaslokam competition is held every year. Experts from all parts of Kerala participate in the competition and first, second and third place winners are presented with gold medallions.

Ekadasi is also celebrated the day of Geetha. Recital of Geetha and discourses on Geetha start at Koothambalam from 7 a.m onwards.

The music festival is yet another attraction of Ekadasi. The day is celebrated in memory of the great Carnatic music maestro and staunch devotee of Guruvayurappan Sri. Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar. The festival begins 15 days before Ekadasi and ends with a grand finale in the Ekadasi night at the Melpathur auditorium. Approximately 3000 musicians and students take part in the festival. The All India Radio and Doordarshan directly telecast the programme on the last five days.

The first Bhagavatha sapthaham was started at the temple Oottupura in 1159. Since then it is conducted regularly every year. It begins seven days before Ashtami rohini. During Vaisakha up to four Sapthahas are conducted consecutively.

As part of Narayaneeyam celebration Narayaneeya Sapthaham is conducted. It begins a week before the Narayaneeyam day and ends on the eve of Narayaneeyam day at the Temple Spiritual Hall. On Narayaneeyam day fomous scholars perform a complete recital of Narayaneeyam.

It is believed that plantain fruit is a favourite food of Guruvayurappan. The most suitable time to offer plantain is Uthradam, the eve of Onam. Plantains are placed on the pedestal of the golden flag post in front of the temple immediately after Seeveli. The main poojari of the temple makes the first offering, followed by office bearers and then devotees. Excess plantain is sold by public auction.

Religious discourses by well-known spiritual leaders are held at Melpathur Auditorium during Mandala, Vaisakha and Karkkidaka. This is in addition to the regular discourses during festival season. Great spiritual leaders speak on spiritual subjects.

On the last day of every month (Sankramam) after evening poojas religious discourses and cultural programmes are held at Melpathur auditorium.


The Guruvayur Devaswom’s Institute of Mural Painting was established in the the year 1989. National Diploma is awarded to students on successful completion of training for 5 years. Students are given stipend. At present the center is functioning in the Sathram Canteen Block. It was a fire mishap in the Guruvayur Temple Complex in the year 1970 that actually paved the way for the setting up of this institution. The fire damaged the Sreekovil ( Sanctum Sanctorum) and the paintings on the three walls were also destroyed in the incident. When the walls were to be decorated again with paintings as a part of the renovation, the authorities found that artists who could do such work

were few. However those artists who were deputed to do the work like veteran Mural Painters Mammiyur Krishnankutty Nair, Pattambi Krishna Varier, M.K.Sreenivasan and K.K. Varier completed the job satisfactorily. The authorities, art lovers and artists got together to think of ways of preserving the mural paintings. The result was the establishment of the Institute of Mural Painting by the Guruvayur Devaswom. The Institute of Mural Painting at East Nada of Guruvayur temple gives coaching in mural painting in the traditional Gurukula Pattern. The five year National Diploma Course offers training in Fine Arts for the first two years as a preparatory course after which the students are given three years specialized coaching in traditional Kerala Mural Painting. The qualified candidates are selected after an aptitude test and interview. The selected students are given scholarships and also have free hostel and mess faculties. The admission to each batch is restricted to ten students. Along with studio and practical work, the prescribed syllabus includes Art history( Indian and Western) Aesthetics, Sanskrit and silpa Texts. Dhyanasloka classes are also conducted. Teaching aids include slide films and visual props. Periodical exhibition of paintings, camps, workshops , seminars, discussions, study tours etc also form the part of the curriculum. The Institute has a good library. The late Sri. Mammiyur Krishnankutty Nair, a well known Mural Artist, was the first principal of the Institute. After his death, Sri.M.K.Sreenivasan succeeded him. Now, Sri.K.U.Krishnakumar is the Principal and Chief Instructor of the Institute. The course has been intended to revitalize the invaluable tradition of Mural Art. A collection of these exquisitely painted panels adorns the walls of the institute. The artists of this Institute have been participating and working at national level exhibition and camps. The authorities also accept commissioned work keeping the rules and regulations of guruvayur devaswom. The Institute played an active role in repainting many Murals as a part of ongoing renovation and restoration work.

