Guruvayur Temple, popularly known as “the Dwarka of South India”, is a celebrated Krishna temple in Guruvayur in Kerala, India.The presiding deity of the Guruvayur Temple is Vishnu, worshipped in the form of Krishna.
The 4-feet tall idol in Guruvayoor Temple represents the full form of Lord Mahavishnu, and hence, Guruvayoor is known as “Bhooloka Vaikunta” or the abode of Vishnu on earth. Though the presiding deity is Vishnu, the temple is known as Krishna Temple. It is believed that the boy Lord Krishna is always running around in the temple surroundings in some disguised form.
The idol is said to be approximately 5000 years old and is believed to be the same idol that had been worshipped by Devaki and Vasudeva – Krishna’s parents. Therefore it is natural to believe that Vishnu, in his incarnation as Krishna, must have also worshipped the same idol. The idol is the same form of Narayana that was revealed to Vasudeva and Devaki when the Krishna avatar was born to them.
The idol of Vishnu (Krishna) here manifests the divinity’s baby form. The four-armed deity is adorned with tulsi and rose garlands and gold ornaments.
Legend behind Guruvayoor Temple
Lord Krishna, at the end of his earthly sojourn, prophesied to his foremost disciple Udhava that the island of Dwaraka would be submerged in the sea. Krishna instructed Udhava to rescue the Vishnu idol worshipped by his parents. Later Dwaraka was submerged in the sea. With the help of Vayu (Wind God), Udhava managed to save the floating idol from the sea. He beseeched the help of Brihaspati (Guru) to find the right place to install it.
They travelled across India and finally reached Kerala. With the help of Parasurama, they located a holy spot, which was the current Guruvayoor. According to the legend, Guru and Vayu installed the image of Lord Vishnu (Lord Krishna) in the temple, and hence the place came to be known as ‘Guruvayupura’, and later got shortened as Guruvayoor. The original temple where the idol was installed is believed to be built by Viswakarma, the architect of the Gods.
The famed temple owns 36 mighty elephants. It also has the prestigious credit of hosting the maximum number of marriages and rice feeding ceremonies (the ritual first meal for infants).
The outer enclosure of the temple features a magnificent gold-plated flag-post standing 33.5-m tall. A 7 m high ‘Deepastambham’ (pillar of lamps) is another magnificent aspect.When lit, the thirteen circular holders provide a truly dazzling display. Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple.