Popular Guruvayur Sri Krishna temple, Kerala

Entrance, Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple, Kerala.www.allindiatours.com 
The Vilakkumatham- series of oil-lamps. Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple, Kerala en.wikipedia. org
Guruvayur or Guruvayoor in Thrissur district of Kerala, has a popular Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Krishna. This Sri Krishna temple is equally famous in other southern states as well, in particular, Tamil Nadu. Considered as Boologa Vaikuntam,  the Guruvayur temple, according to historian, is roughly 52 AD old and only by the end of the 16th century it had become the most popular pilgrimage center in Kerala. Now, it is one among the five famous Vishnu/Krishna temples in India.  It is unfortunate this highly popular temple is not one among the 108 Divyadesa Shetras which Tamil Vaishnavites eager to visit.
Temple tank-Rudratheertham.Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple, Kerala.en.wikipedia. org
 Here the presiding deity is Lord Krishna (Vishnu), who is omnipresent. His  idol is small, but enchanting and blissful and is made of Patala Anjana - black stone associated with antimony ore. He is also informally called Kannan or Unni Krishnan, but commonly referred to as Guruvayurppan. Here he has four strong arms,  carrying the conch 'Panchajanya', the discus 'Sudarshana Chakra' and mace 'Kaumodaki' and the lotus flower.
Interior of the temple, cental mandabam or courtyard.Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple, Kerala.www.bhasuriinn.com
The temple has regular pooja protocol which the Nambuthiries - the Brahmin Pandits of Kerala do with  strict devotion and reverence. The daily early morning - 3 AM  ritual includes  anointing of the moolavar, main idol of Sri Krishna with til oil - ritual bath sprinkled with certain herbs known as ''veka'' amidst the chanting of mantras by the pandits. After bath, the idol is adorned with tulasi (Basil) mala, etc  and lots of people throng the temple to see the early morning pooja ritual and to receive Lord's blessing. It is believed the abisekha water used on the idol has medicinal properties. The temple history has it that the idol of great antiquity was  installed  by Brihaspathi  along  with Vayu with instructions from Parasurama and lord Shiva. Hence the location is called Guruvayur - Guru-vayu - oor.

Although the daily  pooja protocols are being carried out in accordance with the norms framed by the great Adi Sankara, Tantric tradition was also followed. Now,  Vedic tradition is  followed without any deviation  according to temple priests. Here  the Pandits or Tantris make no compromise on their conduct of daily pooja to the deity. The chief priest - Melsanthi carries out his pooja ritual  duties with utmost dedication from  2 AM till the conclusion of noon worship - 12. 30 PM without taking even a drop of water. Here the tantris or temple priests are mostly hereditary and for generations taking care of poojas, temple rituals, etc.,

Like other temples in Kerala, here  there are very strict  dress regulations for the devotees to be followed. Adult males must wear Vesti and no dress above the waist except Angavasthiram, a long piece  of light cloth similar to a long towel. Boys are allowed to wear shorts and not shirt. As for girls and women, they  need to wear sari and young girls a long skirt with blouse. Short skirts and trousers are not allowed inside the temple. However, nowadays   Salwar Kameez is allowed. In the evening, there is a special separate queue for senior citizens who come here in large numbers.
Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple, Kerala.www.hotelsinsouth.com
There are  idols of Lord Ganesha, Lord Ayyappa on the main temple premises. The temple is famous for holding weddings  and 'Annaprasanam' - feeding a morsel of cooked rice or Annam to a growing child for the first time.

The main entrance and other parts are beautifully built, in particular, the entrance  has a typical, impressive Kerala style of architecture with gradually sloping roof. The inner part of the temple, the big mantabam (Hall) before the shrine, is mostly made of solid teak wood with tiled roof. It is said to have been rebuilt in 1638 AD. "Viswabali" was performed later to propitiate all the spirits - good and bad. The Vilakkumatham - the serial brass oil lamps fixed all around on the outer wall of the  main shrine  adds beauty to this shrine. Further, they look owe-inspiring in the late evening till night when all lamps are lit. The entire mantabam is charged with devotional ecstasy and spiritual happiness.  The temple has numerous mural paintings  dating back to 17th century.

The roof  above the sanctum  and the two doors of the temple are covered with gold plates. Another feature of interest is  gold-plated Dhwaja Sthambam or flag post 33 feet tall adorns the eastern side of the temple. Thanks to the contributions made by the visiting devotees with which the temple authorities make useful facilities for the devotees. Like all temples, the Dhwaja Sthambam is placed before the main shrine facing the presiding deity as per temple agama rules. A 22 feet tall pillar of lamps known as Deepa Stambham  has 13 circular receptacles on top of each other that look breath - taking in the evening when lit.

Sri Krishna  temple of Guruvayur has the honor of owning the largest number of elephants in India, most of which are donated by the ardent devotees, who  were  blessed  with  favors  by Lord Guruvayurappa. The temple also runs  an  elephant  camp, at  Punnathurkotta, 2 km from here. The temple elephants actively participate in all festivals and rituals associated with this temple.  

It is no wonder that the Guruvayurappan temple with its  colorful festivals and age-old tradition is considered as one of the important pilgrimage centers for the Hindus. Thousands of people visit this holy place every day and, on the week-ends. the crowds are just overwhelming.

A visit to this unique and enchanting temple will get you happiness, mitigate  your down-to-earth problems and give peace of mind. Once you trust Him, hereon Sri Guruvayurappan will guide you in every phase of your challenging life.