Difference between revisions of "Guruvayoor"
Revision as of 18:14, 17 December 2010
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 102 km from Kochi. Apart from pilgrimage, a few tourist delights are available here.
Guruvayoor Temple is one of the largest and most famed temple in Kerala at national level, attracting more than 5 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. However Krishna knew that, soon after his death, 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 Guruvayur.
A large Shiva temple exists at Mammiyur, within a kilometer from the main temple, where the original Shiva temple relocated.
Guruvayur was a 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 pratice 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).
Though several reforms happened in temple, still much of the temple management and local public uphold the traditional conventionalities and rigid orthodoxies. Non-Hindus are strictly debarred and several rigid dress code is in place.
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. 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
Gurvayoor town as a large railway station, where several inter-city passenger and inter-state passes. Equally convenient to take the train up from Thrissur which is a major railway station where almost all trains bound to Kerala stops and then take a taxi (approx Rs 300) to Gurvayoor. During festival days and Sabarimala pilgrim season, several special trains runs via Guruvayoor to Ernakulam
Its pretty easy to get a bus from near the railway station (KSRTC Central station) or private bus from Shakthan Thampuran Bus Stand, to get connections from other parts of Kerala. A few buses of SETC of Tamil Nadu connects the town with Coimbatore and Palani.
Guruvayur is connected rest of country with NH 17 (Mumbai-Kochi 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 auotrickshaws are available at nominal rates. 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.
Around the temple one can find plenty of pure vegetarian restaurants. The cuisine is mostly South Indian. Most restaurants serve good ghee roast dosa.
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.