Kerala, known as the abode of God, has many interesting places to visit, of which Guruvayur is very significant. I have had the opportunity to visit Guruvayur several times, and each visit has been a different experience. Guruvayur is not only a pilgrimage center but also a recreational center.
The Guruvayur Sri Krishna temple is the main temple in the town. The temple is dedicated to Sri Krishna, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, four feet tall and four arms. The architecture of the temple is of typical Kerala style. The darshan and pooja timings are available on the temple’s website.
Men are expected to come without a shirt and a dhoti or use a cloth to cover the chest. Boys can wear shorts but no shirt. Ladies are expected to come in a saree or salwar kameez. Girls can come in a long skirt and blouse as well.
Different kinds of poojas and offerings are carried out at the temple at different timings. I had the chance to attend the seeveli pooja, where the Lord is mounted on an elephant and taken around the temple thrice. Different prasadams are available throughout the day.
Many other temples around Guruvayur town are also worth the visit. I visited the Mammiyur Mahadev temple, Parthasarathy temple, and Thiruvenkatam temple. Each temple has its own unique history and is different in its own way. Of all these temples, the Mammiyur Mahadev Shiva temple is a must-see.
The elephant sanctuary, otherwise called Anakotta, means “Elephant Fort,” an interesting place to visit. It is situated about 4 km from the town. The temple receives elephants as offerings to the Lord, and these elephants live at the sanctuary. There are about 60 elephants.
There’s a mahout for each elephant who takes care of the elephant. You can enjoy walking amidst the elephants and seeing them go about their routine. You can also spot some elephants playing in the mud, taking a bath, or chewing palm leaves.
There are many beaches dotted along the coastline of Guruvayur and Thrissur. I visited Chavakkad beach, which is situated 5 km from Guruvayur Sri Krishna temple. The beach faces the Arabian Sea, and the waters are quiet in this part of the beach. One can only see a few fisherman huts and boats. The beach is suited for evening strolls.
Chettuva backwater, which is 9 km from Guruvayur, can be explored by a motorboat ride. The backwaters are a scenic beauty. It is a great relief to get away from the busy town and spend a few hours in the calm backwaters: the backwater houses resorts and an ayurvedic center. The ayurvedic center provides treatments for various ailments and body massages that relieve the body from stress and relax the mind.
The ‘Thrissur Zoo and Museum’ is one of the oldest in the country and is home to various animals, birds, and reptiles. It is 27 km from Guruvayur and is located in the heart of Thrissur city. The zoo and museum are very well maintained. Different kinds of animals like lions, bears, spotted deer, hippopotamus, etc., can be seen.
Birds of different varieties are also found.
The reptile house has different kinds of snakes like cobra, viper, etc. Imagine what would happen if these snakes escaped the house. The very thought sent a shiver down my spine. The art and history museum was very interesting as it showcased many relics of different cultures of Kerala, dance forms, wood carvings, and metallic sculptures.
There are many hotels and lodges (available in different ranges) near the temple. You can buy souvenirs from shops in and around the temple.
For experiencing divine blessings and bliss, Guruvayur is a must-see place.