Guruvayur is a small town in the district of Thrissur in the state of Kerala. It is considered to be one of the most important pilgrimage centres of South India. Guruvayur is popular for many Hindu temples that play a very important role in defining the cultural history of the place. Guruvayur was named after Guru Brihaspati who is considered as the teacher of gods.
The most popular attraction here is the Guruvayur Temple, which is one of the most stringent temples in South India. There are four gateways that lead to the idol but the eastern gate is considered as the main entrance. Other than Lord Krishna, the temple houses idols of Lord Shiva, Sree Ayyappa, Ganapathy and Edathedathy Kavil Bhagavathy. Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple. Apart from being a temple, Guruvayur has been an important cultural centre where some rare literature works have been defined.
Guruvayur has extreme weather conditions with dry climate most of the year. The climate of Guruvayur is extremely hot during summers and cold in winters. The summer season is from the month of March to May with average maximum temperature of 37° Celsius. From June to September Guruvayur receives heavy rainfall whereas winters are here from December to February with an average temperature ranging from 23° Celsius to 30° Celsius.
In terms of weather, the best time to visit Guruvayur is in the winter season but the destination also attracts a lot of tourists on festive occasions. The months from August to November have moderate climate and offer many celebrations throughout. ‘Ekadasi’ is a special day followed every month when pilgrims in large numbers come to the temples here.
Things to do in Guruvayur
One of the major attractions of the region is the annual Guruvayur Festival or Guruvayur Utsavam which is held during February-March. This year the festival starts on 7th March, 2012. It kicks off with the Elephant Race or Anayottam. The race starts half a kilometer away from the eastern entrance under a banyan tree. The elephants take seven rounds inside the temple and finally touch the flagpole. The elephant to touch the flagpole first is hailed as the winner and gets the honour of carrying the idol of Lord Guruvayurappan on all special occasions for a year.
The 10-day festival also showcases the tradition, culture and heritage of Kerala. Traditional music and dance as well as plays and dance dramas based on the life of Lord Krishna are performed during this time.
Not really a shopper’s hub, Guruvayur offers range of dress materials, antiques and eatables from the avenue shops on the street. Photographs, mural paintings & embroidered handicrafts are the other things that can be shopped in Guruvayur. Traditional Kerala saris & jewelleries are also available here.
Travelling to Guruvayur
Guruvayur has the nearest airport at Kochi, Nedumbassery International Airport, which is at a distance of 65 km. Kochi airport is well connected to all major airports in India with major airlines plying regularly. It is also connected to many foreign cities. Taxi services can also be availed from here.
The major railhead nearest to Guruvayur is at Thrissur, which is located at a distance of about 27 km. State owned bus services are also available from almost all the cities in Kerala to Guruvayur. Category of buses like super deluxe buses connects Guruvayur with cities like Kochi, Kozhikode, Trivandrum, Palaghat, Chennai, Salem, Coimbatore and Bangalore.