Gurvayoor is one of the most sacred and important pilgrim towns in India. This temple-town is extremely famous for its large Sree Krishna Temple, believed to one of the 108 most divine Vishnu temples of world. The town is located in Thrissur district, nearly 82 km from Kochi. The temple is regarded as Bhooloka-Vaikuntam or Earthly abode of Lord Vishnu. Thus the spirituality regains to the core in the town.
The East Nada gate of Guruvayoor Temple
Guruvayoor Temple is India's 3rd largest temple in terms of number of pilgrims attracting more than 7 millions devotees annually. The presiding deity is Lord Vishnu, in form of Sree Krishna (8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu). Hindu mythology says the Lord Krishna used to worship an idol of Lord Vishnu at his palace in legendary Dwarka island, which was first worshipped by his parents. However Krishna knew that, soon after he leaves this material world to his Vaikunta Dhama, his palace island would wash into seas. He instructed the Deva Guru (Heavenly Saint) Brihaspati and Vayu Deva (Wind God) to take his favourite idol, once Dwarka gets submerged and place it in some other place, where devotees can worship. As instructed by Lord, Guru and Vayu took away the idol, when Dwarka was sinking and was hunting a place to the idol. Soon they would a sacred place where they wished to place the idol. However a Shiva temple existed in that area, making it difficult to place the idol nearby. Soon on Guru's invocation, Lord Shiva appeared and agreed to move his temple from the sacred place, to install the divine idol. As Guru and Vayu placed the idol and errected a temple in its honour, the place came to known as Guruvayoor and the deity came to be knew as Guruvayoorappan.
A large Shiva temple exists at Mammiyur, within a kilometer from the main temple, where the original Shiva temple relocated.
Guruvayur was the main royal temple under Kozhikode's Zamorin times. After annexation of Malabar into British presidency, the temple became part a private trust, headed by titular Zamorin ruler and Chief Priest of temple, who were known for their rigid orthodoxies. This resulted in rigid and cruel discrimination based on caste and creed. In 1930s, calls for equality and social reformation started across Kerala and large number of congressmen assembled at Temple gate protesting against the regime of caste discrimination for temple entry, which resulted in closure of temple in 1931. The temple soon was stormed by a group of revolutionaries ending the centuries old practice of social discrimination. Soon the Madras Presidency nationalized the temple and agreed to allow people of all castes and creed within Hindu fold, to enter the temple, which started the social renaissance in Kerala's caste ridden society of 1930s. Today, the temple is under control of Government of Kerala, managed under Guruvayur Devasom (a semi-constitutional temple trustee body). Non-Hindus are strictly debarred and several rigid dress code is in place.
Like elsewhere in Kerala, Malayalam is the main language, while English is widely understood. Being a leading pilgrim center, other languages particularly Tamil and Hindi are understood. Most of the public signages are written in Malayalam, English and Hindi, while Guruvayur Devaswom also writes most of the public information in all the South Indian languages apart from Hindi. Public announcements at the temple, are normally made in Malayalam.
With large confluence of people from different regions, one can find people speaking multiple Indian languages.
The nearest airport is Cochin International Airport located at Kochi (87 km). Alternatively, passengers can use Calicut International Airport located at Kozhikode, located about 100 kms or Coimbatore Airport which is 110 kms away. A large helipad at Guruvayur, enables helicopter transportation from Cochin and Kozhikode airport. An aerodrome and heliport is under consideration at Guruvayur, to cater growing number of pilgrims
Nearest railway station is Guruvayoor Town. Only one interstate and few inter-city passenger trains stop there. The temple is located about a KM from the railway station. By train the best is to take train up to Thrissur where has stop for all most all the trains. From there take a taxi (approx Rs 300) to the temple.
