6 Interesting Facts You Should Know About Kerala’s Guruvayur Temple, Known For Its Elephant Festival

56 elephants belong to Kerala’s Guruvayur Temple!

by Ankita Mazumdar
6 Interesting Facts You Should Know About Kerala’s Guruvayur Temple, Known For Its Elephant Festival

The Thrissur district of Kerala is home to the Guruvayur Temple, which is dedicated to Guruvayurappan, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. It is regarded as one of the most holy spots in the state. So much so that Guruvayur Temple is recognised as the Dwarka of the South. Gujarat’s Dwarka is the birthplace of Lord Krishna, another incarnation of Lord Vishnu who is widely worshipped. The idol at the temple is the representation of Lord Vishnu as revealed to Krishna’s parents during his birth. Interesting, no? Let us learn some more information about this temple.

Kerala’s Guruvayur Temple Has These 6 Interesting Facts

  • The idol of Lord Vishnu showcases four of his arms and he’s holding weapons in three and a lotus in the fourth. The conch shell Panchajanya produces the sound of ‘Om’ which is considered as the sacred sound of creation. Another hand has Sudarshan Chakra which is the wheel of time and is non-stop in motion at the tip of Lord Vishnu’s finger. The mace Kaumodaki represents mental and physical strength and is the destroyer of evil. The lotus signifies perfection and spiritual consciousness. 
  • Guruvayur Temple is also widely known for its elephant festival. People from all over the world come to witness elephants dressed up magnificently and paraded along with some performances by them. 
  • Not just that, Punnathur Kotta is an elephant sanctuary where 56 of these captive male Asian elephants reside. It is just a couple of kilometres away from the temple and people visit this spot as well. Hence, this temple is known to be home to a huge population of these elephants.

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  • One of the legends associated with how Guruvayur got its name is that Lord Krishna gave a job to Udhava, his charioteer. He had to carry the statue of Lord Vishnu from Dwarka to Kerala because Krishna wanted to worship Lord Vishnu here. Lord Vayu aided Udhava in moving the idol from Kerala to Guruvayur. Hence it’s called ‘Guru-Vayu-ur’.
  • Back in the 1930s, untouchability was practised due to Guruvayur Temple being one of the most religious places. The doors weren’t open for lower caste people and it was so strict that even the roads were out of bounds for them. 
  • This trajectory changed after the popular Satyagraha Movement by Mahatma Gandhi. After the independence of India, the Hindus of lower caste were allowed to enter Guruvayur Temple. Which was the right decision all along, no one should be discriminated against their caste.

Also Read: Thiruvairanikulam Temple Festival: From Origin To Duration, All You Need To Know About This Kerala Festival

Throughout the year many devotees flock to this temple as it is a very religious spot for Hindus in Kerala. If you want to give some offerings to the Guruvayurappan, then you can go to the temple’s website and do your offerings through their NextGen Online Services portal. You may even advance book your darshan for a hassle-free darshan. When are you planning to seek blessings here? 

Cover Image Credits: Website/Guruvayur Devaswom

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