Institute of Mural Painting

The Guruvayur Devaswom’s Institute of Mural Painting was established in the the year 1989. National Diploma is awarded to students on successful completion of training for 5 years. Students are given stipend. At present the center is functioning in the Sathram Canteen Block. It was a fire mishap in the Guruvayur Temple Complex in the year 1970 that actually paved the way for the setting up of this institution. The fire damaged the Sreekovil ( Sanctum Sanctorum) and the paintings on the three walls were also destroyed in the incident. When the walls were to be decorated again with paintings as a part of the renovation, the authorities found that artists who could do such work were few. However those artists who were deputed to do the work like veteran Mural Painters Mammiyur Krishnankutty Nair, Pattambi Krishna Varier, M.K.Sreenivasan and K.K. Varier completed the job satisfactorily. The authorities, art lovers and artists got together to think of ways of preserving the mural paintings. The result was the establishment of the Institute of Mural Painting by the Guruvayur Devaswom.
The Institute of Mural Painting at East Nada of Guruvayur temple gives coaching in mural painting in the traditional Gurukula Pattern. The five year National Diploma Course offers training in Fine Arts for the first two years as a preparatory course after which the students are given three years specialized coaching in traditional Kerala Mural Painting. The qualified candidates are selected after an aptitude test and interview. The selected students are given scholarships and also have free hostel and mess faculties. The admission to each batch is restricted to ten students.
 Along with studio and practical work, the prescribed syllabus includes Art history( Indian and Western) Aesthetics, Sanskrit and silpa Texts. Dhyanasloka classes are also conducted. Teaching aids include slide films and visual props. Periodical exhibition of paintings, camps, workshops , seminars, discussions, study tours etc also form the part of the curriculum. The Institute has a good library. The late Sri. Mammiyur Krishnankutty Nair, a well known Mural Artist, was the first principal of the Institute. After his death, Sri.M.K.Sreenivasan succeeded him. Now, Sri.K.U.Krishnakumar is the Principal and Chief Instructor of the Institute.
The course has been intended to revitalize the invaluable tradition of Mural Art. A collection of these exquisitely painted panels adorns the walls of the institute. The artists of this Institute have been participating and working at national level exhibition and camps.
The authorities also accept commissioned work keeping the rules and regulations of guruvayur devaswom. The Institute played an active role in repainting many Murals as a part of ongoing renovation and restoration work.


Guruvayur Devaswom
Institute of Mural
Painting ( Chumar Chithra Padana Kendram)
East Nada
Guruvayur- 680101
Ph: 0487 2556538
extn: 515

Sree Krishna College, Arikanniyur.

The College started functioning from 18th July 1964 under the management of newly constituted Sree Krishna Educational Society. This long awaited dream of the public of Guruvayur came true with the whole hearted support of the Zamurin Raja of Calicut, the then Managing trustee of Guruvayur Devaswom.
The required fund was raised from Devaswom. 1st, 2ndand 3rd group Pre Degree classes affiliated to the Kerala University were started with Prof. M. Balakrishnan Nair as the Principal.The College was shifted from the temporary shed near Sree Krishna High School to a spacious and well equipped building cum campus at Arikanniyur in the year 1967.
Hostel and other infrastructural facilities were added from time to time and Degree courses were added in 1969. The institution has grown from strength to strength every year and it is now a full fledged first grade College affiliated to the University of Calicut offering Degree and Post Graduation courses in various disciplines. The present principal is Raveendra Nath.
The Degree Courses offered are BA, BSc, Bcom with Sanskrit as optional Part II Language. Post Graduate Courses include MSc (Botany and Physics), Mcom (Foreign trade Management). More details can be had

Other institutions

The Devaswom is running an English Medium school (CBSE), apart from the Sree Krishna High school and Sree Krishna Higher secondary school, all of which maintain high standards of education.
The Vadya vidyalayam gives training on traditional musical instruments such as chenda, kombu, kuzhal, edakka, maddalam etc. Veda Patasala functioning under Devaswom imparts training in the Vedas and Puranas.

School of Temple Music Instruments

The school imparts training in music instruments like Chenda, Thakil, Maddalam, Thimila, Kombu, Kurumkuzhal, Nadaswaram and Ashtapathi.Duration of the course is three years. Students are provided with the facility of formal education in Standard 8,9 and10. They are also given stipend and accommodation. The method of training is “Gurukula”(directly trained under a mentor)


Devaswom has been in to publication for more than last 50 years and a separate publication division has started functioning since 1980.


"Bhakthapriya" is the official monthly publication of Guruvayur Devaswom in Malayalam started in 1986. This magazine since its beginning is catering to the spiritual needs of thousands of devotees of Lord Guruvayurappan.This is also a medium for communication of Devaswom matters to the public. Erudite scholars regularly contribute articles to this publication. Each issue of Bhakthapriya carries thought provoking articles on the Vedas, Ithihasas, Puranas, Darsanas and such literature, description of Lord Guruvayurappan's blessings narrated by the devotees from their own experiences and beautiful poems which touch the heart of the readers. Bhakthapriya has gained fame and popularity in India and abroad in a very short span of time.