Guruvayur, being leading pilgrim town, KSRTC (Kerala State Transportation Service) and Private Bus services are well connected with almost all parts of Kerala State and neighboring states. Half an hour interval regular buses service from Thrissur, Kochi and Kozhikode. The KSRTC Bus station is near the West Gate and Private Bus Stand is near to the East Gate of the Temple. KSRTC also operates few inter-state services from Guruvayur, mainly to Coimbatore, Mysore and Salem. Private luxury bus operators like Kallada, KPN etc operates daily services from Chennai, Bangalore, Mangalore, Madurai etc. Tamil Nadu's SETC also have regular services from Coimbatore, Salem, Madurai and Palani, while Karnataka's KSRTC operates Rajahamsa (Executive class Airbus) and Airavat services (Air-conditioned luxury bus) from Bangalore and Mangalore
The large statue of Garuda-the celestial eagle of Lord Vishnu, is a local landmark
Guruvayur is connected rest of country with NH 66 (Mumbai-Kanyakumari highway) and several state highways connect the town to Kozhikode, Thrissur, Ernakulam, Palakkad etc.
Guruvayur is a small town, which can be accessed by foot itself. The entire town is structured around the Guruvayur temple, which is also the major commercial center. Taxis and autorickshaws are available near the Temple center as well as near to Railway Station and Bus stand. Be sure you fix your price before getting into one or else there is a chance of the drivers fleecing the passengers, especially westerners. Currently there is no intra-town bus services, however most of the inter-city buses stops at various suburbs of the town.
Sree Krishna Temple
The entire town of Guruvayur rose to international fame because of the popularity of the Great Krishna temple, thus the temple and its surrounding temples are the prime attraction. Nearly 6-10 million devotees visit annually and it is one of the richest temples in South India. On average 40,000 to 60,000 people visit the temple on daily basis.
About the temple
The temple upholds several rigid traditions and customs unlike other Kerala temples
- Non Hindus are not allowed even inside the perimeter of the temple complex. The temple guards and police can pull aside anyone found wearing other religious symbols like crosses or the Muslim Namaz mark. Westerners and whites are generally regarded as non-Hindus, even if they have converted to Hinduism. Only certificates endorsed by Arya Samaj-Kozhikode will be accepted as a formal document of conversion. Dharmic religions like Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism are considered as part of Hinduism, hence they are allowed. Sikhs must remove their turbans and kirpans to enter into temple.
- The temple advises children under 2 years not to enter the inner layer of the temple, though their entry is not prohibited. This advice is maintained, because in the event small children urinate inside the temple, the parents will be liable to pay fines for purification rites.
- The dress code is extremely rigid inside the temple. Men are not allowed to wear shirts, baniyan or vests and must remain topless while inside the complex. They have to wear strictly Kerala Mundu (only white/saffron/black/blue) and are free to wear a shawl to cover the upper body. Wearing lungis or checked dhothi is banned inside. Until recently ladies had to wear sarees, but the rule has been relaxed recently. The current dress code allows ladies to wear churidars, pyjamas and kurthas. However sleeveless or short tops, pants, shorts and denims are not allowed inside. Covering the head is strictly prohibited inside temple for both gents and ladies. Children under 12 are allowed to wear trousers.
- The temple prohibits mobile phones, video cameras, any kind of electronic device, bags (except ladies small hand-bags and gents purses) etc, which must be deposited at the cloak room. Just before the main gate, there is a police check-post where all devotees have to undergo a pat-down. In the event they find any of the above items, you will be sent out of the queue to deposit the items in the cloak room.
- Unlike other South Indian temples, there is no special queue system to bypass. All devotees have to stand in one single large queue. There are no special darshan tickets or out-of-way procedures to skip the queue. The exception to this rule is for senior citizens above 60 and VIPs who have security concerns or protocol laws.
- The temple closes from 1 to 4 PM and from 9 PM to 3 AM on the next day, where no darshan is allowed. In addition to this, the temple closes for a few breaks for certain rituals like 9-10AM and 12-1PM. On special days, a special rite known as Udayasthamana Pooja is performed which means there is a break for darshan every 10 mins due to the special nature of this pooja.
- The temple is believed to have been constructed by Lord Parasurama (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) himself, on request of gods. The original temple was just the sanctum sanctorum. The other complexes were later built by various kings and other rich men, as gratification of their devotion to the presiding deity.
- The outer ring of the temple was constructed by the Great Zamorin King Manadeva Varma of Kozhikode, one of the celebrated devotees of Guruvayurappan (as the presiding lord is known), with traditional Kerala architecture. The first layer of the inner ring and the extensive mural works were one of the oldest parts of the structure, commissioned by 4th Pandyan King in AD 52, after being cured of snake-bite poison.
