Guruvayur Temple: Guide to famous Shri Krishna Temple of Kerala!

Last Updated on April 18, 2022 by asoulwindow

Table of Contents

Information about Guruvayoor Temple

Guruvayurtemple in Thrissur took me by surprise. Located in South Indian state of Kerala, I had not heard of it much. My actual plan was to attend the annual Pulikali festival and visit the world famous Vadakkunnathan temple in Thrissur.  

I had some spare time. On a whim, I looked up what else is there to see in Thrissur. I finally hopped on to a super cheap state transport bus to Guruvayoor Temple from Thrissur.

What unfolded next was something I had not even imagined. My jaws dropped! I had imagined Guruvayur Temple to be a quiet and uncrowded temple, much like Vadakkunnathan temple of Thrissur. I was surprised to see Guruvayur Temple Kerala buzzing with activity.

Click to see my video of Bharatnatyam dance in Guruvayur Temple

A long queue of devotees here, a Bharatnatyam dance performance there. As I moved past the devout pilgrims folding hands to Shri Krishna, many newly married couples who chose the Gods abode for their new beginnings, broke into a frenzied selfie fever.   

Guruvayur town in Thrissur district of Kerala has the most celebrated temple of Lord Krishna. Guruvayur Devaswomisaneasy and quick weekend destination from Bangalore, Mysore and Thrissur.

There are many places to see and interesting things to do in Guruvayoor.This is the most comprehensive travel guide on Guruvayur Temple ever.

Soul Window Facts

Did you know that Uttara Guruvayurappan Temple located in Mayur Vihar in New Delhi is a replica of the original Guruvayur temple of Kerala? The architecture of the Delhi temple reflects the typical Kerala style. It is popular with the Tamil and Malayali Community of Delhi.

Uttara Guruvayurappan Temple is devoted to Krishna Bhagwan. The other temples located in the vicinity of the temple are devoted to Shiv ji, Ganesh ji and Ayyappa ji. A Naga Banna or Sarpa Kavu also sits nearby. It is devoted to the Naga Devatas.

Who is the main deity at Guruvayur Temple?

Which God in Guruvayur temple? The presiding deity of Guruvayur Devaswom is Lord Guruvayurappan. For those who are not from South India, must be wondering who is Lord Guruvayurappan? Well, Lord Guruvayurappan is Shri Krishna or Vishnu Bhagwan worshipped in his avatar of Krishna Bhagwan. Lord Guruvayurappan exists in the four-armed form of Vishnu ji in a standing posture. It is possible to see the deity right from the entrance gate.

Each arm of the deity holds elements from Hinduism such as

  • Padmam or a lotus with a Holy basil garland
  • The weapon called as Sudarshana Chakra
  • The shankh or conch Panchajanya
  • The mace Kaumodaki aka gada.  

It is a traditional orthodox form of Mahavishnu. This is the form in which Vishnu Bhagwan appeared before parents of Krishna ji, viz Devaki maa and Vasudev ji just when Krishna ji was about to be born. The pious Moolavigraha, made up of Pathalanjana Shila aka Patala Anjanam or black bismuth is what the main idol is known as.

Other Idols at Guruvayur Devaswom 

Apart from the main idol of Mahavishnu, you can also have a darshan of a silver and a gold idol. The much older silver idol is taken out on special occasions such as seevli, processions and Arattu.

Though the main God of Guruvayoor is Krishna ji, the other sub deities from the Hindu pantheon are Ganesh bhagwan, Bhagwati, Nagadevta and Lord Ayyappan. Lord Ayyappan is born from the union of Mohini (Vishnu ji) and Shiv Bhagwan.

Nomenclature of Guruvayur Temple Kerala

Guruvayurappan temple is also known as Sree Kovil or Dakshin Dwarka. The original Dwarka is in the coastal town of Gujarat in West India.

Another interesting name of Guruvayoor temple is “Bhuloka Sri Vaikuntham” the literal meaning of which is ‘Holy Abode of Vishnu ji on Earth’ or ‘Heaven on Earth’. The devout Hindu believes that Bhagwan Krishna appears before His ardent devotees in a form which is identical to his form in his celestial abode called Vaikuntha where he welcomes them. Vaikuntha or Vishnuloka is the abode of Vishnu Bhagwan.

To summarise the alternate names of Guruvayur Temple Kerala

  • Sree Kovil
  • Dakshin Dwarka
  • Guruvayoor Mandir
  • Guruvayur Devaswom
  • Guruvayoor Devaswom 
  • Bhuloka Sri Vaikuntham
  • Guruvayur Devasthanam 
  • Sri Guruvayurappan temple
  • Guruvayoor Sree Krishna temple
  • Guruvayur Sree Krishna temple 

To summarise the alternate names of Lord Vishnu

  • Shri Krishna
  • Guruvayurappan
  • Guruvayoorappan
  • Guruvayur Unnikkannan means Child form of Krishna ji.

The above names have been used interchangeably in this blog and they mean the same.

Etymology: What does Guruvayur mean?

The literal meaning of the word Guruvayurappan is Lord of Guruvayur. It is derived from the Sanskrit word Guru. So, Guru here stands for Brihaspati, the Guru of Devas. Vayu means wind. Thus, Vayu represents the God of wind. In Malayalam language of Kerala, Appan means father or Lord.

Therefore, Sri Guruvayurappan was named so because Brihaspati (Jupiter), Guru and Vayu had come together to install the deity. Hindus believe that parents of Krishna ji, Vasudeva ji and Maa Devaki worshipped Sri Guruvayurappan, the complete manifestation of Vishnu Bhagwan. In fact, Krishna ji who was the 8th Avatar of Vishnu ji worshipped Lord Guruvayurappan as well.

Why is Guruvayur Temple world-famous?

Guruvayur Temple is very popular with the Malayali and Tamil communities of South India. People visit Guruvayoor temple in large numbers as it is one of the most important Krishna temples in all of South India. It is also famous because wishes are fulfilled here by the noble deity.

Grand scale celebration of Hindu festivals such as Shri Krishna Janmashtami also adds to the fame of the temple. On such occasion, Hindus from near and far visit the temple.

Guruvayur Devaswom is also famous as a popular wedding destination in Kerala. Malayalis from all across Kerala prefer to get married in the Guruvayurappan temple in a simple ceremony, mostly during the day. I saw many couples getting married during my visit.

So, what is the Speciality of Guruvayur temple Kerala? It is said that the idol of deity is no ordinary idol. Made up of the powerful Patala Anjanama stone, it has many miraculous and healing properties. There are many things to see in Guruvayoor.

Where is Guruvayur Temple located?

Sri Guruvayurappan Temple is located in the temple town of Guruvayur. Situated in the Thrissur district of Kerala in South India, it is a must visit spiritual place in South India.

Who built Guruvayoor temple?

There is no clear record of who built Guruvayoor temple? Some accounts say that it was a Pandya King who built the temple in ancient days.

Guruvayur Temple History 

Guruvayoor temple has an interesting history. The temple has gone through many ups and down through the course of history. From cruel Islamic attacks to fire to the present cheerful and spiritual atmosphere at the temple, much water has flown under the bridge. Guruvayur temple history has indeed seen many ups and downs.

When was Guruvayoor temple built?

It is ascertained that the main presiding deity is 5,000 years old. In fact, the word Kuruvayur has been mentioned in the Tamil literature called Kokasandesam in the 14th century. References to Kuruvayur have also been made in 16th century C.E. It is said that Guruvayur had emerged as a popular spiritual destination of Kerala towards the end of the 16th century. The literal meaning of the word Kuruvai is sea in the ancient Dravidian language.

However, the earliest recorded history of Guruvayur temple can be traced back to the 17th century C.E. The present structure which devotees throng today was rebuilt in the year 1638 C.E. There have been several renovations over the years in Guruvayur Devaswom.

