Guruvayur is a pious pilgrimage town in the Thrissur district of God’s Own Country. Also known as the ‘Dwarka of South’, this scenic town is the home to the sacred Guruvayur Shri Krishna Temple. Revered as the fourth largest temple in the country, this temple has a unique trait. Unlike most of the temples in Kerala, it is built in the form of a typical Malabar-styled house. Even the architecture is not at all grand, but follows the simple layout.
Legends have it that Vayu Deva and Brhaspathi brought the stature of Lord Krishna from Dwarka on the Lord’s wish, and installed it in Guruvayur. Since then, this town has become a prominent pilgrimage centre for the followers of Lord Krishna. The temple is also believed to be a pious destination to tie the nuptial bonds; every year, thousands of couple reach out to Guruvayur Shri Krishna Temple to tie the eternal bond!
How to Reach Guruvayur
Guruvayur has a well-sorted network of roads that connects it to all the corners of Kerala. If you are planning to reach Guruvayur by road, you can take the state-run buses from all the major cities in God’s Own Country or opt for private transportations. Also, since the local bus stand is only a stone’s throw away from the temple, you would not find any difficulty in reaching the destination.
Guruvayur has its own railway station which is linked with the Madras-Mangalore train line. To reach Guruvayur by train, visitors can also board local trains plying in and outward from Kochi, Trivandrum, and other popular cities in Kerala.
Kochi International Airport is the nearest airport to reach Guruvayur by air. The airport is around 90km away from the temple town, and has enough of road transport options to reach Guruvayur by road.
Best Time to Visit Guruvayur:
Winter (October – February) – Best Time: October to February is considered as the best time to visit Guruvayur. During this period the region experiences a lower moderate temperature and proves to be an ideal time for various tourist activities.
Summer (March – May) – Good Time: This may not the best time to visit Guruvayur, but it is the peak time for the devotees to visit the Guruvayur Shri Krishna Temple and seek blessings from the Lord. Since the town gets crowded, hotel prices and other tourism cost spikes up during the summer making it a good-to-go time to visit Guruvayur.
Monsoon (June – September) – Good Time: Kerala is much known for its colourful cultures and festivals; especially Onam. Monsoon is the time when the entire state unites as one, and celebrates this holy festival with high spirit and vigour. Even though the region receives adequate amount of rainfall, monsoon still can be called as a good time to visit Guruvayur.
Places to Visit aroundGuruvayur:
Guruvayur Shri Krishna Temple: If you are planning to visit Guruvayur, you simply cannot miss this pious temple. The most prominent landmark of the temple town it is among the most devout pilgrimage in the country.
Punnathurkotta Elephant Palace: A palace for the giant elephants, this complex has around 65 elephants that are assigned to the Guruvayur Shri Krishna Temple. Mainly an elephant-care centre, this is the place where the inhabitants are taken care, fed, and trained to take out processions during the temple ceremonies.
Mammiyoor Shiva Temple: With Lord Shiva as the presiding deity, this sacred temple is at a close hand to the Guruvayur Shri Krishna Temple. A visit to this temple is compulsory to complete any pilgrimage in Guruvayur.
Institute of Mural Painting: This is the in fact the best place to learn more about the colourful cultures of Kerala through mural paintings. Initiated in 1989, it offers various courses in mural painting, sculpture, arts, and aesthetics.
Parthasarthy Temple: On a visit to this holy establishment, visitors can witness Lord Krishna depicting Bhagwat Gita to Arjuna while seated on a chariot. Parthasarthy Temple is located around 1km from the much acclaimed Guruvayur Shri Krishna Temple.
ThiruVenkatachalapathy Temple: Lord Balaji, who is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is worshipped here as the main deity. It also has other Gods within the main complex.
Harikanyaka Temple: A temple preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India, Harikanyaka Temple worships Lord Vishnu in a virgin form. Built by Perumthachan, it is a must visit religious spot in Guruvayur.
VallabhattaKalari:In addition to the natural beauty and appeal, Kerala is also known for its varied martial arts form. On a visit to VallabhattaKalari, visitors can have a lively glimpse of how these art forms are practised.
Devaswom Museum: Unlike other museums, Devaswom Museum houses a wide collection of temple antiques, sacred materials, folk musical instruments, mural paintings, valuable temple jewelleries, and other such belongings. Unique and different, it also has collections of folk arts and forms.
Festivals in Guruvayur:
Guruvayur Ekadasi: This holy festival is celebrated on the eleventh day of ‘VrishchikaEkadasi’ (or SuklaPaksha). Following the many different rituals, the temple also conducts a magnificent elephant procession to the Parthasarathi Temple from the complex of Shri Krishna
Temple. The festival concludes with an enthralling elephant competition.
ChembaiSangeetholsavam: With a history of around 60 years, this music festival has become a synonym to Guruvayur now. During the eve, around 2000-3000 musicians throng this place to participate in the 12-15 days’ long Carnatic music fest.
Hotels around Guruvayur:
Though a quaint and tiny temple town, Guruvayur is dotted with a striking range of hotels and other stay options. Visitors here, would find hotels from within different budget groups and offering a sorted list of amenities and facilities.