- The sanctum sanctorum is the oldest structure and believed to have been constructed by Lord Parasurama himself. Archeologists estimate the complex to be at least 1000 years old. The sanctum sanctorum is unique, as the structure itself has 3 layers inside, something not seen in other places. The original idol is placed inside the third layer. The idol is a larger representation of Lord Vishnu, but often represented as a baby form of Krishna, with the help of sandal sculpting. Nearly 100 golden lamps light the inner sanctorum. The idol is made of a very rare kind of stone, and is 4 ft tall. The idol is seen with all the ornaments and weapons which are found in a traditional picture of Lord Vishnu. It is in standing posture, and is installed facing east.
- Apart from the main deity, 4 smaller temples are located inside the main complex. While sanctorums for Lord Ganesh and Lord Sree Padmanabha (A form of Lord Vishnu in sleeping form, installed in the well known Padmanabhaswamy Temple) are located inside the inner layer of the temple; sanctorums for Lord Ayyappa and Goddess Bhagavathi are located in the outer layer. Also, there are stone pillars on the west and north sides, having the idols of Lord Murugan, Lord Vishnu with Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Krishna with Radha, Lord Hanuman and various other deities are also installed. Near the Bhagavathy Temple, there is a space through which the people worship Lord Shiva at Mammiyoor Temple.
Offerings and Pujas
- The main offering of Guruvayur is Thulabharam (Scale) where the offerer gives various items according to his body weight, determined by weighing himself on a scale with an equivalent amount of offering in other side of scale. The lord's favourite items are yellow bananas (Kadali variety). Other items like butter, ghee, sugar, Thulsi leaves etc are also offered in amounts equal to the weight of the offerer. Some rich people offer in terms of gold or coins, but this is rare.
Krishnanattam- the dance performance done in honour of Lord Krishna
- The second most important offering is performances of Krishnanattam. Krishnanattam is an exclusive art-form, unique to Guruvayur temple, not performed elsewhere. The art-form is the predecessor of Kathakali, hence the costumes looks similar. 10 stories of Krishna's life are adapted in this highly Sanskritzed dance-drama. The art-form was composed by Zamorin King H.H Maharaja Manadeva Varma in the 14th century, which later inspired the composition of Kerala's celebrated art-form Kathakali. Krishnaattam is performed daily in evenings throughout the year except in the monsoon month of July. Prior bookings are needed have performances of the art-form in one's name and performances are done outside the temple, thus allowing anyone to watch the art-form.
- Another important offering is Udayasthamana Pooja, which means Dawn-To-Dusk Poojas, consisting of 15 special poojas along with other routine poojas inside the temple, apart from 5 special processions (Srivelis) and feasts. The pooja ends with smoking of the temple premises with a special kind of incense, known as Thripukka. The pooja is of high demand and completely booked till 2060.
- Chuttuvillakku or Lamp Illumination is another important offering, done on every evening. The temple walls have mounted lamp posts all over and its a treat to see the entire temple lighted up with lamps.
Chuttuvilakku or Lamp Illumination around the temple
- The temple has presence of Goddess Durga, which is considered to be older than the main temple. The important offering to her is Bhagavati Azhal, where 10 or 20 wicks soaked in oil are kept in a sheath of plantains and lighted before the goddess Bhagavati, mostly done by ladies.
- Other major offerings to the lord, which will be returned back are Paal Payasam (Milk Dessert), Bananas, Sugar, Avil (Flatten rice), Sandal balls, Butter and Unniappams. Some of the offerings are returned back to devotees only in evening, after the evening pooja.
- Since the presiding deity is considered as Lord Krishna in his 'Vishwaroopa' darshan form given to his parents at the time of his birth, infants and children are encouraged to perform picking up of Manjadikuru (Abrus precatorious) and deposit in a vessel in front of the shrine, believe to help in increase smartness and naughtiness.
