IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


18th January, 2024 Art & Culture

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The Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed darshan and puja at Guruvayur Temple in Guruvayur, Kerala.


  • The Guruvayur Temple, nestled in Guruvayur, Kerala, is a revered Hindu sanctuary dedicated to Guruvayurappan, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
  • Known as Bhuloka Vaikuntha, it holds profound significance for Hindus in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Temple Iconography

  • The central deity is a four-armed standing Vishnu, symbolizing Panchajanya, Sudarshana, Kaumodaki, and a lotus with a tulasi garland.
  • Reflects the divine form revealed to Krishna's parents during his birth.
  • Rituals adhere to traditions established by Adi Shankara and formalized by Chennas Ravinarayanan Nambudiri.

Administrative Oversight and Festivals

  • Managed by a special administrative authority under the Government of Kerala.
  • Major festivals include:
    • 10-day celebration in Kumbham.
    • Krishna Janmashtami in Chingam.
    • Guruvayur Ekadasi in Vrischikam.
    • Vishu in Medam.

Legend of Guruvayur

  • King Janamejaya's sacrifice led to leprosy, cured by seeking refuge at Guruvayur.
  • Mammiyur Siva temple declined, and Guruvayur prospered due to a holy man's blessing.

Historical Epochs

  • Pre-colonial era references date back to the 14th century.
  • Colonial challenges include Dutch raids, Hyder Ali, and Tipu Sultan invasions.
  • Post-colonial age marked by a significant fire in 1970, necessitating reconstruction.

Temple Tank

  • Rudratheertham, the sacred pond associated with Lord Shiva's bath.
  • Prominent devotees include:
    • Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri.
    • Poonthanam Namboothiri.
    • Vilwamangalam Swamiyar.

Significance of 108 Abhimana Kshethrams

  • In Vaishnavism, 108 sacred places, known as Abhimana Kshethrams, hold immense spiritual importance.
  • Guruvayur Temple is revered among these for its association with Lord Vishnu.

Punnathur Kotta - Elephant Yard

  • Punnathur Kotta houses 56 elephants donated by devotees.
  • Largest population of captive male Asian elephants globally.
  • Ethical concerns regarding capture and living conditions.


Guruvayur Temple symbolizes religious devotion and cultural heritage. Despite historical challenges, it remains a beacon of spirituality, drawing devotees to experience the divine presence of Lord Guruvayurappan.


Q. What is the Guruvayur Temple also known as?

a) Kashi of the South

b) Ayodhya of the West

c) Bhuloka Vaikuntha

d) Shivalaya of the East

Answer: c)