Guruvayur Devaswom Institute of Mural Painting ( Chumar Chithra Padana Kendram) East Nada Guruvayur- 680101 Ph: 0487 2556538 extn: 515

The College started functioning from 18th July 1964 under the management of newly constituted Sree Krishna Educational Society. This long awaited dream of the public of Guruvayur came true with the whole hearted support of the Zamorin Raja of Calicut, the then Managing trustee of Guruvayur Devaswom. The required fund was raised from Devaswom. 1st, 2ndand 3rd group Pre Degree classes affiliated to the Kerala University were started with Prof. M. Balakrishnan Nair as the Principal.The College was shifted from the temporary shed near Sree Krishna High School to a spacious and well equipped building cum campus at Arikanniyur in the year 1967. Hostel and other infrastructural facilities were added from time to time and Degree courses were added in 1969. The institution has grown from strength to strength every year and it is now a full fledged first grade College affiliated to the University of Calicut offering Degree and Post Graduation courses in various disciplines. The present principal is Raveendra Nath. The Degree Courses offered are BA, BSc, Bcom with Sanskrit as optional Part II Language. Post Graduate Courses include MSc (Botany and Physics), Mcom (Foreign trade Management). More details can be had

The Devaswom is running an English Medium school (CBSE), apart from the Sree Krishna High school and Sree Krishna Higher secondary school, all of which maintain high standards of education. The Vadya vidyalayam gives training on traditional musical instruments such as chenda, kombu, kuzhal, edakka, maddalam etc. Veda Patasala functioning under Devaswom imparts training in the Vedas and Puranas.

The school imparts training in music instruments like Chenda, Thakil, Maddalam, Thimila, Kombu, Kurumkuzhal, Nadaswaram and Ashtapathi.Duration of the course is three years. Students are provided with the facility of formal education in Standard 8,9 and10. They are also given stipend and accommodation. The method of training is “Gurukula”(directly trained under a mentor)

Devaswom has been in to publication for more than last 50 years and a separate publication division has started functioning since 1980.

"Bhakthapriya" is the official monthly publication of Guruvayur Devaswom in Malayalam started in 1986. This magazine since its beginning is catering to the spiritual needs of thousands of devotees of Lord Guruvayurappan.This is also a medium for communication of Devaswom matters to the public. Erudite scholars regularly contribute articles to this publication. Each issue of Bhakthapriya carries thought provoking articles on the Vedas, Ithihasas, Puranas, Darsanas and such literature, description of Lord Guruvayurappan's blessings narrated by the devotees from their own experiences and beautiful poems which touch the heart of the readers. Bhakthapriya has gained fame and popularity in India and abroad in a very short span of time. Click here to see the other books published by Devaswom

Book Details and Subscription Information Size Pages Periodicity Price per copy 1/4 th Demmy 100 Monthly Rs. 10.00

Annual Subscription Rs. 100.00 Long Term (16 Yrs) Rs. 1000.00

The Devaswom publication division since its beginning has published a gamut of books ranging from the great Indian epics like Bhagavatham and classics like Narayaneeyam to contemporary literary works such as Thirumudimala (a collection of poems by Mahakavi P. Kunjhiraman Nair). Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri's "Prakriyasarvaswam" published by Devaswom, ranks the best among the Sanskrit Grammar books available today. The publication division runs two book stalls - one in the Vyjayanthi buildings in the East Nada and one inside the temple. The publication division now has an annual sales turnover of about 20 Lakhs.

Title of Publications Sreemad Bhagavatham (8 volumes) Sreemad Bhagavatham (Moolam)

Language Malayalam Malayalam

Price 1250.00 250.00

Sreemad Narayaneeyam (Vanamala) Sreemad Bhagavatham (Dasama Skandham) Krishnanattam (Krishna Geethi) Poonthana Sarvaswam Narayaneeyam Narayaneeyam Udhavopadesam Melpathurinte Vyakarana Prathibha PancharatnaKrithikal Kshethraradhana Ekadasaswadanam Sreekrishna Charitham Manipravalam Vishnu Sahasranama Stothram Jnanapana Harinama Keerthanam Guruvayur Kshethram oru Parswadarsanam Sreeman Narayaneeyam Bhashaganavivarthanam Sreekrishnakathamrutham Prakriya Sarvaswam