- Other offerings including Sayanapradakshina (the devotee circumambulating around the temple by rolling along the pradakshina path), presenting Alroopams (miniature images in gold or silver, or replicas of different parts of the human body, eyes, nose, limbs, for curation or wellness of the affected area) and Bhajarikkal (remaining within the temple for certain number of days, as token of self-renunciation).
- The temple has a Morning breakfast, afternoon feast and dinner are free to all devotees and provided to anyone who assembles at Ottupura (temple dining hall) on a first-come-first-served basis. Expect a long que for this, as devotees consider as holy prasad.
Major temples near Guruvayoor
- Mammiyoor Shiva Temple. The large Shiva Temple, is located just 500 meter from the Main temple. Its believe Lord Shiva was the original owner of Guruvayur temple and decided to relocate to current site to place the Vishnu idol in Guruvayur temple. Hence its customary for all devotees visiting Guruvayur temple to visit Mammiyoor temple before leaving the town, to complete the pilgrimage. The temple has 2 independent shrines, one for Lord Shiva and one for Lord Vishnu, both facing east. The temple is extremely famous for its large murals. Lord Shiva here is in the form of 'Aghoramoorthi', his angry form, along with his consort Goddess Parvathi. Lord Vishnu shrine was installed much later to reduce the anger of Lord Shiva. There are minor shrines for Lords Ganesh, Ayyappa, Murugan, Nagas, Rakshass and Goddess Bhadrakali. edit
- Parthasarathy Temple. Located within a kilometer from main temple, its a must see temple, with its main shrine built in form a gigantic chariot and Lord Krishna sitting as Parthasarathy, advocating Gita to Arjuna. The main deities are Krishna reciting Holy Gita and Arjuna hearing it. Both idols are installed facing east. This temple was installed by Adi Sankaracharya, and after the invasion of Tipu Sultan, it went without daily poojas for many years, until Anjam Madhavan Namboothiri, the great Bhagavatha scholar, renovated it and daily poojas were started. Lord Ganesh, The Nine Planet Gods, Lord Ayyappa and Adi Sankaracharya are also installed. edit
- Thiruvenkatachalapathy Temple. This temple is located near Parthasarathy Temple. This is also called 'Kerala Tirupati', as the main deity is Lord Venkateswara, who is another form of Lord Vishnu worshipped in the world famous Tirupati Temple. According to the legends, the temple was installed by Ramanujacharya, the founder of Vishishtadvaita philosophy, and later an idol of Goddess Bhadrakali was also installed. But due to the invasion of Tipu Sultan, the idol of the Lord was destroyed and no one knew whose idol it was until 1973, when a Devaprasna was held in the temple to know the real nature of the deity. Later, in 1977, a new idol was made and taken to the temple. Now both the Lord and the Goddess have equal importance. The Lord faces east, while the Goddess is installed in the Valiyambalam at the south-east side, facing west. Lords Ganesh, Ayyappa, Goddess Saraswathi and Ramanujacharya are also installed. edit
PunathurKotta- The Elephant Palace
- Punathur Elephant Palace, Punnathoorkotta (4 Km from West Nada). Believe it or not, you will see a sprawling large palace and its courtyards for a luxurious life for its residents, none other than 65 large elephants. Guruvayurappan (Lord of Guruvayur temple) is the owner of largest number of domesticated elephants, all offered by devotees. Being lord's own elephants, their accommodation was arranged in a nearby palace fort, which was renovated from its ruins to its present splendor. The 65 elephants spends their full day, eating, bathing and playing with other inmates as they are not allowed to work elsewhere. Many elephants are famous in Kerala, being star elephants and have huge number of fans across Kerala. Such star elephants, gets more splendid accommodation and services. Most of the elephants are used only for temple procession during festivals and for certain ceremonies. The annual elephant feast and Gajapooja (elephant worship) are some of the tradition ceremonies held inside the Palace. Also one can see the grand Punathur Palace, built strictly in traditional Kerala style. free. edit
- Statues of Maraprabhu and Guruyaur Kesavan, South Nada (Sree Valsam Guest house complex). Guruvayur Devasom has erected two giant statues at gardens of Sree Valsam guest house complex. The statue of Guruvayur Kesavan, one of the most celebrated elephants of Guruvayurappan's stables was erected as a memorial to the deceased elephant, who was crowned as Gajaraja (Elephant king) several times during its career as Lord's main elephant. Another landmark, located just near to Kesavan Memorial is the giant statue of Mara-Prabhu. The statue is a creative interpretion of Lord Krishna as a trunk of giant banyan tree. The statue was erected based a traditional folk-lore story. free. edit
