Guruvayur is called as the Bhooloka Vaikuntam as here resides Vishnu as Guruvayurappan, an idol believed to have been worshipped by Lord Krishna Himself. Lord Guruvayurapan ,thus got His name as the idol here was installed by Guru (Jupiter) and Vayu (the God of wind) .Inside the temple right in front of the sanctum is the dwajasthambham . There is no electrical illumination inside the sanctum and the divine idol of Lord can be viewed only with the bright glow of oil lamps and the effulgence emanating from the sanctum cannot be expressed in words.
A certain dress code is followed in this temple and it is mandatory for men to wear dhoti and for women sari or salwar. Pilgrims queue up patiently for a darshan of their dear God, chanting Lord's name 'Om Namo Narayanaya' which itself is a great experience and the atmosphere gets charged with devotion and totally transports one to a realm of inner peace and harmony .
There are sub shrines for Ganapathi, Ayyapa, Edatharigathu Bhagavathy. There is a magnificent idol of Vishnu reclining on his serpent Aadisesha with consort Lakshmi. There are wonderful paintings on the walls of the sanctum and all the pillars have beautifully sculpted scenes from Krishnavatara .
The temple owns quite a lot of elephants and many are offerings from the devotees to their dear God as Guruvayurappan is believed to be a lover of elephants . There are Seevelis (Procession carrying idol on top of elepahnt) both in the morning and late in the night just before the temple closes. I was fortunate enough to witness the kazhcha Seeveli in the evening and there were four caparisoned elephants for the same.The procession was regal with colorful parasols, aalavatom ,venchamaram and panchavadayam ( percussion instruments), Every year the temple conducts an elephants' race and the elephant which wins the race gets the right to carry the idol of Lord for Seeveli for the rest of the year. This interesting spectacle is a huge crowd puller attracting hordes of devotees albeit a bit scary for one who is not habituated to see elephants at such close quarters.
Photography is prohibited inside the temple.
Rudra theertham and Mammiyur temple:
The water tank outside the temple is very divine and it is believed that Lord Siva performed penance here and it is known as Rudra theertham. When Guru and Vayu were searching for an ideal place for the consecration of Vishnu's idol, Lord Siva allowed them to install it on the banks of Rudra teertham and He himself moved to a place where we see the present Mammiyur Mahadeva temple which is just a kilometre from the Guruvayur temple. It is believed that a trip to Guruvayur is not complete , if one does not visit Mammiyur temple.This temple has Lord Siva as the main deity and there are shrines for Parvati and Vishnu , Ganapati, Muruga and Ayyapa.
Guruvayur Temple timings 3 am - 1 Pm. 4 Pm- 8.30 pm.
How to reach- This temple town is 34 Kms from the cultural capital of Kerala , Trichur . There are excellent accommodation facilities in Guruvayur itself both set up by the temple and Government. There are many private hotels too. We stayed in hotel Nandini Tourist Home on Eastern side of the temple as it was just walkable distance from the temple.
Private as well as State transport buses ply to this small town.
Nedumbassery is the nearest airport and Trichur is the nearest rail head. There is a railway station in Guruvayur itself.