OM NAMO NARAYANAYA: Twenty eight kilo meters away from the town of Thrissur, there is a sacred small town called Guruvayur, which became internationally famous because of its temple and its miraculous deity. Having built 5000 years ago, the temple is so overcrowded that darshan becomes hardly a reality except on Tuesdays and Fridays. Not that there are no crowds but comparatively it’s less on those days as those are auspicious days for devotees to visit Goddess Temples. The deity is Lord Vishnu in its Chathurbahu (four arms) form, widely called Guruvayarappan,but people believe and worship the deity as Lord Krishna, the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu. According to legends, when the city of Dwarka was destroyed by flood,Lord Krishna asked Vayu Deva and Guru Brahaspathi to take his idol and place it in an appropriate place, that’s how this town, where they placed it, got its name as Guruvayupuram. The idol was worshipped by Rukmini, the princess of Dwarka and Krishna’s first wife, which she built of Anjana Stone(of which collyrium is made). One of the huge temples in India and also one of the wealthiest, it attracts millions of people across the globe, though entry inside the temple is restricted to only Hindus.
Darshan in the early morning(widely called as Nairmalyam) usually begins as early as 3 a.m. everyday. The idol which is seen with decorations of the previous night, is believed to be yet another auspicious sight. Devotees believe this darshan would wipe of all the sins of a human. While leaving the temple premises by night, around 8.30 or 9 p.m. one can observe the queue of devotees for Nairmalyam pooja. I was shell shocked to see very old ladies chanting Harinamakeerthanam,(hymns of Lord Vishnu)patiently waiting and preparing for early morning bath before getting into the temple. I felt so belittled in front of their patience and devotion. Getting into the temple is not so easy, as I mentioned earlier. There are a number of control barricades and guardrails. In between, for short breaks the temple closes and the wait is made too long. Devotees are given water and some energy drinks by staff maintained exclusively for maintenance. There is a bit of entertainment also for those stranded in the queue there, as musical or classical dance concerts are staged without long breaks, in Melpathoor Auditorium. Senior citizens are given direct entry.
Those who visit the temple without the knowledge of the do’s and don’ts will have a tough time as the dress code is strict and counters for the receipt of sevas(offerings)are overcrowded. As Lord Krishna remain famished to have butter, sugar and kheer(palpayasam, the aroma of which can rejuvenate your lost hunger), devotees make it a point to get those sevas done. When you enter through the eastern entrance from where the entry of vehicles are not allowed, the smell of jasmine flowers welcome you with a number of sweet and snack vendors calling you to their side. Don’t forget to buy one or two packets of Papad from them, papads as huge as you and as tiny as a coin are available🤩 just to muse you. When you finish darshan everywhere else, there’s a passage which takes you to the temple courtyard and to the pond full of friendly, flippy fishes. The flight of steps leading to the pond are slippery too. But its residents would welcome each of their guests by kissing their feet.
From Thrissur it takes hardly 45 minutes to reach the temple, yes we’re neighbours! The route is one of the fastest, without much traffic. The only unmanageable element is the raining crowd! When one enters the Guruvayur town, towards the east, there’s a huge statue of an Eagle, under a banyan tree which would welcome anyone to the temple premises. Garud(eagle) is believed to be Lord Vishnu’s pet on which he travels.
I am extremely sorry if some of the bloggers think I am using this platform to speak of region or religion. Nothing so, India is a country to be explored and full of wonders. My purpose is to familiarise some of it which I know, if you are interested to know.