- Gokulam Estates, (40 kms from temple at Vengad). Vrindavanam Gokulam Estate is a 100 acre estate at Vengad in Malapuram District under the possession of Devaswom. Known as Vrindavana Gokulam Estate, it owns 550 cows, one of the largest dairy farm in Kerala. The estate also has cultivation of coconuts ,cashew trees etc. along with palm and other vegetation which provide not only cash crops but also feed for the temple elephants and cattle. free. edit
- Institute of Mural Painting. The institute is located at the east gate of the Guruvayur temple, established in 1989 is managed by Guruvayur Devaswom. This institute was founded by renowned master of mural painting, Shri Mammiyoor Krishnankutty. This institute follows a traditional Gurukula system with residential facilities for the students. It offers many courses for the art loving students. The courses offered include five year diploma courses in mural painting, aesthetics, sculpture and art. This institute arranges exhibitions, seminars and training related to the art and culture of Kerala. Many students from Kerala and other states undergo training here. edit
- Devaswom Museum. Devaswom museum is located very close to Guruvayur temple’s east gate. The museum has many collections of antiques, temple materials, mural paintings, musical instruments and other valuable materials. The temple devaswom museum serves as a place to store valuable offerings in the temple. Devaswom museum displays the images and remains of famous religious poets like Melapthur and Poonthanam. Also it showcases adornments used in folk arts like Krishnanattam and Kathakali. The precious items used to adorn renowned elephants in Guruvayur are also displayed in this museum. The museum is open to public on all days. free. edit
Being a small temple town, religious activities tops the list.
The Mammiyoor Shiva Temple of Guruvayoor
- Guruvayur Festival; The annual Guruvayur festival is in months of February-March, as per Malayalam calendar and zodiac signs. The festival is for 10 days. The festival kicks off with Great Elephant Race, where selected 10 or 15 elephants of Guruvayur temple will race from Manjualla (a baniyan tree located nearly 1 kilometer from temple gate) to the temple. The first elephant who enters the temple gate and complete 3 rounds inside the inner-layer of temple will be adjourned as winner. Winning elephant wins the right of holding the thidambu (replica of the temple deity) for processions for all days during festival, apart from a special feast. Large number of tourists attend the opening day of festival, to watch the Elephant race, which is a feast to eyes. Special feasts are arranged for devotees on all festival days.
- Guruvayur Ekadesi; This is one of the main festivals of temple, held on Ekadeshi day of month of November, where the temples are illuminated with more than 10000 lamps. A week before the Ekadeshi, the Vilakku or Lamp festival commences, where devotees or various associations sponsor lighting of all lamps of the temple.
- Chembai Sangeetholsavam; The musical feast is the highlight of Guruvayur Ekadeshi day, where more than 1200 musicians all over the country performs classical music performances. For a week prior to Ekadeshi, the musical festival starts, though the main highlight is on Ekadeshi where group performances of all leading musicians happen. The music festival ends with grand recital of Pancharatnakireethanam (a rare classical note). Several music lovers all over the country, visit to hear the grand recitals.
- Vishu; Widely celebrated across Kerala as Malayalam New Year day as per Malayalam Calendar (falls either on April 14 or 15th), Vishu is one most important day for Guruvayur day, where thousands throng to the temple, to catch the glimpse of the fully decorated lord, as the first thing to be seen on the new year day for an auspicious year ahead. The lord will be decorated in a special platform outside the main sanctum with traditional Vishnu-kani decor.
- Kuchela's Day; observed on first Wednesday of Malayalam month of Dhanu (December-January), the day is celebrated based on tales of Lord Krishna's meeting with his poverty-stricken friend Kuchela, which transformed the latter's life. The day signifies the importance of true friendship. Devotees will be given as Avial (Flatten rice) as prasad.
- Ashtami Rohini; observed in Malayalam month of Chingam (July-Aug), considered as birthday of Lord Krishna. The day is filled with lot of festivities.