Islamic Attacks on Guruvayur Temple 

Who attacked Guruvayur Temple?Like many ancient and medieval Hindu temple, Guruvayoor temple also suffered several Islamic attacks from outsiders. However, the temple management remained successful in protecting the Dharma. Due to the selfless defence of our ancestors, we are still able to visit Guruvayur Temple.

Invasive Attacks by Hyder Ali

Hyder Ali, had attacked and captured Calicut in the year 1766 C.E. Not satisfied he casts his evil gaze at the Guruvayoor temple. Hyder Ali threatened to demolish the sacred Hindu temple of Guruvayur in Kerala. He demanded 10,000 fanams from the temple management, if the Hindu priests wanted to protect the temple from destruction.

The temple authorities eventually paid him the said amount and saved the temple and its idol. India being the rich country since times immemorial always attracted ill intended invaders from Europe and Middle East.

Attacks by invader Tipu Sultan

The Islamic invader Tipu Sultan, staying true to his character plundered in the Guruvayurappan temple and set it on fire. Tipu’s exploitative invasion of Zamorin of Calicut’s province in 1789 is well known. Tipu Sultan was the son of Haider Ali.

Tipu Sultan was known for causing grave damage to Hindu temples and sentiments. Not satisfied after destroying the famous (and nearby) Mammiyoor temple and Palayur Christian Church, Tipu cast his evil eyes on Guruvayoor temple next. He destroyed many places in the temple and set it on fire. Luckily it rained and not all was lost to the barbaric acts of Tipu.

Traumatised by the cruel intentions of Tipu Sultan, the main idol or the moola vigraha of Guruvayoor Temple was relocated to Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple by Mallisseri Namboodiri and Kakkad Othikkan. This temple is located in Travancore.

The idol had a safe sanctuary here until fortunately Tipu Sultan’s military regime met its inevitable end. Feeling a sigh of relief, the idol was brought back to the Guruvayur temple with much fanfare on 17 September 1792. Renovation, rebuilding and reforms followed. Hindus owe a lot to their ancestors who fought for the Dharma.

Even now daily prayers aka pooja are conducted at the Ambalapuzha Sri Krishna Temple, even though the idol was kept here temporarily.

To this day, one can see the vestiges of injustices done by Islamic invaders on India. The damage done to Hindu temples by Islamic invaders can still be observed at the temples of Vengidangu, Panmayanadu and especially the Garbhagriha of Parampathali.

It is sad to know that Hindus were circumsized and converted to Islam in large numbers by Tipu Sultan. This is why Muslims are still a majority in the Malabar and Malappuram region. These Indian Muslims aware Hindu originally.

Soul Window Observations

How can I write about ancient Buddhist places and Hindu temples and not stumble upon the disturbing accounts of destruction and plundering done by Muslim invaders?

A Soul Window, the Top Travel Blog of India is also said to be the No.1 travel blog of India by many online portals and print journals.

Do read my blogs on the other temple I have visited which were destroyed.

  • Qutub Minar in Delhi
  • Ellora in Maharashtra
  • Srirangam in Tamilnadu
  • Konark Temple in Odisha
  • Somnath Temple in Gujarat
  • Nalanda University in Bihar
  • Sri Jagannath Puri in Odisha
  • Govind Dev temple in Mathura
  • Vishveshvur Temple in Mathura
  • Martand Temple in Srinagar in Kashmir
  • Trimbakeshwar in Nasik in Maharashtra
  • Elephanta Caves in Mumbai in Maharashtra
  • Sri Ram Janam Bhoomi in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh
  • Sri Krishna Janam Bhoomi in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh
  • Kashi Vishwanath Mandir in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh
  • Chausath Yogini Temple in Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh

It is indeed a shame that Tipu destroyed 99% of Hindu temple during his military exercises. It is inane to celebrate Tipu Jayanti by Hindus every year. The other temples damaged by Tipu were located at Kozhikode. Some of them were Thalikkunnu, Puthur, Varackal, Thali, Govindapuram and Thiruvannur. He continued to badly destroy the sacred Hindu temples of Thriprangatu, Thrikkandiyoor and Keraladheeswaram in Vettum.

Fire in Guruvayaoor temple

A massive fire on 30th November 1970 that swept through the Guruvayurappan temple had caused much damage to it. It happened during the Ekadasi lighting and continued for around 5 hours. Luckily the main shrine and other temples in the premises remained unscathed from the mishap.

Legend of Guruvayur & Mammiyur Sri Mahadeva Temple

All you wanted to know about Guruvayur temple is shared in this information packed blog.

It is said that when Sri Krishna left for Baikuntha or Vaikunda, once his purpose was over on Earth as an avatar of Vishnu ji, his city Dwarka, in the now Gujarat was swallowed whole by the sea. He left behind a Vigraha Idol, which floated on the surface of the waves. The idol was designed by himself. Vayu Bhagwan and Planet Jupiter searched for his idol and found it. Now they started looking for an appropriate place to install the idol.

They finally settled for the present state of Kerala which was created by Parashurama, the 6th avatar of Vishnu ji. The bank of Rudra Teertha, which was the then home of Shiv ji was chosen as the venue. Shiv ji was pleased to have Krishna ji stay by his side.

The place where temple of Shiv ji was established was known as Mahimai Oor or ‘Mahima of Shiv ji’. Mahima means glory in English. Later it became Mammiyur. We will read about Mammiyur temple later in this travel blog.

Darshan at Guruvayur Temple

Every day is a festival in Sri Guruvayurappan Temple as thousands and lakhs of people throng its premises in order to offer prayers and ask for wish fulfilment. Free darshan is available and that is also the most popular one. However, free darshan also has the longest queue. Though one can get quicker VIP Darshan for a fee but I prefer standing in queue like everyone else. It is the top thing to do in Guruvayur Temple.

Guruvayur Temple Queues for Darshan

Be prepared for a long serpentine queue if you want to have the regular darshan inside the main Guruvayoor Devaswom. The queues are endless and it can take hours for your turn to come. This is why thousands of Hindu devotees turn up at the shrine early morning and patiently await their turn while standing in queue.

Some pilgrims even sit at the benches available near the queues. I was amazed to learn that lakhs of people visit Guruvayurappan temple throughout the day. It was a mela (fair) like atmosphere here.

I spent some time observing the devotees and people watching. Just looking at the people gives you a quick insight into the language, costumes, food, lifestyle etc of the local people.

Guruvayur Temple Darshan timings continue throughout the day.

Is there any special darshan in Guruvayur?

As per a signboard outside the Guruvayur Devaswom : Devotees taking ticket for Ghee lamp offering in Sreekovil for INR 4,500/INR 1,000 are entitled for direct darshan of Lord Guruvayoorappan for five persons/one person respectively. So yes, you can have a quicker darshan for a fee.

Guruvayur Temple Architecture

Typical Kerala style of architecture using the ancient Vastuvidya (Vastu knowledge) is used to build the Guruvayur Temple. The holy Krishna Temple faces the East direction. There are 3 rooms and 2 stairs inside the square shaped Guruvayurappan temple.

It is believed that Vishwakarma, the divine architect designed this ancient temple. Did you know that such is the design of the temple that on the day of Vishu festival, the first rays of Sun fall on the feet of Vishnu Bhagwan.

The other prominent architectural features of the temple are as below:


The temple has two Gopurams, namely the East Gopuram called as Kizhakkenada and the West Gopurams known as Padinjarenada.


Also known as Nadappura, it is the tiled roof which stretches all the way from East Gopuram to West side of Nalambalam. People admire the paintings as they wait for their turn at Darshan in this shade. It is also spelt as Anapanthal.


These are the steps which leads tothe Garbhagriha of the Guruvayur Temple of Kerala.As is common in all South Indian Temple, you can notice carvings and interesting designs on the stone stairs.