Malayalam Malayalam Malayalam Malayalam Hindi Sanskrit Malayalam Malayalam Malayalam Malayalam Malayalam Malayalam Malayalam Malayalam Malayalam Malayalam

120.00 60.00 100.00 50.00 100.00 18.50 30.00 15.00 12.00 7.00 7.00 3.50 0.50 0.50 0.50 2.00 50.00 350.00


200.00 20.00 100.00 15.00

Melpathurinte Bhavasilpangalilekku oru ethinottam Malayalam Sreemad Bhagavath Geetha Karmayogam Sreemad Bhagavath Geetha Vakyarthabodhini Thirumudimala Chembai Sangeethavum Jeevithavum Bharathasthree Malayalam Malayalam Malayalam Malayalam

50.00 25.00 300.00

Leelakalpadhrumam Guruvayupureshamahathmiam Shyamasundharan Geethopadhesham Guruvayur Bhulokavaikundam Malayalam Sreekrishnasandhyanamam Lalithasahasranamasthothram

Malayalam Malayalam Malayalam Malayalam

40.00 35.00 30.00 30.00

Hindi, English, Tamil 10.00 Malayalam Malayalam 2.50 1.50

According to a legend, Zamorin Manavedan requested Vilwamangalam Swamiyar to enable him to see Krishna in person. Swamiyar facilitated this request and Manavedan was able to see Krishna playing under an elanji tree. When Manavedan tried to embrace SreeKrishna, the lord disappeared leaving behind a peacock feather in Manaveda's hand. An idol of Krishna was made using the wood of the elanji tree. (The elanji tree stood at the place where now, the Kuttambalam stands, on the south-east side of the sanctum sanctorum of the Guruvayur Temple). Manaveda requested Vilwamangalam Swamiyar to enable him to see Krishna in person. Swamiyar facilitated this request and Manaveda was able to see Krishna playing under an elanji tree. When Manavedan tried to embrace Krishna, the lord disappeared leaving behind a peacock feather in Manaveda's hand. An idol of Krishna was made using the wood of the elanji tree. (The elanji tree stood at the place where now, the Kuttambalam stands, on the south-east side of the sanctum sanctorum of the Guruvayur Temple). After his darshan of the Lord Sri Guruvayurappan (Sreekrishna), Manadevan composed his classic "KRISHANAGITHI " in eight chapters, in the style of Jayadeva's (12th century Bengali poet ) GEETHAGOVINDAM. The peacock feather was incorporated in the headgear of Krishna. The headgear was found to suit the heads of all actors performing as Krishna. The actor also used to get 'possessed' on wearing this headgear. It is said that this headgear perished during the attack of the Kodungallur fort by the Dutch. Another version is that the headgear perished in the fire which engulfed the Zamorin Palace in 1766. In 1766, the Zamorin, attacked by Haider Ali, burned himself and the fort palace at Calicut. It is said that all wooden ornaments, crowns and masks used for Krishnanattam were destroyed in the fire. The Krishnanattam (a mosaic of folk and classic arts), a dance drama, has evolved from this Krishnagiti over 300 years ago. This work deals with the Krishna avatar - from Krishna's birth to his final emancipation from worldly life and ascension to heaven. It is presented in 8 episodes namely 'Avatharam', 'Kaliyamardhanam', 'Rasakreeda', 'Kamsavaddham'. 'Swayamvaram', 'Banayuddham', 'Vividha vadham', and "Swargarohana". These episodes are presented on eight consecutive nights. Since the last story is considered inauspicious, the "Avathara " always follows "Swargarohana" and it will be enacted on the ninth day.