- Nrithaloslavam; The Guruvayur Dance Festival is held annually during October, where dancers all over the country perform in front of the deity for a fortnight.
- Poothanam Day; observed as a remembrance day to Poothanam, a famous devotee of Lord Krishna who enriched Malayalam devotional poems and philosophical literature praising the lord. The day is marked with several poetic discourses and recitals of famous works of the poet.
- Narayaneeyam Day; Celebrated in Guruvayur temple as the day, when the famous work- Narayaneeyam was composed and presented before the lord, by the scholar Melpattur Narayana Nampoothiripad.
- The Melpathur Hall located outside the temple is a regular venue for various cultural performance. People irrespective of caste, religion etc can attend and watch the regular performances at the hall. Mostly there are classical dances, music recitals as well as recitals of Bhagavatam (sacred Krishna scriptures). One can find different Indian classical dances or musical concerts right from Morning till night in this hall.
- Watch training classes for Krishnaattam performers at Krishnaattam Academy or try a hand in painting of Kerala murals at Institute of Mural Paintings.
Guruvayur is the most famous Hindu wedding destination in Kerala. Many Hindus prefer to solemnize their marriage in front of the lord, making one of the most sought after marriage destination. The Kalyana-Mandapam or Wedding Hall in front of the temple, hosts more than 100 to 150 marriages a day. Prior booking is required at the Devaswom office and marriages are done in simple Kerala Nair traditions. Due to heavy rush, normally only key ritual of solemnizing the wedlock and exchange of thulsi garlands are done in front of the temple, while other rituals done in nearby halls or hotels.
The Devaswom has its own Marriage office, where marriages are legally registered and certificate is issued, which can be notified or attested in any Government registrar office across Kerala, for legal certification. The Devaswom allows marriages only between Hindus (inclusive of other oriental religions like Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism).
The East Nada (Gate) and West Nada are major commercial alleys with several shops selling traditional Kerala handicrafts, handlooms, souvenirs, lamps, brasswares, paintings all related to Hinduism. Apart from handicrafts, Guruvayur is famous for its large unique variety of savories especially the supersize Guruvayoor Padappadams, Murukkus, sweets etc.
Guruvayur is also one of the largest centers of devotional music centers, with dozens of music stores selling several records of chart-busters devotional albums and audio/video cds.
The temple town is known for its pure vegetarianism. Around the temple one can find plenty of pure vegetarian restaurants. The cuisine is mostly South Indian. Most restaurants serve good ghee roast dosa. Finding a non-vegetarian food stall or bar is extremely difficult like any other Hindu pilgrim town, though its not banned.
- Saravana Bhavan, East Nada, near Parking grounds. 06-00 AM to 10:00 PM. A typical Brahmin's hotel, famous for its good idlis and dosas Budget. edit
- Woodlands Restaurant, East Nada, opp. Parking grounds. 06-00 AM to 10:00 PM. A well maintained family restaurant serving South India, North India and Chinese Vegetarian foods. Special Dishes :- Masala Dosa Budget. edit
- Indian Coffee House, East Nada, opp. Parking grounds. 06-00 AM to 10:00 PM. Part of Kerala's famed Coffee House chain, this restaurant offers good meals, thalis, Veg biriyanis and dosas at very cheap rates, though the restaurant is not well-maintained. Budget. edit
- Annapurna Brahmin's Hotel, East Nada, Inside Main Pandal. 06-00 AM to 10:00 PM. A well maintained family restaurant serving typical Tamil and Kerala veg cuisines. Has some of the best coffees in the town. Budget. edit
- Surabi Restaurant (Hotel Elite), East Nada, Near Manjuaal. 06-00 AM to 10:00 PM. Part of Hotel Elite, this restaurant, offers almost all South and North Indian cuisines. The restaurant is posh and well maintained. Moderate. edit
- Mangalya (KTDC Hotel), East Nada, KTDC Shopping complex, Inside Main Pandal. 06-00 AM to 10:00 PM. The restaurant is owned by State run KTDC and offers good Kerala veg cuisine, mainly set meals. The restaurant is located inside KTDC Shopping complex inside the Main Pandal. Moderate. edit
- Kaustubham (Gokulam Vanammali Kaustubham), South Nada, Opp. Sree Valsam Rest House. 06-00 AM to 10:00 PM. A Premier restaurant that serves almost all Indian Veg cuisines, it is an upscale restaurant with well maintained interiors and premium facilities. Expensive. edit
- Hotel Annamayya, Platinum Pancharathna Building, Beside Mammiyoor Mahadeva Temple, ☎ +91 82813 54411, +91 82813 64411. 12-00 PM to 10:00 PM. This restaurant being run by Telugu people offers good Andhra meals at very reasonable rates, Decent ambience. Budget. edit
Tap water is generally safe, as Guruvayur Devasom authorities have installed several water purification plants across the temple, to provide safe drinking water to devotees. Being a major pilgrimage town, almost all bottled water brands as well as soft-drinks brands are easily available. Coffee and Tea vending machines are found at main places and all restaurants serves some of the best filter coffees in the state. Tender coconut water (Karikku) is also easily available and several juice bars provides freshly squeezed juices.
