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Guruvayur - Cochin
Guruvayur, also known as the Dwaraka of the South, is one of the most important pilgrimage centres in India. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna and the idol is said to have been worshipped by Lord Brahma himself at Dwaraka.
The legend goes like this: The temple dedicated to Lord Krishna was destroyed when the holy city of Dwaraka was submerged under the sea. Guru, the preceptor of the Gods, and his disciple Vayu, God of Winds were entrusted with the job of finding an equally holy spot for a new temple, to install the idol. At the end of a long pursuit, they reached Kerala and met Parasurama, legendary creator of Kerala. He led them to a beautiful lake full of lotuses, the present temple tank, Rudratirtha. The idol was duly placed at this spot and called Guruvayurappan, or the Lord of Guruvayur.
In the 'chuttambalam' or outer enclosure of the temple, is the tall 33.5 m high gold-plated 'dhwajastambham' or flag-post. The 7 m high 'dipastambham' or pillar of lamps is a splendid spectacle when lit.
The entrance to the inner precincts lies just beyond this. Within are ten finely carved pillars on two raised platforms, one on either side of the passage. Bhattatiri, the devoted 'Bhakta' of Guruvayurappan, is believed to have sat here, composing the famous Narayaniyam, the great Sanskrit poetical work of 1036 slokas, singing the praise of the Lord.
The square, two-storeyed, 'srikoil' is the sacred sanctorum of of the temple, housing the main deity. This idol of Krishna, with four arms carrying the conch, the discus, the mace and the lotus, and adorned with a thulasi garland and pearl necklaces, is made of a particular stone called 'patala anjanam'.
There are many other temples around Guruvayur. Lord Shiva's temple at Mammiyur is only half a kilometre from here. The Parthasaradhi Temple, close to the Sri Krishna temple, deifies Lord Krishna as Arjuna's charioteer. Half a kilometre to the north-east of the Parthasarathi temple is a temple of Venkatachalapati of Tirupati. Other temples are Perunthatta Shiva temple and Tamarayur Vishnu temple.
Punnathur Kotta, 4 kms away is an ancient fort which houses 40 temple elephants. Chavakkad, 3 kms away has a pleasant beach and mausoleum of Haidross Kuttee, lieutenant of Haider Ali of Mysore. Palayur, 1 km from Chavakkad is the site of an ancient church believed to be founded by St. Thomas, the apostle.
When to Visit
10 days festival (Feb/ March) with elephant race, processions and several rituals. The famous music festival Chembai Sangeetha Mela is held in Nov/ Dec time.
How to Get There
By Air : Nearest airport is Cochin, 90 kms away.
By Rail : Trichur Railway Station is just 29 kms away.
By Road : Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses and private buses, as well as taxis and other vehicles regularly ply between Trichur and Guruvayur. KSRTC buses are available from all important towns of Kerala.
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