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 a number of 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 main Lord is Sri Krishna, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, which is four foot tall and has four arms. The architecture of the temple is of typical Kerala style. The darshan and pooja timings are available on the temple’s website. The dress code for gents is that they should come in dhoti with bare chests or the chest can be covered by a cloth. Boys can wear shorts but no shirt. Ladies can come in a saree or salwar kameez. Girls can come in long skirt and blouse. 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.
There are many other temples in around Guruvayur town which have to be seen. 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 temple.
The elephant sanctuary otherwise called as Anakotta which means “Elephant Fort” is a very 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 in the midst of elephants and seeing them go about their routine deeds. Some elephants can be seen 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. Only a few fisherman huts and boats can be seen. The beach is suited for evening strolls.
Chettuva backwater which is 9 km from Guruvayur can be explored by a motor boat 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 which relieve the body from stress and provides relaxation to the mind.
The ‘Thrissur Zoo and Museum’ is one of the oldest in the country and is home to wide variety of 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 lion, bears, spotted deer, hippopotamus etc., can be seen. Birds of different varieties are also found. The reptile house has different kinds of snake like cobra, viper etc. Imagine if these snakes escaped from 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 (of all ranges) near the temple. Souvenirs can be bought from shops in and around the temple.
For experiencing divine blessings and bliss, Guruvayur is a must see place.