Be it free room or service apartment or budget hotel or posh luxurious resort, Guruvayur has all within its 10 sqkm of town limit. Being a temple town, that attracts more than 10 million annually, accommodation is never an issue. Guruvayur Devasom has 4 major accommodation types for temple devotees. Central Reservation :- +91-487-255-6-100, 255-6335, 255-6799, 255-6347, 255-6365
- Satram, East Nada. Satram is the lowest range accommodation offered by Devasom, that offers a strict no-frills stay for budget conscious travelers. The satram has 82 rooms with attached toilets and 92 rooms with common toilets and few large dorms. Ideal for devotees who just want a cot and fan to sleep. edit
- Kausthabam, Satram, East Nada. Kausthabam is located just near to Satram complex, offers better facilities than Satram with more rooms and few additional frills. Air Conditioned rooms are also available along with restaurant facility. budget. edit
- Panchajanyam, South Nada. Panchajanyam, located near Devasom Office complex, offers ideal accommodation for middle class families with more than 130 rooms offering both air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned rooms along with additional bed facilities for extended families. The hotel also has dedicated parking facility as well as 24 hour restaurant facility. moderate. edit
- Sree Valsam Suites, South Nada. A land-mark in the town, Sree-Valsam Rest House offers premium facilities for those who wish for. With more than 12 large suites, a swimming pool, concierge facility and large landscape gardens, the hotel is located just near to Panchajanyam hotel. The iconic Mara-prabhu statue (Lord of Wood) and statue memorial of Guruvayur's celebrated elephant; Guruvayoor Kesavan all are located within Sree valsam complex. Caution:- The hotel is used by visiting VIPs and ministers, hence occasionally your reservation may be cancelled at hotel, owing security reasons and protocols. Must reconfirm your booking. premium. edit
- Poornima Tourist Home, East Nada, ☎ 0487-2556690. A budget family hotel, located just 400 m from temple complex edit
- Arachana Lodge, West Nada, ☎ 0487-2556643. edit
- Maharaja Tourist Home, South Nada, ☎ 0487-2556369. edit
- Hotel Nandanam (KTDC Budget), Near Railway station, ☎ 0487-2556266. Part of State tourism corp- KTDC Budget series of hotel. edit
- Jayasree Lodge, Nr. Temple Pond, North Nada, ☎ 0487-2556369. edit
- Ayodhya Hotel, West Nada, ☎ 0487-2556226. edit
- Hotel Elite, East Nada, ☎ 0487-2556215. edit
- Sunrise Hotel, East Nada, ☎ 0487-2555783. edit
- R.V.K.Residency, East Nada, ☎ 0487-2556204. edit
- Vyshak International, East Nada, ☎ 0487-2556188. edit
- Sree Krishna Inn, East Nada, ☎ 0487-2550777. edit
- Bhasuri Inn, Opp. Private Bus Stand, ☎ 0487-2558855. edit
- Kanoos Residency, Opp. Private Bus Stand, ☎ 0487-2551800. edit
- Sree Gokulam Vanamalaa Hotel, South Nada, ☎ 0487-2556702. edit
- Hotel Horizon International, South Nada, ☎ 0487-2553399. edit
Guruvayur is one of the safest towns. Due to arrivals of large number of pilgrims, a large number of police and temple guards are deployed around the temple. The temple is secured by Kerala Police's Special branch services in addition a unit of Kerala Commando Force and Rapid Action Force (RAF). The Guruvayur Devasom maintains private security guards (normally in White Shirts and Khaki pants with black caps) for mointoring devotees outside the temple, while has its own security inside the temple (seen in saffron mundu with blue shawl). In addition, undercover police (Shadow Police) are also deployed in the temple and outside.