To improve the art further and make it more spectator oriented, Koodiyattam, the oldest Sanskrit drama in Kerala was adopted to render the poem with 'Abhinayam' (drama gestures), and thus Krishnanattam evolved. It also used makeup and costumes of "Koodiyattam". The Krishnanattam is the only classical dance form in Kerala which makes use of colorful masks for evil characters. The mask usage is derived from folk rituals such as 'Thirayattam' and 'Theyyam' which is found in North Kerala. In Krishnanattam the actor does not narrate but gives attention to abhinayam (bodily gestures and expressions) and angya (hand gestures). Another artist does singing and thus there is a blend of sounds and sight. Kathakali which is now internationally known owes much to Koodiyattam and Krishnanattam. Kathakali adopted body movements and hand gestures from Koodiyattam. It borrowed the make up and costumes from Krishnanattam. The practice of having separate singers during play was also adopted from Krishnanattam instead. The Edakka, a soft and small drum, capable of deep resonance is used in Krishnanattam where as Chenda (Drum), which is a leading instrument in Kathakali. Suddha Maddhalam and cymbals, Gong, and Shankh (conch) and Thoppimaddalam are also used in Krishnanattam. Oral traditions say that only Namboodiri Brahmins, Iyer Brahmin, Ambalavasi (temple resident) or Nairs can be dancers in Krishnanattam. The songs are set to Carnatic music but they are rendered in the Sopana style. Moods in a song determine the mode of the melody, what the singers sing is communicated by the actors. Kerala's martial art , Kalaripayattu , has also definitely influenced Krishnanattam especially in the scenes of arguments and fights.

Krishnanattam is a performing art that combines both piety and art. It is based on a Sanskrit work named “Krishnagiti” written by the Manavedan Raja, a Zamorin king of Kozhikode (Calicut) 350 years ago. The work includes 8 phases of the life of Lord Krishna starting with the incarnation (Avatharam) and ending with the Ascension to Heaven (Swargarohanam). The salient feature of the ‘Krishnanattam’ is the rhythmic and beautiful dance. The musical instruments used in Krishnanattam are Chengila, Ilathalam (Cimbal), Sankhu (Conch), Sudhamadhalam and Thoppimadhalam. After Guruvayur Devaswom has taken over the art form Krishnanattam in 1958, the singers have started to use two more musical instruments namely ‘Sruthipetti’ and ‘Idakka’ besides the traditional ones. In Guruvayur temple the month of June is the vacation for Krishnanattam. July and August are months for rehearsal. Tuesday is weekly holiday. On all other days , ‘Krishnanattam’ is performed in the temple on demand of devotees. This traditional performing art of Kerala is getting popular and performed not only in other parts of Kerala, but also in many other countries of the world.

If the performance is made in the temple as part of worship, the devotees have to pay the fixed fee and for performance outside the temple, the devotees may pay the fixed charge for the performance. History of Krishnattam Under the rule of Zamorin, Calicut became a strong political entity in the 14th century. Prince Manaveda's famous ancestor, King Manavikrama ruled as Zamorin in the 15th century (1466 to 1471). The famous patinettara kavikal (eighteen and half poets) belonged to his royal court. Punam Namboodiri who wrote in Malayalam was the arakkavi (half poet)! Famous among the eighteen are Uddanda Sastrikal, Kakkasseri Damodara Bhattathiri (author of Vasumathi Manavikramam), Chennas Narayanan Namboodiri (author of Tantra Samucchayam) and the two Payyur Bhattathiris. Vasco da Gama arrived at Calicut in 1498. Beginning of 15th century, Zamorin became the leading force against Portuguese expansion in Kerala. Udayamperur Sunnahadoss in 1599. Dutch East India Company signed an agreement with Zamorin on 11th November 1604. Kunankurisu revolt in 1653. Manaveda completed Krishnagiti in 1654. Dutch captured Kollam in 1658 and Kochi in 1663. Legends According to the advice of Vilwamangalam, Manaveda composed Krishnagiti sitting before the idol.

(Dr. Sikora states that a Bronze image of Krishna is available at the Zamorin Temple of Tali, Kozhikode. The crown, ear ornaments and decorations such as the circular and floral patterns on the breast plate and hurdle of this image resembles those worn by Krishna in contemporary Krishnanattam. However, Dr. Sikora notes two major differences: (1) Absence of the figure's costume of skirt, side panels and long shawl with mirrors at each end. Instead of these, the figure's costume is a simple dhoti. (2) Absence of chutti on the figure's face). There is a story about the troupe performing Krishnanattam at Tripunithura. The King of Cochin ordered the troupe to play Kamsavadham. An elephant was brought to the stage to enact the role of Kuvalayapeedam. The actor performing as Krishna killed the elephant and went after the King. The King managed to escape somehow. It is said that after this incident, Krishnanattam was never performed South of Guruvayur. Dr. Sikora divides Krishnanattam history into four eras: The time of Zamorins, The time of Transition, The time at Guruvayur Temple under the Management of A.C.G. Raja and recent times. Dr. Sikora notes that evidence is available for the existence of Krishnanattam in some form at least by 1694 and it included dance by 1780. No details are available on the creators of this art, no audiovisual concept of its first production and no details of how the art developed. Under the Management of A.C.G. Raja, the troupe, for the first time performed outside Kerala and abroad (Europe and U.S.A.).

