Guruvayoor or Guruvayur, the Temple Town

Guruvayoor Temple EntranceGuruvayoor temple is visited by the largest number of devotees though is not the largest temple in Kerala. The queue of visitors is almost never-ending and could extend a mile or more on auspicious days. The pic on the right shows the sheltered yard in front where devotees start to queue, from very early in the morning.

The deity of the temple is Lord Vishnu. However, the temple is known more as a temple of Sri Krishna, one of the forms Lord Vishnu took to come down to earth to vanquish evildoers. Mythology has it that the statue of the deity was brought here all the way from north India by Guru Brihaspati and Vayu, lord of the winds. Hence the name GuruVayur or Guruvayoor.

guruvayur station You could reach the town conveniently by a train from Thrissur and land in a neat little railway station. You could also travel by scheduled bus services, which are in plenty, or by car. However, the train journey through the green countryside is far more pleasing.

The town itself is small and dominated by hotels, restaurants and shops catering to the never-ending flow of visitors. The one major attraction other than the temple is the shelter for elephants.

Elephant Shelter

shelter for elephantsDevotees gift elephants to the temple and these elephants are sheltered in a vast ground, known as Punnathoor Kotta, a little away from the temple.captive elephant The gifts became so numerous that the temple has ceased accepting any more elephant gifts. The grounds pictured right presently shelters 64 elephants.

Managing the elephants is no simple task. Like humans, elephants also exhibit different personalities. And their size and strength often make the personality difference a matter of life and death. There was even one elephant that cared only for eating and sleeping.