Still one needs to be concious of light crimes like pickpocketing, eve teasing etc. Police has displayed photos of leading criminals arrested in the region in many places, to keep people beware of them.
For any police support, one can call 100 or 1090. The main police station is located 100 meters from the temple.
- Guruvayur Central Police Station (Central Circle), (side of East Gate), ☎ +91 487 2556362. 24 hours. This is the main police station and it houses the office of the Circle Officer. In addition it has 3 Station inspectors. The station also manages Highway Patrol and Traffic edit
Emergency Ambulance Support
For any medical emergency, one can contact 108 or 102. Ambulance services are provided by Guruvayur Devaswom as well as NSS. In addition Fire and Rescue services (101) also maintain ambulance services. Ambulance services are provided by Guruvayur Devaswom as well as NSS. In addition Fire and Rescue services (101) also maintain ambulance services.
Guruvayur Devaswom maintains its own medical team, to meet any contingencies, while in the temple or its surroundings. The Devaswom operates an emergency wing, available 24 hours. It operates free medical clinics around the temple as well as two hospitals (an English Medicine Hospital and Ayurvedic Hospital) with well stocked pharmacy and diagnostic center.
- Guruvayur Devaswom Hospital (Allopathic Hospital), ☎ +91 487 2556620,. 24 hours. The allopathic hospital is a 75 bed facility with diagnostic facilities like X-ray, ECG, scanning etc and a pharmacy. The hospital also has services of specialized doctors edit
- Guruvayur Devaswom Ayurvedic Hospital (Melpattur Hospital), ☎ +91 487 2554795,. 24 hours. The Devaswom maintains a 30 bed Ayurvedic hospital with 4 Ayurvedic physicians, edit
- Rajah's Hospital, ☎ +91 487 2556996,. 24 hours. A famous tertiary hospital in the region, with 150 beds. The facility also has an Ayurvedic hospital and an Emergency block. edit
- Thahani Hospital, ☎ +91 487 2556228,. 24 hours. Located very close to the temple, with emergency support. edit
There are numerous of clinics in and around Guruvayur. Equally one can find several diagnostic centers, specialized laboratories, blood bank as well as day surgery centers.
24 Hours Pharmacy
- Guruvayur Medicals, East Nada, Guruvayur temple, ☎ +91 487 2550890,. 24 hours. edit
The area code of Guruvayur is 0487. All national operators operate mobile services in Guruvayur. In addition, one can find several Public Call Offices as well as coin-operated pay phones. One can find several internet cafes, especially in KTDC Shopping Complex in East Nada. However donot need to expect latest computer systems in these cafes, as these are not regularly patronized in such temple towns.
The Guruvayur Main Post office is located 250 Meters away from the East Nada gate. It has a Speed post EMS Services apart for Utility center.
Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) has its Tourist reception and information office (TRIO) in KDTC Shopping complex facility. The facility has a restaurant called Mangalya, a banquet hall and restrooms. For queries, contact 0487-2556266/7
KTDC maintains two restaurants in both sides of the temple having restroom facility along with tourist office.
The Devaswom Administration manages the affairs of the temple and its surrounding area as its mostly temple property. The Devaswom maintains multiple offices around the temple, serving the devotees and public. The devaswom's main office is located on South Nada, opposite Panchachyam Hotel.
Once you are done with all the temple visits, head to Chavakkad Beach around five km from Guruvayur. A beautiful quiet beach during the day. To watch the fishermen bring in their catch get to the beach around 5PM, an awesome sight with a zillion fish on display on the beach itself.
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