During the third era, many changes took place in various aspects of Krishnanattam. These are documented in the book by Sikora. A documentary film was made on Krishnanattam by Adoor Gopalakrishnan. Mankada Ravi Varma was the cinematographer. P.C.C. Elayath took charge as the Superintendent of Kalanilayam in 1983. He introduced a microphone for the singers. An excellent portrayal of Krishnanattam then and now is provided by retired Krishnanattam Asan, K. Velayudhan Nair.

The Devaswom maintains a unique elephant sanctuary, the only one of its kind in the World. It has 51 elephants now.

These jumbos are the offerings of the devotees to the Lord.

A large number of

pilgrims and tourists (foreigners also) visit this fascinating spot every day. In this vast compound, there are road facilities for pilgrims and tourists to go around. The present elephant sanctuary is in Punnathur Kotta about 3 kms north of Guruvayur temple. Punnathur

Kotta is the ancient palace of the Punnathur Rajas, now in the possession of the Devaswom. There is also an ancient temple where Lord Siva and Bhagavathy are worshipped. It is a 10 acre compound which Devaswom purchased in 1975, which was under receiver rule of Trichur sub court. Till that time elephants were kept in this Kovilakam compound (present Sreevalsam) to the south of the temple.

All the elephants were shifted to the Punnathur Kotta in a grant procession lead by Gajarajan Kesavan, all the

elephants from the

Kovilakam marched to Punnathur Kotta on 1975 June 25.

Gajarajan Guruvayur Kesavan Many elephants of Guruvayur have become the part of history. The sweet memories of Gajarajan Kesavan - literally the king of all Elephants- still enthrall the hearts of the elephant lovers worldwide. The mammoth physique, his intelligence and devotion to the Lord were very famous. Punnathurkotta was once the palace of a local ruler, but the palace grounds are now used to house the elephants

belonging to the Guruvayur temple, and has been renamed Anakkotta (meaning "Elephant Fort"). There were 86 elephants housed there. This facility is also used to train the elephants to serve Lord Krishna as well as participate in many festivals that occur throughout the year. The oldest elephant is

around 82 years of age and is called 'Ramachandran'. The rituals of


(Worshipping Elephants) and Anayoottu (Feeding Elephants) are observed here, as an offering to Lord Ganesha. The legendary elephant "Guruvayur Kesavan" was housed here. The compound also has a naalu kettu, a traditional rectangular home with a central courtyard, which belonged to the Punnathur Raja. It is poorly maintained and

presently houses a training school for contains a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Bhagavathy.

Papan’s (Mahout). This complex also

The visiting hours are 8.00 AM to 6.00 PM. The entry fees are Rs. 5/- per adult & Rs. 1/- for Children. An extra Rs. 25/- is charged for to use a camera and Rs. 1000/- inside the complex.

Gajarajan Guruvayoor Kesavan (October 24, 1904 - December 2, 1976) is perhaps the most famous and celebrated Elephant of Kerala, South India. Kesavan was donated to the Guruvayoor Hindu temple by the royal family of Nilambur in 1916. It is a common Hindu custom in Kerala to donate elephants to the deity of the temple as an offering, Guruvayur temple have a very good facilities to maintain all of these elephants now totaling 60 in number at Punnathurkotta. Standing over 3.2 meters tall, Kesavan was known for his devout behavior. Kesavan died on "Guruvayur Ekadasi," considered a very auspicious day. He fasted for the entire day and dropped down facing the direction of the temple with his trunk raised as a mark of prostration. The anniversary of his death is still celebrated in Guruvayur. Many elephants line up before the statue and the chief elephant garlands it. Kesavan was conferred the unique title "Gajarajan" (Elephant King), by the Guruvayoor Devaswom. The Guruvayoor Devaswom erected a life-size statue of Kesavan in its precincts as tribute to the services he rendered to the presiding deity of the temple. His tusks, along with a majestic portrait of the elephant, can be still seen adorning the entrance to the main temple enclosure. His life is the subject of a Malayalam feature film which bears his name. Famous elephants of Sree Guruvayurappan

