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Guruvayoor or Gurupavanapuri) is a municipal town in Thrissur District, of Kerala State in India. It houses the famous Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple, the fourth biggest temple in India in terms of the number of devotees per day.



History

Guruvayur, according to the legends may be 5,000 years old as the Guruvayur temple idol is. There are no historical records to establish it. In the 14th century,Tamil literature 'Kokasandesam', references about a place called Kuruvayur is made. As early as 16th century, many references are seen about Kuruvayur. In ancient Dravidic, Kuruvai means sea, hence the village on the coast may be called Kuruvayur. According to eminent historian Professor K. V. Krishna Iyer, theBrahmins had begun to come and settle atKodungallur during the period of Chandra Gupta Maurya (321-297 BC).
Guruvayur was a subordinate shrine of Trikkunavay Shiva temple before the latter was destroyed by the Dutch in 1755. Trikkunavay in the Guruvayur documents is the same as Thrikkanamathilakam or Mathilakam mentioned in the Dutch and Britishrecords. And this place was in between Guruvayur andKodungallur. The story of Pandyan King building a shrine here may be a reference to the Azhavars, but they are all silent in their writing about Guruvayur. It was Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri's Narayaniyamthrough which the Guruvayur temple got famous all over India.

Festivals


Guruvayur Ekadasi

Ekadasi, the eleventh day of every lunar fortnight, is very auspicious to the Hindus. Of the 24 Ekadasis in a year, the Vrishchika Ekadasi (Sukla paksha) has got special significance in Guruvayur temple. A memorial honour for Gajarajan Kesavan is conducted in Guruvayur. The Karanavar or head of the elephant family places a wreath at the statue of Kesavan in front of Sreevalsam guest house and all the other elephants stand around and pay obeisance. On Ekadasi day, the Udayasthamana Pooja (dawn to dusk pooja) is conducted by the Devaswom itself . After the morning seeveli, on Ekadasi there is a grant elephant procession to the Parthasarathi temple since it is regarded as Geethopadesam Day also. On Ekadasi after night pooja, the famous Ekadasi Vilakku with elephant procession takes place and provides a fitting finale to the festival..


Chembai Sangeetholsavam


Inscription on the Guruvayoor temple
Chembai Sangeetholsavam is an annual Carnatic musicfestival held in Guruvayur by the Guruvayur Devaswom atThiruvaiyaru as a kind of homage to Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, one of the titans of Carnatic Classical Music. Chembai had conducted the festival in the temple town on his own for about 60 years. He used to invite all the great Carnatic Musicians to perform in the temple town and in course of time, the scale of the festival rivalled the Thiruvaiyaru Thyagaraja Aradhana, which is recognised as one of the most important festivals of homage paid to Saint Thyagaraja.
The Guruvayur Devaswom decided to take charge after his death in 1974, and renamed it as Chembai Sangeetholsavam in his memory. About 2000-2500 musicians participate in this festival every year, and it is held for about 12–15 days culminating on theGuruvayur Ekadasi day, when all the musicians sing 5 favourite songs of Chembai and also thePancharatna Kritis of Thyagaraja.
* Courtesy : wikipedia.org