Guruvayur Temple. The Abode of Lord Krishna is a mesmerizing place of pilgrimage for Hindus. Guruvayur Temple is a pilgrim center which has always stood up with glory and strength. It is due to the divinity enshrined in the Sanctum – Sanctorum (central shrine) of Sri Guruvayur Temple. The unique charm of the Deity installed in the temple is mesmerizing (Guruvayoorappan). Guruvayoor Appan of the Guruvayoor Temple is not just a deity. Whereas, he is part of a spiritual culture of the whole Keralites, irrespective of caste or creed.
The presiding deity in the Garbhagraha or the central shrine at Guruvayoor Temple is that of Sri Mahavishnu (Guruvayur appan), worshipped as per the pooja procedures laid down by Adi Sankaracharya and later written in to the Tantrasamuchaya by Chennas Narayanan Namboodiri (born in 1427). Chennas Namboodiris are the authorized hereditary Thantris of Guruvayur Temple. The people at large, however, invoke the Lord as Unnikrishna or Balakrishna. According to the legends, the idol worshipped at Guruvayur Temple is more than 5000 years old.
Ekadasi Festival of Guruvayur Temple (November – December)
Ekadasi, the eleventh day of every lunar fortnight. This day is very auspicious to the Hindus. In Guruvayur Temple, out of the 24 Ekadasis , the Vrishchika Ekadasi (Suklapaksha) has got special significance. It falls in the auspicious Mandala season. The Navami (9th day) and Dasami (10th day) are also very important at Guruvayoor Temple. Ekadasi Vilakku is yet another attraction at Guruvayoor Temple. On Navami day, the Vilakku is lit with ghee as an offering by Kolady family of Guruvayur.
A highlight of the Ekadasi is the memorial honour for Gajarajan Kesavan of Guruvayoor Temple. The Karanavar or head of the elephant family at Guruvayoor temple places a garland at the statue of Kesavan in front of Sreevalsam guest house at Guruvayur and all the other elephants stand around and pay obeisance.
Chembai Music Festival at Guruvayoor Temple
Chembai music festival, the renowned carnatic music festival of south India, held at Guruvayoor temple every year attracts huge crowds to the temple. Musicians from all over India take part in the annual music fete. This festival held at Guruvayoor Temple is one among the most renowned carnatic music festivals held in Kerala. A candidate who wish to take part in this musical fete held at Guruvayoor temple is permitted to perform only after proving their expertise. Also the song should be of traditional carnatic style and the piece to be rendered is also selected by the Guruvayoor Temple administration (Devaswom). However, the candidates can provide a few suggestions from which the Guruvayoor Temple Devaswom with finalise a piece.