The innermost room of Sree Kovil where people worship is known as the Garbhagriha. Needless to say, the main idol of Sri Krishna, the presiding deity is placed in the Garbhagriha. There are actually two layers here. The roof of copper sheet is plated with Gold inside the garbhagriha.

In this holy shrine, you can easily see why India is one of the wealthiest nations of the world and is known as the Sone Ki Chidiya or The Golden Bird.

It is pretty evident at the Guruvayoor temple. Not only are the two doors and roof of the Garbhagriha are covered with Gold but also the articles kept inside the sanctum sanctorum are made up of Gold as well. The original doors of Sreekovil have now been replaced with a gold-plated door with golden bells. There are as many as 100 silver bells here. All of them are plated with Gold.


It is the outer room. It is one of the most important places of Guruvayoor.

Murals of Krishna ji in Guruvayoor temple


I spent a lot of time admiring the murals on the walls of the Sree Kovil. You can see the murals depicting Krishna Leela here. These date back to the 17th century C.E. The traditional murals paintings which depict scenes from the Krishnaleela and Puranic tales can be observed on all the 3 sides. Erotic scenes can also be noticed. Murals can also be seen on outside walls of the Guruvayoor temple.

Also read: Have you heard of the Erotic art on the Aghoreshvara Temple in Ikkeri, Kartanaka?

Namaskara Mandapam

This is located in front of the Sree temple. It is square is shape and has a pyramid like roof. The information you will find in this detailed travel guide on Guruvayur temple is not available anywhere else. This is the most exhaustive article on Guruvayur Mandir.


Nalambalam or the Chuttambalam is a pillared square hall that surrounds the above mentioned Namaskara Mandapam. You can see scores of Vilakkumatam or oil lamps on the walls of the Nalambalam. Balipeetams can also be seen nearby.


This is a temple well and a source of water. It is located towards the North East direction of the Sree Kovil.


This is where prasadauttu is available. The devotees can also have the daily lunch right here. Oottupura is located towards the north of the temple.


Like most South Indian temples, Sree Kovil has a water tank too. Rudratheertha, the temple tank of Guruvayoor is located towards the Northern side of the temple.


Also known as Dwijasthamba or Kodimaram, you can-not unsee this architectural wonder. Completely covered in gold, this towering 70 feet tall flag staff or flag pole is impossible to ignore.


The pillars of lights spread across the temple complex are unmissable. As I strolled around the Shri Krishna Temple premises, I noticed several of Deepastambas scattered around, especially the ones located at each Gopuram. One of the 2 Deepastambas located near the West Gopuram is shaped like a tree. It looks magical when lighting in the evening.

The Deepastamba in the eastern direction is the most notable. Measuring a whooping 24 feet in height, this Deepastamba has 13 circular receptacles which holds the wicks.


It is located on the east side of Nalambalam.

Sub shrines

Lakhs of devotees pay their respects at the Sastha or Lord Ayyappan temple aka Shashtha or Sri Ayappa temple. It is located towards the South of the Nalambalam. Another temple devoted to Devi Edathirithi Kavu is located towards the North of the temple.

Shrines for Upadevata and Ganesh ji are also located nearby. Shri Vishnu sleeping on Sheshshaiyya with Bhoodevi and Sridevi is another important place of worship here. It is quite similar to its counterparts in Padmanabhaswamy Temple at Thiruvananthapuram.  


Ancient classical dances of South India such as Koothu used to be performed in Koothambalam in old days. It is located towards the north east of the Lord Ayyappan Temple.


This area is reserved as a granary.

Devaswom Museum of Guruvayur Temple 

After the breath-taking Bharatnatyam dance performances were over, I headed to the nearby Devaswom Museum. Located within the premises of the Guruvayur temple, the Devaswom Museum houses some of the best treasures. Rare and quirky displays such as the elephant teeth of Guruvayur Keshavan have been exhibited in this small museum of Guruvayur Devaswom. 

The other displays in the museum include works of famous poets such as Melapthur and Ponnthanam, objects associated with the temple, rare artefacts, jewels, ornaments, mural paintings, local musical instruments of Kerala, accessories used in dances such as Kathakali and Krishnattam etc. It is a must visit place in Guruvayur in Kerala. Many of the displays exhibited here have been gifted to the temple over the years.

The local authority stopped me when I was taking pictures and videos of the Devaswom Museum. Photography is strictly prohibited here. One also needs to take off their footwear before visiting this temple museum. It is one of the best places to see in Guruvayoor Kerala. It is an important place of interest within the temple complex.

Entry Fee of Museum

I was surprised to see that there was no entry fee for the museum. Yes, the museum is free to visit for everyone. There are indeed so many free things to do in Guruvayur Temple. It is not to be missed!

Melpathur Auditorium of Guruvayur Temple

As I strolled around the campus of Guruvayur Temple Kerala, the sound of dance and music from the Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple Auditorium pulled me towards it. I was rivetted when the I beautifully dressed trained dancers performing ancient Indian classical dances such as Bharatnatyam and Mohiniyattam with the perfection of a fish swimming in calm waters.

Bharatnatyam dance in Melpathur Auditorium of Guruvayur Temple

The classical dancers who were young girls were decked up in their sartorial best, which included jewelleries, colourful costumes and gajra made from fresh fragrant flowers tied to their hair. The dancers happily posed with me for pictures near the green room.

The Melpathur Auditorium of Sri Guruvayurappan Temple which has house more than 2,000 people at a time was jam packed when I was there. The audience were rivetted to their seats as the classical dancers unfolded the magic on the stage. Thanks to the numerous free performances, it is a major tourist attraction of Guruvayur Devaswom. Many people also come here for picnics because there are many sightseeing attractions nearby.

The spacious stage of the Malpathur auditorium is used for hosting classical dance, classical music, spiritual discourses and symposia on cultural and spiritual discussions. The auditorium is available for rent throughout the year for such functions.

The other important halls and auditoriums at Guruvayurappan temple are listed as below:

  • Temple Adyathmika Hall: You can attend Sapthaham and Narayaneeyaparayanam between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. here.
  • Guruvayur Satyagraha Smaraka Mandiram: It is also known as the Poonthanam auditorium. It is a fully centralised air-conditioned banquet hall which people book for marriages and hosting cultural performances. This auditorium was built in the memory of another poet Poonthanam. He was theauthor of Jnanappana and Guruvayoor Satyagraha.
  • Ambadi hall: It is the dining hall of the temple. Dining room is also known as Agrasala.
  • Sreevalsam Annex Conference Hall: This hall serves as a venue for conferences and seminars.
  • Kshethram Aadyaatmika Hall: Think Sapthaham (7 days- 6pm to 10pm), Akhandanamam and more!

Entry Fee at Malpathur auditorium

The best time to attend the spiritual discourse at Malpathur auditorium are during the months of Vaisakha (April-May), Ramayana Masa (July-August) and Mandala Pooja (November-December). The good part is that there is no entrance fee to watch these. Based on my experience, it is my practical advice to take a free walking tour inside the premises of Guruvayur Devaswom.

Yes, these performances and discourses are free for general public. Some of the other performances you can see in the auditorium free of cost are dance performances/Kacheri, Kathakali, Ganamela/Bale, Namajapam/Bhajana/Paaraayanam. I have not been to any other place which has such variety of free thing to doand most of it is world class.

Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri & Narayaneeyam

The Melpathur Auditorium of Guruvayur Temple was constructed in the memory of the great saint poet called Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri (1560-1666 C.E.) He was a true bhakt (devotee) of Lord Guruvayoorappan and composed the outstanding Narayaneeyam, the devotional poem in Sanskrit.

He had composed the poem at the mere age of 27. It is said that he had miraculously defeated paralysis and recovered to live a healthy life again.

Also spelt as Narayaniyam, this medieval Sanskrit text was first printed after 250 years of its completion in the year 1586 C.E. Nārāyaṇīyam is the condensed formof Bhagvat Purana, the ancient Hindu scripture.It is anunusual place to see in Guruvayur Devaswom.

