Situated 33km north of Thrissur, Guruvayur is one of the most sacred
and important pilgrim centers of Kerala. The Centuries old Sree Krishna
temple or the Guruvayoor temple lies here. This historic temple shrouded
in mystery, is believed to be the creation of Guru, the preceptor of the
Devas and Vayu. The notable features are the 33.5 mt high gold plated
'Dwajasthambam' (flag post) in the 'Chutambalam' or outer enclosure, and
the 7mt high 'Dipastambham' (pillar of lamps) whose thirteen circular
receptacles provide a truly gorgeous spectacle when lit. The square 'Sreekovil'
is the sacred sanctum sanctorum of the temple which houses the main deity.
Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple. An unusual feature of the temple
at Guruvayoor is the timing of the rituals. The sanctum opens at 0300
am and closes at 1300 during which a continuous series of pujas and processions
are held. The Darshanam at 0300 is believed to be particularly auspicious.
The main festival (Utsavam) of the temple, held during February- March
commence with the elephant race, locally known as 'Aanayottam'. The other
festivals celebrated at the temple are Vishukkani (April), Ashtami Rohini
(August/September), Ekadasi (November/December) etc.