Padmanabhan | Kesavan | Lakshmi

Vrindavanam Estate is a 100-acre estate at Vengad in Malapuram District, about 55 Kilometers from Guruvayur

under the possession of Devaswom This is known as Vrindavanam Estate.

The estate

has cultivation of coconuts, cashew trees etc. along with palm and other vegetation, which provides not only cash crops but also feed for the temple elephants and cattle.

The cattle offered to Guruvayurappan by his devotees are reared in Gokulam gosala (cattle shed) sprawling in 25 acres inside the Vrindavanam estate. The cowsheds provide rest and the ponds supply clean water to the cattle kept in the gosala. At present there are about 550 cows in the estate

Bookstalls are situated in Room.No.1, Vaijayanthi Building and in the Western Pathayapura building. In addition to Devaswom publications spiritual and religious books are available in the bookstalls. Working hours: From 5 am to 9 pm

The Religious Books Library is in the Eastern Block of the Sathram. Books in Sanskrit, Malayalam, English, Hindi, Tamil etc are available here. Rare manuscripts inscribed in palm leaf and books for clarifying doubts are specialties of the library. It is being utilized by researchers and scholars. The reading room attached to the library supplies dailies, weeklies and monthlies in various languages.

The school imparts training in music instruments like Chenda, Thakil, Maddalam, Thimila, Kombu, Kurumkuzhal, Nadaswaram and Ashtapathi.Duration of the course is three years. Students are provided with the facility of formal education in Standard 8,9 and10. They are also given stipend and accommodation. The method of training is “Gurukula”(directly trained under a mentor)

Gurukula education in mural study has been functional since 1989. National Diploma is awarded to students on successful completion of training for 5 years. Students are given stipend. At present the center is functioning in the Sathram Canteen Block.

The Devaswom Museum is in the Devaswom Office Annex below the Public Relations Office. The public can enjoy the sight of rare articles offered to Guruvayurappan by devotees. No entry fee. Working hours: 8 am to 8 pm.

The medical center was opened in 1963 as a free dispensary. The service of expert doctors has been made available since1989. Approximately 250 patients avail free medical service every day. Besides free medical care free food is also provided to the inmates of Municipality Orphanage, Kasthurba Balika Sadanam, destitute and other patients. E.E.G, E.C.G and operation theatre facilities are available. Ambulance service is provided round the clock at subsidized rate. Besides the Pediatrics, E.N.T, Dermatology and Orthopedic sections, free service is rendered by Neurologist, Physician, Gastroenterologist, Ophthalmologist and Audiologist. Costly medicines offered to Guruvayurappan by companies and individuals are supplied free of cost from the Pharmacy. Devotees willing to contribute to the medical center may contact the Superintendent. (Phone.2556620)

The Melpathur Memorial Ayurvedic Hospital was opened in 2000. The service of expert physicians is available here. Pharmaceuticals and individuals offer medicines to the temple and the medicines are supplied free of cost to the patients. A large number of patients are given free treatment at the hospital.

The Guruvayur Devaswom runs Sree Krishna College, Sree Krishna Higher Secondary School and an English Medium School.

It is a building complex of four residential flats near the Thaluk hospital and Thaluk office in Alathur village of Palakkad district.


The Poonthanam Temple and Illam (residential house) are situated on Perinthalmanna – Nilambur route, 68 kms away from the Guruvayur Temple, in Malappuram district. The prime deity of the temple is Mahavishnu. Ashtamirohini and Vidyarambham are considered very auspicious in the temple. Poonthanam day is celebrated in a grand manner in this place on the Aswathi of Kumbha.