Soul Window Thoughts

It is a pleasure to see that the ancient culture of India is still alive and thriving beyond our westernised societies. Very few nations of the world can boast of something like that in the age of one size fits all world. As the world becomes boringly same thanks to the invasion of Western culture, it is delightful to see India proudly holding on to its roots and traditions.

Breaking coconuts ritual of Guruvayur Temple

This well researched article on Guruvayur temple will explain all the rituals in great detail. These interesting facts are not mentioned in old school traditional travel guide books of yore.

I saw many devotees taking turns to throw coconut in a designated spot near Guruvayur temple. This place is located slightly away from the crowds. I had no idea why they do it and why at a designated spot. I also could not understand why they were throwing coconuts in a cemented enclosure from a distance.

I posted my query on my social media channels and got many responses. Some people had also seen a similar tradition in Chattisgarh.

Breaking coconuts in this style is the most unique and unusual thing to do in Guruvayoor Temple. It is also a popular thing to do in Guruvayur Devaswomwith family and kids. Here are some lesser-known facts about rituals of Guruvayur Temple.

Breaking coconut near Melpathur Auditorium of Guruvayur Temple

As per Anu Satheesh, a blogger on Hinduism,

“Coconut is mainly broken before Ganapathy, in Guruvayoor. Near auditorium there is a place near Ganapathy temple where we can break Coconut. People throw Coconut to fulfill any desire/ to get rid of any problems or for wishes. It’s a belief that Coconut breaking will solve all their problems in life.

And while breaking a Coconut it should be cut into many pieces, not in half. That’s why it is thrown from a distance. Also, while throwing if Coconut was in a damaged condition then it is also not a good sign.”

As per Bangalore based travel blogger friend Chittra M,

“So, all Hindu temples in South have this ritual. It is part of the pooja plate which has flower, coconut and banana.  We pray and give these as offering by breaking it.

Mostly breaking the coconut is to remove hurdles much like breaking something hard for results/fruit analogy. E.g., “God please help pass this exam, I’ll break so many coconuts.”

It can go as high as 100 coconuts. Breaking coconuts in Hindu temples also remove evil eye. When people buy new car or new house, in front of that too they break coconut. Designed spot for breaking coconut is just to keep it clean. Also, if everyone breaks coconut at one spot all water and coconuts is easily collected.

As per another Kerala based travel blogger friend Soumya Nambiar, who also got married in Guruvayoor,

“It does not happen only in Kerala. It happens in a lot of temples around Kerala. It is given as an offering to Lord Ganesh for removing obstacles. They give back the broken coconuts as prasad as well.”

Soul Window Facts

Did you know that the Guruvayoor temple still strictly follows the ritualistic traditions set by Adi Sankarachaya? Ancient Vedic traditions are followed even today in Guruvayoor.

The poojas performed are Nirmalayam, Vakacharthu, Malar Naivedyam, Usha Naivedyam, Ethirettu Pooja, Seevli, Palabhishekam, Navabhishekam, Pantheeradi pooja, Ucha pooja and lastly evening pooja.

Festivals of Guruvayur Temple 

There are many festivals which are celebrated in and around Guruvayur Temple and the nearby Thrissur. Like me you can also plan a travel to Thrissur and Guruvayoor temple during one of the below mentioned major festivals.

Guruvayur Temple Sree Krishna Jayanthi

There are many Hindu festivals which are celebrated with much fanfare in Guruvayoor temple. Guruvayur Temple Sree Krishna Jayanthi or Sri Krishna Janamashtami marks the birthday of Krishna ji. Janmashtami falls in the Malayalam month of Chingam.


The 10 days long Ulsavam festivities begin with hoisting flag at the Dhwaja Stambha. People congregate in large numbers to attend Ulsavam, which mostly falls in the month of February or March. It is one of the best things to do in Guruvayur Devaswom.

Guruvayur Ekadasi

Guruvayur Ekadasi, which falls in the Malayalam month of Vrischikam is celebrated with much enthusiasm on the eleventh day of the Shukla Paksh as per the Hindu calendar.  


Vishu is a major Hindu festival and is the New Year of Kerala aka Malayali New Year. The harvest festival of Vishu is observed on the first day of the Malayalam month of Medam. Vishu is one of the biggest festivals of Kerala and is celebrated all across Kerala.

Pulikali Festival

I was delighted to attend Pulikali as I had been planning it since eons. Pulikali is a recreational folk art from the South India state of Kerala. Men paint their bellies in various forms of tiger’s face and dance to the beats of local traditional music. Celebrated on the fourth day of Onam, Pulikali is a visual delight. Lakhs of people had gathered on street as the Pulikali procession moved from one street to other.

Pulikali festival happens once a year in Thrissur. It is a must-see festival of Thrissur. Its venue is the streets around Naduvilal and famous Swaraj Ground near Vadakkunnathan Temple. You can plan your trip to Guruvayurappan temple during the Pulikali festival like I did.

Kerala Boat Race

I had planned my trip in a way so that I could see the annual Pulikali festival as well as visit Thrissur. Guruvayur and Kerala Boat race was a last-minute decision after I reached Thrissur. While I succeeded in visiting Guruvayur my attempt to attend Kerala boat race failed.

Kerala Boat Race is a visually stunning spectacle that happens once a year around the same time as Pulikali. The date keeps changing everywhere. A quick online search can get you confirmed dates for both Pulikali as well as Kerala Boat Race. This festival also happens during Onam.

To clarify, both Pulikali and the Famous Snake Boat Race in Kerala have nothing to do with Guruvayur Temple. It is just a suggestion that you can plan your trip around these festivals like I did.

Prasad and offerings at Guruvayur Temple 

As I walked in the temple premises, I noticed that the prasad or the temple food offered at Guruvayoor Temple of Thrissur is very unique and unlike what I have seen till now.

Neyvilakku: SomeDevotees offerlit lamp with ghee for a fee. This also helps them avoid the serpentine queues and get a quicker darshan of the God.

Ahassu: It contains assorted temple food such as Kalabham, Appam, Avil and Adda etc. The devotes who offer Ahassu need to spend whole day at the temple so that they can collect the prasad as and when they are distributed. The tickets for Ahassu must be bought in advance at the booking counter.

Prasada Oottu: Prasad is also known as Oottu in Kerala.

Nai Valappalam: It is banana slicescoated with jaggery or sugar and honey.

Sugar: Plain sugar is also offered as prasad to the God.

Paal Payasam: Prepared with rice cooked in milk, desi ghee and jaggery.

Namaskaram And Athaazham: These are special offerings and done by devotees who had done the Udayasthamana Pooja on the previous day. Not functional on Vavu and Ekadasi night, one offering per day by one devotee is made.

Prasadam Kit: This kit contains holy food such as butter, Thirumudi Mala, Plantain, Malar or puffed rice, sugar etc.

Chorunu: Chorunu is an offering done for children between 5 a.m. and 1 p.m. It is not done on Ekadasi and Vavu nights.

Feeding the poor: Feeding the poor is also considered a way to serve God. Devotees can drop offering tickets at the Poor feeding boxes inside the temple.

Thulabharam: It is a unique way of offering practised at Guruvayoor Temple.

Thulabharam of Guruvayur Devaswom 

Thulabharam is a very common way of making offerings to God in Kerala. Guruvayur temple Thulabharam is very popular with Hindus. It is one of the top things to do in Guruvayoor.

Hindu devotees, whether a child, teenager or old man sit on one side of a huge weighing scale. The staff weighs the person. Now items like dry fruits, fresh fruits, water, Desi Ghee, cardamon, coconut, copper, gold, silver, coins, turmeric, jaggery etc are weighed.

This is then offered to the God. This corresponds to an equivalent of the weight of the devotee.  These are supplied by Devaswam. You can bring in your own items as well. Located on either sides of the temple entrance, one must inform at least a day in advance about the offerings they intend to make.

