Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple
Perhaps the most famous temple in Kerala and a very important place of pilgrimage and for asking the intercession of Lord Krishna. Also known as Guravayur Devaswom
Home of Sri Krishna Temple. 32 km away. The temple is very famous and the devotees come here from far away. Some days hours warrant in queue to reach the sanctum due to bulging devotees. During night thousands of oil-lamps lit around the temple and a dance form of Kerala, Krishnattom, kick-starts. The devotees believe that the presence in the precincts of the temple wards off the evils. Here there is peculiar system of offering called ‘Thulabharam’. A devotee can offer anything from banana, jaggery, sugar, coconut, flower to gold or diamond equal to his body weight. The devotee sits in one side of the balance and in the other side the offering material fills till the balance equalizes. This is Thulabharam. The solemnization of wedding is an up-keep tradition here. In some days the solemnization crosses 150 marks. The architectural beauty of the temple is commentable. Unfortunately, in Kerala, only Hindus are allowed to enter the temples. The more enlightened and forward looking demand entry for all in all temples. Hope the things will change.
Ekadassi at Sru Krishna Temple, Guruvayur: The Hindus in general consider Ekadasi a very auspicious day. Of the 24 Ekadasis in a year, the Shukla Paksha Ekadasi which falls in the Malayalam month Vrischikam (November/December) is observed as Guruvayur Ekadasi. This day is also observed as the Prathishta Dinam (installation day) of the temple. Though the temple is known as Sri Krishna temple, the idol made of Pathalanjana Sila, installed at the Sreekovil (sanctum sanctorum), is of Lord Mahavishnu. The idol is installed at the temple by Lord Guru and Lord Vayu on the Ekadasi day, it is believed. The name of the place, Guruvayur, is thus emerged from the Lfords Guru and Vayu. Guruvayur is considerefd the Bhooloka VaikuntaM, thre worldly abode of Lord Mahavishnu. Guruvayur Ekadasi is also known as Bhooloka Vaikunta Ekadasi and it is said that devotees who observe perfect vritham (fast) on Ekadasi day attain moksha and reach Lord Vishnu. It is believed that on this day Lord Krishna revealed the Viswaroopam to Arjuna and conveyed the Bhagvat Gita to him. So the day is also celebrated as Gita dinam here.
It was on this day that Lord Krishna performed Govardha yajna and lifted the mountain to rescue the residents of Gokulam from the anger of Lord Indra. On the Ekadasi day, it is therefore believed, Indra would come with Kamadhenu and offer his wealth to the Lord and seek his blessings. It is also believed that Adi Sankaracharya during his voyage came to the temple on Ekadasi day and scheduled the elaborate poojas of the temple. Even long before the Temple Entry Proclamation, all Hindus irrespective of caste, creed and colour, were allowed to enter the temple on Ekadasi day (prior to the Temple Entry Proclamation only upper caste Hindus were allowed to enter the temples thoughout Kerala).
The Ekadasi celebrations begin with 31 Ekadasi Vilakku. Kazhcha shivelis will be conducted with caparisoned elephants accompanied by panchavadhyam, melam, nagaswaram and vilakku pradikshan at night. During the Vilakku Pradikshan, the thidambu of the deity will be carried on top of the elephant in a procession accompanied by idakka (temple percussion instrument). The devotees light up thousands of lamps around the Naalambalam. The Vilakku is offered to the Lord by various individuals, institutions and organizations. Among the 31 vilakkukal, the Astami, Navami, Dasami and Ekadasai Vilakkukal are very auspicious. The ‘swamakolam’ of the deity will be carried on an elephant, Guruvayur Padmanabhan, during the Vilakku Ezhunnellippu. The Ekadasi vilakku and Udayashthamana poojas on Ekadasi are offered to Lord Sri Krishna (more commonly known as Sri Guruvaurappan) by the Devaswom itself.
Thousands observe Ekadasi Vridham and end the fasting by drinking thulasitheertham. The vritham concludes with the dwadasi panam samarpanam on dwadasi day. All residents of the town, irrespective of religion, join the celebrations which is an indication of the communal harmony existing here. The town is illuminated sporadicallyduring the festival. The Chembai Sangeetholsavam in memory of Chembai Vaidynatha Bhagavathar is held in connection with the Guruvayar Ekadasi in which hundreds of musicians participate. This music festival is the largest congregation of musicians in the country. The special Pancharatna Keerthalapanam is held on the Dasami day. Gajarajan Kesavan who died during an Ekadasi day is also commemorated during Ekadasi festival. On Dasami day the elephants owned by the temple pay t ribute to the statue of departed highly obedient giant elephant, Kesavan. And with this, the celebrations end.