Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple

Guruvayur, the abode of Lord Sree Guruvayurappan - Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple Guruvayur is dedicated to  Guruvayurappan a form of the revered deity  of Lord Vishnu located in the town of Guruvayur 29 kms from Thrissur in Kerala . It is one of the most important places of worship for Hindus in Kerala and is often referred to as Bhuloka Vaikunta (Holy Abode of Vishnu on Earth).The temple is therefore also called Guruvayur Sri Krishna temple. The Guruvayoor form of Lord Vishnu has four arms with one carrying the conch Panchajanya, another carrying the discus Sudarshana Chakra, the third one carrying the mace Kaumodaki and the last one holding a lotus with a Holy basil garland.

The Srikovil (sanctum) is square in shape. The Lord, as seen in the sanctum, is believed to have given darshan in this particular form to Vasudeva and Devaki at the time of His birth and to Arjuna during the Kurukshetra battle. The gracefully decorated little idol of Sri Krishna with Shanku, Chakra, Gadha and Lotus in His hands is awe-inspiring. The constant chantings of the Lord's names `Narayana' and `Guruvayurappa' fill the spiritual atmosphere around the sanctum.

The main entrance is from the Eastern Nada. The devotees first offer worship to the gold-plated Dwajasthambha (flagmast), which is nearly 108 feet (33.5 metres) high, in the Chuttambala (outer corridor). It is made of a rare root known as Kuruthotti. Here is a nearly 23 feet (7 metres) tall Deepa Sthamba (ornamental brass oil lamp) with 13 circular receptacles. It's a spectacle to be seen when lit at night. The spacious courtyard of the temple is called Koothambalam. There are separate shrines for Maha Ganapathi, Dharma Shastha and Durga on the corridors. Guruvayur is one of the most popular pilgrimage centre in Kerala.

History Of Temple
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.

Temple timings - The temple opens at 3 am for the Nirmalaya Darshan, which is considered very auspicious. Devotees queue up for this rare darshan from 2 am onwards. This is followed by several rituals like Shankabhishekams and Alankara of the Lord as Bala Gopala and Vishnu from 4.30 am onwards. The temple remains open till 12 noon. A queue system is followed for darshan. For the evening pujas, the temple reopens at 4.30 pm and the rituals and darshan go on till 8 pm. The Seevili ritual at night is very fascinating when three elephants carrying Lord Krishna's image go round the shrine in a procession.