This is why some devotees stay for 2-3 days in Guruvayoor.  Non-Hindus can avail this facility at the Kalyana Mandapam. There are total of 3 Thulabharam counters in the temple complex.

Soul Window Facts

It is said that Sri Krishna started the tradition of Thulabharam by himself sitting on one of the weighing scales eons ago. Despite keeping numerous items, it failed to move the other side of the scale on which Lord Krishna sat.

His wife Rukmini Devi then took charge of things. She lovingly placed sacred basil on the other side of the scale. It was only now that the platform on which Sri Krishna sat was raised. As per the ancient Hindu scriptures Puranas, it thus signifies that it is the devotion and not mere physical things which makes a difference.

Why is Guruvayur temple Thulabharam done?

The devotees do Tulabharam as it helps them seek relief from distress, or wish fulfilment or even for a cure for an ailment. Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi famously weighed himself against lotus flowers on the other side of the scale.

Each of the item offered helps differently.

  • Lotus flowers: Offering Lotus flowers ensures a long life. It also signifies enhancing mental strength and better prospects at work and business.
  • Coins: Businessmen offer coins and it helps in progress.
  • Butter: For general prosperity
  • Salt: It helps devotees protect themselves from ‘nazar lagna’ or the evil eye. Offering salt at temple also attracts prosperity and a cure from skin related ailments.
  • Sugar: Diabetic offer it for cure.
  • Paddy and rice flakes: To get rid of poverty
  • Sesame seeds: For a long life and protecting them from the curse of Saturn.
  • Jaggery: Cure from stomach related issues.
  • Kadali Banana: It helps in getting cure from various ailments.
  • Manjadi seeds: For long life and peace of mind.
  • Elephant Foot Yam: Offering this helps cure skin related diseases.

Also read: I noticed a very unique style of offering prasad to Gods in Sri Jagannath Temple in Puri Odisha and temples of Bhubaneshwar. Do read my detailed blog on Mahaprasadam at Jagannath Puri.

Guruvayoor temple online booking 

You must visit Guruvayur temple website in order to book special Guruvayoor temple Vazhipadu  (offerings) and other services online. Devotees must at least do the online booking 7 days before the actual date of Vazhipadu. There are no extra charges for booking except for the shipping costs incurred while sending Chandanam and Kalabham. Guruvayoor temple online booking is easy and convenient.

Get married at Guruvayur Temple 

I saw many couples getting married at the Guruvayoor temple when I visited. Dressed in their sartorial best, the couples married in the traditional way under the supervision of local priests. Every day, on suitable muhurat, many Hindu Malayalis tie their nuptial knots in the holy premises of this ancient Hindu temple. Turns out, it is the top thing to do in Guruvayur in Kerala. Guruvayur marriage booking is very popular here.

I could not help but observe some of the rituals of the day marriage and even requested a couple for a photograph. Having born and brought up in Uttar Pradesh in North India, I have been used to opulent, larger than life weddings.

It is thus always a mild culture shock and a welcome change for me every-time when I see simple weddings in the Indian states of Maharashtra, Goa or South India. I find such marriages more intimate and economical. Though I am a fan of the big fat North Indian weddings as well. Pass on the Malai Kofta please!

Registration/cost Wedding packages

Guruvayoor temple marriage booking can be done by submitting photo identity cards such as Aadhar Card, passport copy etc. The couple and their families assemble at Melpathur auditorium.

The weddings happen on the raised platforms of the temple known as mandapam. Marriages take place from 5 a.m. to noon. The couple need to register in advance. Booking a wedding package helps to make wedding arrangements easy.

The cost of marriage in Guruvayoor depends on the services taken by the bride and groom. Cost of booking marriage hall is separate from the cost incurred in Pooja articles, Catering Services, Music, and Flower and Lighting Decoration. Thus, it is better to get one on one quotes directly from the temple. Guruvayur temple marriage booking is easy and convenient.

I have been to many marriages including the simple ones in a village near Kolhapur in Maharashtra. The weddings which I saw in Guruvayoor were the most unique. What better way to get married under divine blessings?

Guruvayur Temple Anandam Donation

Annadanam is the donation of food. Guruvayur Temple Anandam Donation is perhaps one of the earliest forms of donation, the roots of which can be traced back to ancient times. As per the ashrams in Sanatan Dharm, the old people in earlier times used to cut themselves off from society and spend their remaining years at temples.

Other people who could not contribute to society such as diseased people, disabled people etc found refuge in Guruvayur Devaswom. Since they were not able to earn the food for themselves therefore this arrangement of Annadanam was introduced.

Rich people used to offer Annadhanam and temple management also contributed in Annadhanam. In present days also, pilgrims can choose to make an offering in an amount suitable for them. Thousands of pilgrims still eat at Annalakshami Hall which is situated right outside the main shrine. It is operational from 10 a.m to 7:30 p.m.

Solo Budget Travel Tips to Guruvayoor

It is easy to plan a holiday in Guruvayoor and Thrissur aka Trichur as a solo budget traveller. I was on a solo budget trip to Guruvayur temple. In fact, it is possible to do and see a lot in Guruvayoor temple without spending a single rupee. Even the world class performances such as Bhajans, classical music and dances are free. Neither is there any charge for visiting the museum.

Backpacking Budget Travel Tips for Guruvayur Devaswom

Sri Guruvayurappan Temple is one of those rare places which are completely free to visit. And to think of the kind of memorable spiritual and cultural experiences it facilitates! This makes it a dream destination for backpackers and solo budget travellers like me.

The only money I had spent during my visit to the Guruvayoor temple was on the bus fare, hotel, fresh food and shelf food for back home. This makes it one of the most pocket friendly destinations I have ever been to along with Murudeshwar Temple, Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal etc in Karnataka. In fact, most places in India can be visited on a shoestring budget.

Luxury travel Tips for Guruvayoor Devaswom

Guruvayoor Devaswom can be easily visited on a luxury budget. There are many luxury hotels and facilities in both Guruvayoor and Thrissur. It is a very developed place and offers all modern amenities.

ATMs in Guruvayoor Devaswom 

ATMs are easily available in both Guruvayoor as well as Thrissur.

Vegan and vegetarian food at Guruvayur Temple 

After visiting the Guruvayoor temple, I walked at the area around the temple, in search of what else but lip-smacking local vegetarian and vegan food of Kerala. I was intrigued by the sight of bare-chested Malayali men deep frying thinly sliced raw bananas in a Karahi (wok), the size of Lonar crater.

Seduced by the aroma of piping hot coconut oil, I couldn’t help but stop at the shop. I packed in bags of local Banana Chips and assorted local snacks which I could not pronounce the names of. Somehow the banana chips available outside of Kerala just doesn’t taste as good.

As the owner packed the shelf food I ordered, different size, colours and shapes of bananas vied for my attention. Thousands of bananas were carelessly lying around the shops in shades of green, yellow, red and even maroon. South India indeed is one of the highest consumers of Bananas!

Sadya Lunch at Hotel Sukhsagar

I moved on and settled at a restaurant because the crowds loved it. I entered the busy pure vegetarian restaurant anticipating Ambrosia- The food of Gods. I had my traditional Keralan food called as Sadya at Hotel Sukhsagar. It is located at walking distance fromthe temple.

As I ordered my sadya, I couldn’t help but shamelessly stare at the plates of the diners on the next table. That looks like Rasam? And is that Cabbage Thoran? OMG, that for sure is Avial! Got the drift, eh?

My vegetarian Sadya included thick Kerala Rice topped with sambhar. It was accompanied with thorans and other vegetables. Other accompaniments were pickles, curd (not vegan) and pappadams. Milk Payasam, not vegan, was served as desserts. It was a hearty meal for a throw away price. No wonder so many people queued up for a bite here.

