PM Modi in Guruvayur! Here is everything you need to know about Kerala’s ancient Krishna temple

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Published: June 8, 2019 7:36:18 PM

Everyone is curious about Kerala's Sri Krishna temple at Guruvayur, following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit and the offering of 'thulabharam' that he made at the sacred shrine.

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Everyone is curious about Kerala’s Sri Krishna temple at Guruvayur, following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit and the offering of ‘thulabharam’ that he made at the sacred shrine. While offering prayers, he adhered to the traditional dress code followed for male devotees at the shrine, which is ‘Mundu’ and ‘Veshti’, reflecting the simplicity of the Keralite’s way of life. The images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi emerging in this traditional Kerala outfit at the Guruvayur temple went viral on social media.

This may also tempt you to add this ancient temple and its dress code to your travel bucket list, which is a good idea, actually! So, on your next visit to Kerala, check out what is famous in Guruvayur temple and don’t forget to sample the cultural and culinary delights of the sacred temple town of Guruvayur, where thousands of devotees flock for a fleeting glimpse of their favourite deity.

Remember, the Guruvayur temple darshan online booking facility can also be availed. And for those who are first-time visitors, be informed that one of the most popular offerings at the Guruvayur temple is the Udayasthamana Pooja, which is fully booked till the year 2050. Yes, you read this correctly!


For a first time traveler to Guruvayur temple, here are some facts to be aware of:

1. You just have to believe this: there’s so much more to this ancient temple town of Guruvayur than what meets the eye!

For instance, if you talk to the common man, there will be amazing stories and experiences they share about the shrine, which as a traveler, makes you feel curious to know more. Believe it or not, the magnificent Guruvayur temple of today had struggled to maintain itself at one time and was dependent on wealthy patrons to meet expenses! So, the only way to find out more about Guruvayur is to get on your feet and keep exploring the place inside out and talk to as many people who are very familiar with the shrine.

2. Guruvayur temple history is said to be more than five thousand years old. Tamil literature is believed to have literary references that point to the existence of the shrine. Note that there are no historical records to show the temple’s origins.

3. The legends and beliefs surrounding the Guruvayur temple and its presiding deity add to the mystery as well.

4. The popular yet unverified belief of most Guruvayur pilgrims is that Sri Adi Shankaracharya had passed the Guruvayur temple without paying obeisance to Lord Krishna, was unable to proceed further and made amends by composing ‘Govinda Ashtakam’, which comprises of eight slokas as a tribute to the presiding deity.

5. The most cited and revered literary work pertaining to the presiding deity is Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri’s iconic Sanskrit magnum opus, ‘Narayaneeyam’, which continues to be chanted by pilgrims.

Before you embark on your Guruvayur temple visit, make sure about the following:

1. Be thoroughly conversant with the rules and regulations.

2. As a traveler, be ready to open your mind to a completely different travel experience, where most of your walking may happen on barefoot too, as you skim between the temple trail, the shrine’s numerous cultural activities, pause at some of the colorfully decorated stalls and maybe just sit back and enjoy watching the routine unfold at the famed Guruvayur temple.

3. Don’t be surprised to see politicians, leaders, popular movie stars and singers offer their performance at the Guruvayur temple.

4. Be warned that while the prasadam served at the shrine is known to be delicious, the waiting counters have long, winding queues that look taxing as thousands of pilgrims are in queue and often it is not easy to stay patiently in ‘silent’ mode.

4. Also, note that the Guruvayur temple has elephants parked inside the premises during specific ceremonies.

For first time travelers to Guruvayur temple, the good news is that you can get a closer look at the sacred, four-legged ‘vehicles’ that carry the revered deity of Lord Krishna. These elephants usually have their own mahouts with them.

Of all the elephants owned by the temple, the most loved elephant is ‘Guruvayur Kesavan’, about whom even the ordinary Malayali is likely to turn sentimental.
In fact, many homes of Keralites keep images of the much-loved elephant in their living rooms or as a tiny souvenir to mark their respect.

As a traveler, you can pick up one for yourself as a souvenir too! For devotees, however, Kesavan remains a symbol of pure devotion to the presiding deity of Guruvayur and he died on the sacred Guruvayur Ekadasi day.

Observe the signboards at the top of the temple are written in the Malayalam language, signalling “Om Namo Narayana” and ‘Om Namo Bhagawathey Vasudevaya Namah”.

Known to be over five thousand years old, the famed Guruvayur temple holds a special place in every Malayali’s heart, for it represents something that is far more intrinsic to the cultural confluence of a lush-green beautiful state, thereby going way beyond the structural and architectural magnificence of an iconic temple.

The Guruvayur temple is definitely worth a visit, not just once, but for as long as your traveler’s heart seeks more beyond the quest of life.

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