The Devaswom provides several amenities for the comfortable stay of pilgrims. The devotees can reserve the rooms in advance. For this, full room rent and reservation charges should be sent to The Administrator, Guruvayur Devaswom, Guruvayur - 680101. by Demand Draft or Money Order well in advance. Full information about the reservation should be given along with the Demand Draft or Money Order.

The Devaswom Sathram located a little away from the Eastern Gopuram has 82 rooms with attached bath and 27 rooms with common bath. There are four blocks in the Sathram, namely South Block, East Block, TC Block and Canteen Block.

KOUSTHUBHAM REST HOUSE (PHONE NO: 0487 2556537, FAX: 04872554844)
The Kousthubhamn rest house is situated adjacent to the sathram building.


Rooms 2 Bed Non A/c 4 Bed Non A/c 6 Bed Non A/c

No. of Persons Adults 2 + Children's 2 Adults 4 + Children's 2 Adults 6 + Children's 2 Adults 2 + Children's 2









2 Bed A/c



Dormitory Hall

50 Persons

2000 ( 6 pm to 6 am ) Extra Hours 750/Hour

Reservation Charge: `20/Reservation Charge of Dormitory Hall: `100/*Extra Room (A/C Room `.50/- and Non A/C room `.30/-)

PANCHAJANYAM REST HOUSE (PHONE NO: 0487 2556535, FAX: 04872554844)
The Panchajanyam rest house is situated a bit away to the south side of the east gopuram. The rates are as follow



No. of Persons Adults 5 + Children's 2 Adults 3 + Children's 2

Rate 1000 + Tax-Caution Deposit 500 750 + Tax-Caution Deposit 500 500 - Caution Deposit 300 350 - Caution Deposit 300


5 Bed A/c


3 Bed A/c


5 Bed Non Adults 5 + A/c Children's 2 3 Bed Non Adults 3 + A/c Children's 2


• Extra Persons (A/c Room Rs. 50/- and Non A/c Rooms Rs.30/-) (No Reservation for A/C Rooms)

This guest house is located very near the south side of the temple's east gopuram. There are six air conditioned 2 bedded suits available here. There is a big lobby in front of the guest house.

Suite No 1,2,3,4 5 6

Rent 1400 + Tax 1000 + Tax 800 + Tax

Service Charges for 2 Hours 300 200 150

* Extra Persons ( A/c Room Rs. 50/- and Non A/c Rooms Rs.30/** No booking facility available for Sreevalsam guest house

1 0 to 7 Days Cancellation not allowed 10% of the Total Amount + Service Charges will be deducted

2 Above 7 days

Devaswom has a well-equipped religious library with a wide range of books on religion, philosophy, art and culture. There are hundreds of rare palm-leaf manuscripts in the reference section. A wide variety of journals and most of the leading newspapers are available in the reading room attached to the library. The library is functioning in the eastern block of Sathram building. It functions on all days except Sundays from 8.00am to 8.00pm.

New Block was formed in 1975. Sri. Puthur Unnikrishnan was the first librarian. Not only religious books, but wide range of books on Science, Biography, Culture, Literature, Philosophy, Art, History, Geography and Fiction both in English and Malayalam Literature also available. There is a wide collection of Poetry in Malayalam and Children’s Literature. Books in Sanskrit and Hindi are also available.

13 leading newspapers both in English and Malayalam are available in reading room. Besides these, 35 leading weeklies and monthly publications are also available. Both outsiders and Devaswom staff members have membership in the library. Collection of books comes up to 20000. Many college and school going students use the reference section for their project preparation. Now library is planning to have automation facility. Going to start CAS and SDI services so as to raise the library to an Information Center.

The Religious Books Library is in the Eastern Block of the Sathram. Books in Sanskrit, Malayalam, English, Hindi, Tamil etc are available here. Rare manuscripts inscribed in palm leaf and books for clarifying doubts are specialties of the library. It is being utilized by researchers and scholars. The reading room attached to the library supplies dailies, weeklies and monthlies in various languages.


There is a museum in the office

Annex building at East nada. Many rare offerings by devotees to the

Lord are exhibited here. The museum is kept open from 8.00 am to 8.00pm on all days except Tuesdays and other holydays.