Soul Window Silliness

To add: They made a blunder…. A serious mistake! When I asked for extra Rasam (because it was too good), they gave me entire jug. I shoved it all down my giraffe like throat when they were looking away. Then I started singing, with hands in pockets and left when they were looking away. As if nothing happened.

And oh, I forgot to tell you about Avalos Unda I had in Kerala near Guruvayur Temple.  It’s roasted rice powder ball mixed with coconut, jaggery, cardamom powder, dried ginger and cumin.  I have always said that Indian local food is super healthy and delicious!

Beef Alert!

I was not comfortable eating at the beef heavy hotels near the bus stand in Thrissur so I decided to eat when bus stops. However, they stopped at a place which served a pathetic Matar aka Ghughni of North East India with a bizzare paratha. Even they were beef heavy. I could not eat much and bought some chips packets to feel full.

All places near Guruvayoor temple serve delicious vegetarian and vegan food. However, if you are in Thrissur then it can be a challenge to find pure vegetarian restaurant. I found the best place for vegans and vegetarians near Vadakkumnathan Temple. Located at walking distance from Vadakkumnathan temple, Sree Radhakrishna Coffee Club serves pure vegetarian food.

Vegans can request to not serve them dishes that contain desi ghee, honey or dairy products. Their menu offers delicious and cheap tea, coffee, Mendu Vada, Bonda, Iddly, Banana Fry, Uppuma, Onion Oothappam, Onion roast, plain Oothappam, Dosa roast, Masala Dosa, Poori Masala, Chappathy and even Veg Biryani. I ordered a huge Onion Oothappam and filter coffee which was more than enough for me.

Excursions: Places and Temples near Guruvayur Temple 

There are many places you can consider visiting near Guruvayur temple. Most of these places are easily accessible from Thrissur by KSRTC buses. Most of these places to visit are between half an hour away to 3 hours away from Guruvayur in Kerala.

Mammiyur Sri Mahadeva Temple

Also known as Mammiyur Mahadeva Kshetram or Mammiyoor Temple, it is a famous temple devoted to Shiv Bhagwan. This major attraction is one of the 5 main Shiva temple around Guruvayur Devaswom and thus top offbeat place to see near Guruvayoor Mandir.

I walked up to Mammiyur Sri Mahadeva Temple from Guruvayoor temple. It has a large complex. Most people who visit Guruvayoor Temple, also visit the Mammiyur Sri Mahadeva Temple.Festivals such as Ashtami Rohini and Mahashivtari are celebrated on a grand scale here.

Shiv ji is present in his Uma Maheshwara form here. This form of the divine depicts Maa Parvati on his left. Located nearby is a temple for Vishnu ji. The other smaller shrines are dedicated to Maa Kali, Mother Bhagwati Amman, Ganapathi ji, Muruga, Lord Ayyappan, Darma Sastha, Brahmmarakshas, serpent deities or Naga Devatas and Lord Subrahmanya.

Mammiyur Sri Mahadeva Temple is one of the most famous 108 temple dedicated to Shiv ji across Kerala. In past Islamic invader Tipu Sultan caused major damage to the Mammiyur temple. It is located just 200 metres away from Guruvayoor temple in the North West direction. It is a free thing to do in Guruvayoor.

Every devotee who visits Guruvayur Devaswom considers his/her journey complete only after they also visit the nearby Mammiyur temple. It is one of the most famous temples near Guruvayoor.   

Poojas performed in Mammiyur Sri Mahadeva Temple

This is the only place where you can hear the priests chant the sacred Rig Veda Dhara chanting mantra from the Rig Veda. It happens every morning between 6:45 a.m. and 7:15 a.m. Maha Mrityunjay Homa for cure from ailments and long life is also performed for a small fee.

Other poojas performed here are Thambati Puja for kids, Ekadasa Rudrabhisheka, Naga Pooja, Brahma Rakshasa Pooja, Lord Laxminarayana Pooja, Lord Uma Maheswara Puja, Rahu Pooja. Devotees offer vastras here during Abhishek ceremonies. It is an inseparable part of visiting Guruvayoor.

Timings of Mammiyur Sri Mahadeva Temple

Mammiyur Sri Mahadeva Temple is open from 6:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in morning and from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the evening.

Muthuvara Mahadeva Temple, Thrissur

What else can I do in 1 day in Guruvayoor? While plying on the road between Thrissur and Guruvayur Temple, a huge yellow and red building caught my attention as I stared out of the huge KSRTC bus windows.

I stopped here while returning to Thrissur from the famous Guruvayoor Sree Krishna Temple. Turns out it was the famous Shiva Temple of Thrissur known as Muthuvara Mahadeva Temple. It is also one of the top attractions near Guruvayoor and Thrisshivaperur aka Thrissur.

Larger than life doors were flanked by dwarpaals on either side! A huge sculptor of Vishnu ji and his 8th avatar Krishan Bhagwan flanked another gate. Red tailed roof added to the aesthetic of the temple. Only to be marred by the ugly looking modern high-rise buildings in the background.

Located in Mutuvara in Thrissur, it is said that Lord Parashurama, the 6th Avatar of Vishnu Bhagwan has installed the idol in this temple. To add there are two major shrines located here, one dedicated to Shiv ji and another to Vishnu Bhagwan. The idols are placed in the Rowdrabhavam.

Muthuvara Mahadeva Temple is also one of the 108 Maha Shiva Kshetras of Kerala. These 108 temples were built by Lord Parashuram across Kerala in order to protect Kerala, its people and its culture. These are some of the most sacred and powerful temples of Kerala. I had also visited Vadakkunnathan Temple or the Sri. Mad. Dakshina Kailasam in Thrissur City which is also one of these 108 temples.

Dhara & Mruthyunjaya homam are the main prasadam that are offered here. Apart from Thrissur Junction and Guruvayur Junction, the other two nearby railway stations are Punkunnam Rail Way Station and Amalanagar Rail Way Station.

I stopped here while I was sitting on the Guruvayur and Thrissur bus. You can take any bus from Thrissur which is going towards Guruvayoor Devaswom and vice the versa. It will stop right at the main entrance of the temple if you request so.

Hindu devotees throng here to offer prayers and for wish fulfilment. On major Hindu festivals such as Mahashivratri, the temple sees more people than usual. There are 5 banyan trees in the temple premises which makes the atmosphere here green and breezy.

Muthuvara Mahadeva Temple is located closer to Thrissur. It is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is located close to Sobha Mall and Amala Hospital. Parking area big enough to even accommodate many buses is available here. The temple is easily visible from the road. It is one of the largest temples near Guruvayoor. Entry, of course is free here. Yes, it is a free thing to do in Guruvayur.


What else is there to do in Guruvayoor? Located just 3 kilometres away from Guruvayoor temple, Punnathurkotta is a former palace cum fort of a local ruler. This ancient edifice is located in Kottapadi. It is also known as Anakkotta. The palace premises is also home to temples dedicated to Shiv Bhagwan and Bhagavathi, a female Hindu deity.

The campus also has a Naalu Kettu, a rectangular home with a huge central courtyard, the simple Keralan architecture of which is still worth appreciating. Built in a traditional way, it once was a property of Punnathur Raja.  

In fact, owing to its beauty, “Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha”, a well-known Malayalam film starring actor Mammooty was partly shot here. Punnathurkotta is open for general public from 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is a small entrance fee charged here. It is one of the unusual things to do in Guruvayoor.

Beautiful old carvings on wood can be seen here. Avoid indulging in entertainment or worshipping live elephants here. I feel elephants should not be held captive.  Guruvayur Kesavan aka Gajarajan Guruvayur Keshavan was the most famous elephant. But do we know the pain of that elephant, forced to live a life in chains when he should have roamed free in jungles.

Alapuzzha backwaters

This is a major attraction near the temple. You can visit the famous backwaters of Kerela in Alapuzzha.

