- Religion and Philosophy
Sree Guruvayur Temple
Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple
The Krishna temple in Guruvayur in Kerala is one of the five most famous Krishna/Vishnu temples in India. The other temples are Puri Jegannath temple in Orissa, Tirupati Venkatachalapathy temple in Andhra Pradesh, Dwaraka Sree Krishna temple in Gujarat, Nathdwara Shrinathji temple in Rajasthan. Guruvayur is located in Thrissur district of Kerala at a distance of around 29kms from Thrissur town.
The presiding deity in the Sanctum Sanctorum of the Guruvayur temple is lord Vishnu fondly called as Guruvayurappan by the devotees. Even though the idol in Guruvayur is that of lord Vishnu is still known as Krishna temple. One of the reasons is that it is believed that lord Krishna in the boy form (unni kannan) is always running around incognito in the temple precincts. Guruvayur is also known as “Booloka Vaikunta” or the abode of lord Vishnu on Earth.
In Guruvayur temple you will see the four armed standing posture of Lord Guruvayurappan carrying the Conch called Panjajanya, the Discus called Sudharshana Chakra, the mace called Kaumadaki and a lotus in his four arms. The lord also wears a holy garland around his neck. This image represents the majestic form of Vishnu.
Daily Poojas and Offerings
There are five Poojas and three seevelis daily in Sree Guruvayur Temple.
The temple opens at 3 A.M starting with “Palliyunarthal” (Ritual awakening of the lord).
The Nirmalya Darshan (3 A.M – 3.20 A.M) is the first of the day. Now the lord is still adorned with the flowers and garlands of the previous night. It is believed that after the night pooja when the doors are closed the devas come to worship Guruvayurappan. The Darshan of the lord which has been just worshipped by the devas themselves is considered highly auspicious.
The Thailabhishekam, Vakacharthu & Sankabhishekam (3.20 A.M – 3.30A.M). The rite of bathing the deity with sesame oil takes place after removing the previous day adornments. Next is “Vakacharthu” i.e. covering the idol with vaka powder. After this, abhisekam (rite of bathing the deity) is performed with water sanctified in a conch.
Alankaram & Malar Nivediyam (3.30 A.M – 4.15 A.M). After abhisekam the idol is wiped with a thin cloth. Then lord is adorned with sandal paste, garlands, flowers, ear ornaments, and kasthuri thilaka. At this time the lord is decorated as infant Krishna (unni Krishna or unni kannan) wearing a red loincloth holding butter and flute on his hands. After Alankaram (decoration) Malar Nivediyam is offered to god. Malar means a kind of puffed rice.
Usha Nivediyam & Usha Pooja (4.15 A.M – 4.30 A.M). After Malar Nivediyam the nada is closed for Usha Pooja or morning pooja. Usha Nivediyam (morning offerings) is offered to lord at this period. This includes Neypayasam (ghee pudding), Butter, Vella Nivediyam (cooked white rice), Kadalipazham (a special type of plantain), Jaggery and Trimadhuram (mixture of three types of sweets).
Ethirettu Pooja (5.30 A.M – Sunrise). This pooja is conducted as a part of receiving first rays of sun light by the lord. At this time the sun and lord are facing each other and pooja is performed.
After Ethirettu Pooja the morning seeveli or morning procession takes place. The Utsavavigraha or the processional deity is mounted on an elephant and taken round the temple thrice.
Palabhishekam, Navabhishekam, Panthiradi Pooja (7.30 A.M – 9.30 A.M). After seeveli the idol is again taken inside and it is bathed again with water taken from temple well. It is followed by Palabhishekam means bathing the idol with cow’s milk, coconut water and rose water. This is followed by Navabhishekam means bathing the idol with water filled in nine silver pots. Then the idol is decorated with sandal paste. This time lord appears as a teenager. He wears a yellow dhoti now. Next is Panthiradi pooja means the pooja that takes place when the shadow measures 12ft.
Ucha Pooja or Noon Pooja (11.30 A.M – 12.30 P.M). This is the most important and elaborates pooja of the day. At this time the lord is offered with a special type of pudding called “Idichu Pizhinja Payasam”.
At 4.30 P.M the second seeveli or procession takes place.
Deeparathana or Light Worship (6.15 P.M – 6.45 P.M). At this time all the lamps in the temple premises are lighted and the lord is worshipped with oil lamps and camphor flames. The view of Lord in full glory is visible. Lord looks so marvelous amidst the lights.
Athazha Pooja & Athazha Nivediyam (7.30 P.M – 8.15 P.M). The night worship is called as Athazha pooja and the offering made at that time is Athazha Nivediyam. The offerings are Appam (fried pancake) Ada (steamed Pancake), Palpayasam (milk pudding), betel leaves.
Next Athazha Seeveli or night procession which is the third and the last procession of the day takes place.
Tripuka & Olavayana (9 P.M – 9.30 P.M). After Athazha Seeveli, a special custom called Tripuka is conducted. As the name implies the temple premises is filled with fresh smoke made up of a special kind of powder. It is believed that this smoke cures breathing problems. Next is Olavayana which means reading out day’s income and expenditure before the lord.
The Sree Kovil closes at 9.30 P/M