The spacious auditorium on the right side of the East Gopuram commemorates the great saint poet Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri, who worshipped Lord Guruvayoorappan by composing superb devotional classic Narayaneeyam and miraculously recovered from an acute affliction of paralysis. Devotional functions such as spiritual


performance of traditional forms, classical music and symposia on cultural

and spiritual topics are held here. The auditorium has a spacious stage with attached green room. This hall accommodates more than 2000 people. the auditorium is given on rental for functions that are offered to LORD. In connection with the Ashtami Rohini (August - September), the birthday of Lord Krishna, the Sapthaham is conducted in such a way that the chapter of Krishna's birth (Avatharam) is recited on the Ashtami Rohini day. The spiritual discourses are held during Vaisakha month (April - May), Ramayana Masam (July – August or karkidaka masam in Malayalam calendar) and Mandala Pooja(November - December) in the Melpathur Auditorium.

Sl.No 1

Programme Dance program

Time 1.5 hrs

Rate 500

10 pm to 6 am 1250 2 Kathakali 6 pm to 6 am 1500

6am to 12noon (for each 3 hrs) 250 3 Sangeethakacheri 4:30pm to 500 10:30pm (for each 1.5 hrs) 6am to 12noon




Guruvayur Devaswom has established a fully centralized A/C hall named "Poonthanam Auditorium" with all modern


which will be given on rental for marriage/cultural

programs. the hall dedicated for the memory of great poet Poonthanam author of jnanappana and Guruvayur satyagraha.


Rooms 2 Bed Non A/C Room





2 3

2 Bed A/C Room Dormitory Hall From 5pm to next day 3pm

725 5750

57600 23000 17250


Hall+ Dormitory Hall+3 Rooms

From 9am to 5pm From 5pm to 10 pm


Dining Hall


Sl.No 1 2 Programme Sapthaham Akhandanamam Time 7 days- 6pm to 10pm 1 day- 5am to 5pm Rate 1250 250

Devaswom has provided parking facility on the East Nada and South Nada for the convenience of the devotees. The compound in front of the Kousthubham Rest House is given for parking at a nominal rate at East Nada. On the South Nada, the parking area of the Pay and Use toilet near the Panchajanyam Rest House is also provided for parking of vehicles.

On the eastern side of the temple tank there is a comfort station which is functioning round

the clock here. Pilgrims who arrive at odd hours and those who do not find or require immediate lodging/accommodation, can keep their luggage at a nominal fee. They can use the lavatories and bathrooms. Also there are lavatories on the north and south corners away from the Eastern Gopuram and Pay and Use Toilets at South Nada near Panchajanyam Rest House for the use of pilgrims. Special facilities for keeping the foot-wear and other articles are provided near the east and west side of the temple.

Devaswom has a medical center and an Ayurvedic hospital providing free checkup (except laboratory) and medicine.

There is a medical center to the south of the temple which provides medical treatment at a nominal cost. This is a 75 bedded hospital with facilities like ECG, X-ray etc. The Ayurvedic Hospital near the KSRTC Bus stand named after Shri. Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri. (Melpathur Memorial Ayurvedic Hospital) gives free treatment. The Devaswom spends about Rs.30 lakhs for the medicines every year apart from other expenses.

Devaswom is conducting free Prasada Oottu in the oottupura inside the temple for the devotees every day. It starts at 10.30 am in the morning. Two canteens are functioning in the Rest houses - Kousthubham and Panchajanyam.

Guruvayur temple can be reached by road and railway. Nearest Airport is Cochin International Airport.



East Nada -Elite Hotel, Rugmini Regency, Ramakrishna Lunch home, RVK Residency North Nada - Govind Regency (only rooms) Near Temple Pond – Hotel Vysakham International

Devaswom office
Please dial any of the below mentioned P.B.X. Telephone Numbers (prefix code +91 487 if needed) 255 6335, 255 6347, 255 6365, 255 6538, 255 6670, 255 6672, 2555799, 2556346 Fax Number +91 487 255 4844 Now dial the required extension number Reception 100,199

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Basic contents of this document created on Aug 12, 2011 is based on contents from website ,official website of Guruvayur temple .
The amenities, phone numbers, fees, rates and charges mentioned in document are subject to changes. So please check the official website for updated details or contact respective authority.

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