I had actually planned to see the world-famous Nehru Trophy Boat race of Kerala. Luckily the boat race and Pulikali fell around the same time when I visited. However, I was not lucky enough. I started late from Thrissur and it was late evening when I arrived at a place from where I would have to take another connecting bus to Alapuzzha.

I would have surely missed the boat race. So, after much back and forth thinking and binge eating the local Vadas out of my sweet frustration, I decided to turn back. That entire day was spent travelling in buses.

Me in Alapuzzha backwaters of Kerala.

The saving grace was that I got the huge KSRCTC bus window seats both the times. The passing scenes were soothing to the eyes and the weather perfect. I arrived after dark in Thrissur. I went back to my hotel, checked out and caught a bus to Bangalore on the same night.  

It went wrong because I didn’t plan well. But if you plan well, you can attend boat race festival in Alapuzzha backwaters, enjoy a boat ride on Vembanad lake, visit Fort Kochi, attend Pulikal festival in Thrissur, visit Guruvayur temple, see all the top attractions of Thrissur and nearby places and much more!

I had taken a connecting bus from Thrissur to Alapuzzha via Kottayam. I had to change bus at Kottayam to reach Alapuzzha via KSRTC bus. Kottayam is one hour and 47 kilometres away from Alapuzzha. From the bus window I noticed that the bus had passed through places such as Shri Shankaracharya Sanskrit Vidyalaya and huge Church called St Anthony Forane Church.

Fort Kochi

You can also visit the erstwhile colonial town Fort Kochi. The top places to see here include old churches, a Jew town, a synagogue, old palaces, graffiti on walls, Kathakali performances, spice markets and what not. It is still an offbeat place. Do read my detailed guide on Fort Kochi.

Cleanliness at Guruvayoor Devaswom

I was super impressed with the cleanliness of Guruvayoor Temple and Mammiyur temple. Despite the huge influx of pilgrims daily, the management has been successful in keeping the temple premises spic and span! I was impressed to see similar high level of cleanliness during my trip to Maa Vaishno Devi in Katra, in Jammu and Kashmir.

Best time to visit Guruvayur Temple 

It is a very commonly asked question on Guruvayur temple. I was on a solo, budget trip to Guruvayur temple. I visited the holy Guruvayoor temple on 15th September. It was a good time to visit Guruvayoor Temple.

Neither was it hot, nor was it humid when I visited Guruvayoor Devaswom in September. The weather of Guruvayur was crispy, pollution free and pleasant in September. The temperature was also moderate in September.

Guruvayoor temple timings 

Guruvayur temple is open from 3:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Throughout the day poojas and aartis happens at set time. It is therefore a good idea to come early morning to avoid crowds. However, the museum opens later. Also, the dance and music programmes happen around mid-morning and afternoon.

Please note that Guruvayoor temple remains closed between 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Duration of Visit in Guruvayur

Is one day enough for Guruvayur in Kerala?

How many days to spend in Guruvayur? What can I do in 1 day in Guruvayur?

This is also a frequently asked question on Guruvayur temple. Yes, one day is enough for a viist to Guruvayur in Kerala. In fact, I visited Guruvayoor temple as a day trip from Thrissur. It took me just few hours to enjoy and soak in the ambiance at the holy Krishna temple. Do visit this ancient temple if you love going off the beaten track.

What can I do in 2 days in Guruvayur?

You can choose to stay overnight in Guruvayur or head back to Thrissur on the first day and do sightseeing in Thrissur on next day. This is how I spent 2 days around Guruvayur temple.

Where to stay near Guruvayur Temple 

I had stayed at a budget hotel in Thrissur. I found the hotel at walking distance from the bus stand where Bangalore to Thrissur bus dropped me. I just checked out some of the available hotel and walked in.

There is no dearth of Guruvayur Devaswom accommodation. It is a bustling place. Most of the hotels in Guruvayoor are located near the East Nada or gate of the temple. Some of the semi luxury and budget hotels located near East Nada which you can consider are

  • Seethas regency (Ac and Non-Ac rooms, walking distance)
  • Sreepathi Nirmalayam
  • Sreepathi Indraprastha
  • Sopanam Heritage (Has a pool too)
  • Bhavanam Regency
  • Hotel Vishu Inn
  • Rajavalsam Hotel.

Hotels in Thrissur

Since Thrissur is a small place, most of the main attractions of Thrissur were located within a few kilometres from here. I continued staying at Shanti Tourist Home in Thrissur and made a day trip to Guruvayoor. Shanti Tourist Home is a simple hotel, with very neat and clean rooms at throw away prices.

It is centrally located and at walking distance from the main bus stand of Thrissur. It is also located near all the major attractions of Thrissur. I got a bus to Guruvayoor Devaswom from right outside my hotel.

If you want you can choose to stay at either Thrissur or at Guruvayur. Plenty of hotels, lodges, guest houses and other accommodation types are available around Guruvayoor temple of Kerala. Advantage of staying at a hotel in Guruvayoor is that you can literally walk up to the Shri Krishna Temple.

Local Transport for sightseeing in Guruvayoor Devaswom

Guruvayoor is a bustling place. All means of public transport are easily available here throughout the day. Since so many devotees visit the temple on a daily basis, the frequency of public transport is excellent. The road conditions are also very good here.

How to reach Guruvayur Temple 

Guruvayur Temple is an easy and quick weekend getaway from Bengaluru, Mysuru and Thrissur.

It is very easy to arrive at Guruvayoor temple or the Sree Krishna temple. I was on a trip to Thrissur from Bengaluru aka Bangalore. I had taken an overnight bus from Bangalore to Thrissur. After attending the annual Pulikali festival and doing the sightseeing in Thrissur, I decided to visit Guruvayurappan temple as a day trip. The bus ride was very cheap and it allowed me to travel with local people of Kerala.

It hardly took around 45 minutes to cover the 28 kilometres between Thrissur and Guruvayoor Devaswom via SH49. Another route is from Thrissur-Kunnamkulam Road.

Guruvayoor temple address

Below is the complete address of Guruvayur Temple:

Guruvayur Devaswom, East Nada, Guruvayoor, near Thrissur, Kerala 680101

By Road Trip

You can hire a cab from Thrissur or even self-drive from Thrissur to Guruvayoor temple. This will allow you to make quick stops at some interesting Hindu temples on the way. The road in this region is in very good condition and uncrowded. It is a pleasure to drive between Thrissur and Guruvayur in Kerala.  

By bus

I boarded a random Government bus from Thrisssur and arrived right at the entrance of the revered Guruvayoor Devaswom. I love the huge windows of the buses of Kerala State Road Transport Corporation or the KSRTC. Their windows have no grills and offer an amazing unhindered view of the world outside.

By rail

Luckily, Guruvayoor has its own railway station which is located at a 10 minutes’ walk away from the main temple. You can directly reach Guruvayur Junction via train.

Alternatively, you can also arrive at Thrissur Junction aka Trichur from Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai or Bangalore. This way you can visit Thrissur first and then later make an easy day trip to Guruvayur from Thrissur.

You can take passenger trains, buses or pre-paid taxis from Thrissur junction.

By air

Guruvayur does not have an airport. Strangely, an important city like Thrissur doesn’t have an airport either. The closest airport from Guruvayoor temple and Thrissur is Cochin International Airport. Another airport is at the Calicut International Airport. The airports at both Cochin and Calicut are connected with most big and small cities of India.

You can either hire a taxi or take a KSRTC bus from Calicut or Cochin to Thrissur. From Thrissur you can take a quick bus directly to the entrance of the Guruvayoor Temple, also known as Sree Krishna temple.

Distances from Guruvayoor Devaswom

The sacred temple town of Guruvayur is located just 4 kms away from the National Highway-66 aka Panavel-Kanyakumari Highway. Let us have a look at distance from famous places of South India to Guruvayur in ascending order.

Distances, time taken and route

Distance between Thrissur to Guruvayur Temple is 27 kilometres and it takes just 45 minutes via NH49 and Thrissur-Kunnamkulam road.

Distance between Cochin aka Kochi to Guruvayoor Temple is 92 kilometres and it takes around 2 hours 40 minutes via NH66.

Distance between Fort Kochi to Guruvayur Temple is 99 kilometres and it takes around 2 hours 40 minutes via NH66.

Distance between Calicut to Guruvayurappan temple is 94 kilometres and it takes around 2 hours 40 minutes via NH66 and Tirur Kadalundi road.

Distance between Alapuzzha to Guruvayur Temple is 138 kilometres and it takes around 3 hours 30 minutes via NH66 and Panvel-Kochi-Kanyakumari highway.

Distance between Munnar to Guruvayoor temple is 178 kilometres and it takes around 4 hours 40 minutes via Aluva-Munnar road.

Distance between Thiruvananthapuram to Guruvayurappan temple is 285 kilometres and it takes around 7 hours via NH66.

Distance between Bangalore to Guruvayur Temple is 500 kilometres and it takes around 9 hours via NH44 and NH544.

Distance between Chennai to Guruvayoor temple is 640 kilometres and it takes around 11 hours via NH544 or Chenni Thenni highway or Chennai-Villupuram-Trichy-Kanyakumari road.

Distance between Madurai to Guruvayoor Temple is 305 kilometres and it takes around 6 hours and 30 minutes via Pollachi-Dharapuram-Karur road.

Distance between Valparai to Guruvayur Temple is 161 kilometres and it takes around 4 hours and 20 minutes via Valparai Athirapilli road.

Shopping guide in Guruvayur Temple 

So, what do people buy at Guruvayoor temple? The area around the Guruvayur temple, especially the East and West nadas (gates) is abuzz with more than 100 shops of all kinds. Most of the shops sell offerings for the God such as flowers, fruits, sweets and other offerings. Since it is a major tourism destination as well where families travel in large groups,

I was also amused to see shops selling cheap plastic toys for kids, trinkets, clothes, handicrafts, books, jewellery, Kathakali masks, Nettipattam, show pieces, metal artifacts, the works! Many shops also sell portraits and idols of Gods and Goddesses from the Hindu pantheon. The famous Guruvayur papad or pappadam is also sold at many shops.

What’s more? You can even but the famous Kasavu Saree and Ksavu dress material.

Products such as masks and show pieces made with papier mache, marble, wood and Ramacham (dry vetiver grass herb) are sold at many shops that line the streets around the temple.

Elephants of Guruvayur Temple

Guruvayurappan temple is known for its celebrity elephants such as Guruvayur Keshavan and Guruvayur Padmanabhan. There are more male than female elephants at a facility located 3 kilometres near Guruvayoor temple. Most of these domestic elephants were gifted and donated to the temple. I am personally against chaining elephants in temple premises.

For the same reason, I refused to visit the Punnathur kotta, also known as the Anakotta or the Elephant Yard.

I personally believe that an elephant you can touch is not a happy elephant. Elephants belong in wild, period! I wrote in great detail about my issues with elephant safari as well on my blogs on Manas National Park and Kaziranga National Park, both in the North Eastern state Assam.

Dress Code for Guruvayur Temple 

Are you wondering what to wear in Guruvayoor Devaswom? The visitors must keep in mind that Guruvayoor is a holy place and not just another top place to see near Thrissur. One must maintain the sanctity of the ancient temple by dressing appropriately.

The best way to dress when visiting the Guruvayoor temple is to dress conservatively in traditional Indian attire.

Dress Code for Men

I observed that the men who had queued up for a holy darshan wore nothing on their upper body. As far as lower body is concerned, men must wear mundu and not western pants. Mundu is the South Indian version of Lungi or sarong.

If you are shy of visiting the temple with bare chest, worry not! You can wear veshthi which covers the chest significantly. Veshthi is a small piece of cloth worn on daily basis by Malyali men of Kerala.

If you are in a queue, you can remain clothed in a shirt. But just before entering the gates of the main temple, you need to take your shirt off. You can carry the shirt in your hands.

Dress Code for Women

Women and girls dressed in skirts and trousers are prohibited from entering the Guruvayur temple. It is best for women to wear sarees. Girls are allowed to wear salwar kameez and long skirts and blouses.

Dress Code for kids

Male kids are allowed to wear shorts. However, male children too need to enter the main temple bare chested only. Female kids can wear shorts and frocks etc.

Why are men asked to remove shirts before entering temples in South India?

The uneducated might see it as a superstition. But there is a scientific reason behind the tradition of males removing the shirt while entering a Hindu temple in South India, especially in temples of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. I had observed the same in temples of Gokarna and Udupi in Karnataka as well. There are many reasons associated with it.

Are non-Hindus allowed in Guruvayur Temple?

Much like the Jagannath Temple of Puri in Odisha, non-Hindus are not allowed inside the Guruvayoor temple which I think is fair. However, that’s said, in a landmark decision, non-Hindus are now allowed to enter the dining hall located outside the world famous Sreekrishna temple of Guruvayur.

The non-Hindus are now allowed to enter the Annalakshmi Hall Oottupura and take the Prasada Oottu amidst protest from the chief priest.

Is Camera and Mobile allowed in Guruvayoor temple?

It is a good decision to not allow any modern distractions such as mobile phones, cameras, Go Pros inside the temple or Nalambalam. Before you stand in the queue, you must submit your DSLRs, Video Cameras, Mobile Phones, Wallet, Tape Recorders etc at a paid locker outside the Garbhagriha of the temple.

I was able to shoot from both my mobile phone as well as DSLR camera in the areas outside the main temple. Some of the places where I shot pictures and videos are the auditorium, Ganapathi Temple, shops, temples gates, temple complex etc.

Safety Tips for Guruvayur Temple 

Is Guruvayoor Devaswom safe to visit? Guruvayur Temple is safe both for male as well as female solo budget travellers. It is one of the safest and friendliest destinations I had travelled as a male brown Indian.

Since it is a lively place with families visiting in large numbers, you will feel safe here. So rest assured, Guruvayoor is safe to visit alone.

Toilet facility in Guruvayoor

Clean public toilets are located in and around Guruvayur. I used the public toilet at the restaurant where I had vegetarian sadya lunch. It was located close to Guruvayoor Devaswom. Many clean toilets are located around the temple area.

Languages spoken in Guruvayoor

Malayalam is the main language of Kerala. Other South Indian language spoken and understood by some people in Thrissur and Guruvayur are Kannada, Tamil and Telugu. English and Hindi is also understood and spoken by many people in Guruvayoor.

Photography Tips for Guruvayoor Devaswom

Photographing the people and their moods in the sprawling premises of Guruvayoor Devaswom is a good idea here. Looks for moments while shooting. You can take pictures of couples marrying with their permission. Taking pictures of dance and music performances is also allowed. You can not take pictures inside the garbhagriha of Guruvayoor Devaswom and the museum.

Conclusion: Why visit Guruvayoor Temple?

Guruvayurappan temple is one of the most famous Krishna Temple of Kerala and South India. Popular with both Malayalis and Tamils, every day is like a festival in this ancient temple. When I visited Guruvayoor temple, I surrendered myself to the infectious positive energy of the place.

Interesting points of interests and excursions such as Mammiyur Sri Mahadeva Temple, Muthuvara Mahadeva Temple, Punnathurkotta, Alapuzzha backwaters, Ernakulum and Fort Kochi places Guruvayur in an exciting region.

Also known as Guruvayur Devaswom, it is a year-round destination. There is a lot you can do around Guruvayoor Devaswom such as shopping, eating vegetarian and vegan sadya, see a live Mohiniyattam or Bharatnatyam dance, break a coconut at Ganapathi Temple or visit the Guruvayur Devaswom Museum. 

Click to see my video of Mohiniyattam dance in Guruvayur Temple

The view from my Soul Window is from Dvapar Yug!

Pin this blog to save the blog and plan a trip later!

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