Book Details and Subscription Information 

 Size1/4 th Demmy
Price per copyRs. 10.00
Annual SubscriptionRs. 100.00
Long Term (16 Yrs)Rs. 1000.00


The Zamurin, Manavedan (1595-1658AD), after his darshan of the Lord Sri Guruvayurappan (Sreekrishna), composed his classic "KRISHANAGEETHI " in eight chapters, in the style of Jayadeva's (12th century Bengali poet ) GEETHAGOVINDAM. The Krishnanattam (a mosaic of folk and classic arts), a dance drama, has evolved from this Krishnageethi over 300 years ago. This work deals with the Krishna avatar - from Krishna's birth to his final emancipation from worldly life and ascension to heaven. It is presented in 8 episodes namely 'Avatharam', 'Kaliyamardhanam', 'Rasakreeda', 'Kamsavaddham'. 'Swayamvaram', 'Banayuddham', 'Vividha vadham', and "Swargarohana". These episodes are presented on eight consecutive nights. Since the last story is considered inauspicious, the "Avathara " always follows "Swargarohana" and it will be enacted on the ninth day.
To improve the art further and make it more spectator oriented, Koodiyattam, the oldest Sanskrit drama in Kerala was adopted to render the poem with 'Abhinayam' (drama gestures), and thus Krishnanattam evolved. It also used makeup and costumes of "Koodiyattam".
The Krishnanattam is the only classical dance form in Kerala which makes use of colourful masks for evil characters. The mask usage is derived from folk rituals such as 'Thirayattam' and 'Theyyam' which is found in North Kerala. In Krishnanattam the actor does not narrate but gives attention to abhinayam (bodily gestures and expressions) and angya (hand gestures). Another artist does singing and thus there is a blend of sounds and sight. Kathakali which is now internationally known owes much to Koodiyattam and Krishnanattam. Kathakali adopted body movements and hand gestures from Koodiyattam. It borrowed the make up and costumes from Krishnanattam. The practice of having separate singers during play was also adopted from Krishnanattam instead. The Edakka, a soft and small drum, capable of deep resonance is used in Krishnanattam where as Chenda (Drum), which is a leading instrument in Kathakali. Suddha Maddhalam and cymbals , Gong, and Shankh (conch) and Thoppimaddalam are also used in Krishnanattam.
Oral traditions say that only Namboodiri Brahmins, Iyer Brahmin, Ambalavasi (temple resident) or Nairs can be dancers in Krishnanattam. The songs are set to Carnatic music but they are rendered in the Sopana style. Moods in a song determine the mode of the melody, what the singers sing is communicated by the actors. Kerala's martial art , Kalaripayattu , has also definitely influenced Krishnanattam especially in the scenes of arguments and fights.

Awards and Scholorships

Guruvayurappan Sammanam

The Devaswom has started a new award for the individuals for their contribution to the temple arts and crafts. The first Guruvayurappan Puraskaram was awarded to Shri. Elavally Narayanan Asari, for his excellence in wood carving. Most of the carvings that we see today inside the temple and the Gopurams were done by him. Now this award is given in three areas. It carries a cash price of Rs. 5000.00 rupees and a gold locket of Lrd Sree Guruvayurappan.

Manaveda Puraskaram

This award is given to promote Krishnanattam - the pure and original classical form of traditional dance drama - the contribution of the 17th century Vaishnavite Bhakthi movement in Kerala. This is awarded to the best Krishnanattam player every year. There is a cash price and gold locket of Lord Sree Guruvayurappan.

Aksharaslokam competition

All Kerala Aksharaslokam competetions are conducted on the day of Guruvayur Ekadasi every year. Lord Sree Guruvayurappan's gold locket is awarded to the winner.

Essay writing competitions

All Kerala essay writing competitions are conducted on the Narayaneeyam Day, Krishna Geethi Day and Poonthanam Day.


With a view to promote the Sanskrit language and literature, Devaswom is giving scholarships to students of Sreekrishna High school and Sreekrishna college, who opt Sanskrit as a second language.

SriGuruvayoorappan Chembai Puraskaram

Elephant Sanctuary at Punnathur Kotta

The Devaswom maintains a unique elephant sanctuary, the only one of its kind in the World. It has 51 elephants now. These jumbos are the offerings of the devotees to the Lord. A large number of pilgrims and tourists visit this fascinating spot every day. In this vast compound, there are road facilities for pilgrims and tourists to go around.
The present elephant sanctuary is in Punnathur Kotta about 3 kms north of Guruvayur temple. Punnathur Kotta is the ancient palace of the Punnathur Rajas, now in the possession of the Devaswom. There is also an ancient temple where Lord Siva and Bhagavathy are worshipped.
It is a 10 acre compound which Devaswom purchased in 1975, which was under receiver rule of Trichur sub court. Till that time elephants were kept in this Kovilakam compound (present Sreevalsam) to the south of the temple.
All the elephants were shifted to the Punnathur Kotta in a grant procession lead by Gajarajan Kesavan, all the elephants from the Kovilakam marched to Punnathur Kotta on 1975 June 25.
Many elephants of Guruvayur have become the part of history. The sweet memories of Gajarajan Kesavan - literally the king of all Elephants- still enthrall the hearts of the elephant lovers worldwide. The mammoth physique, his intelligence and devotion to the Lord were very famous.
Punnathurkotta was once the palace of a local ruler, but the palace grounds are now used to house the elephants belonging to the Guruvayoor temple, and has been renamed Anakkotta(meaning "Elephant Fort"). There were 86 elephants housed there, but currently there are about 66 elephants. The elephants are ritual offerings made by the devotees of Lord Guruvayurappa. This facility is also used to train the elephants to serve Lord Krishna as well as participate in many festivals that occur throughout the year. The oldest elephant is around 82 years of age and is called 'Ramachandran'. The rituals of Gajapooja (Worshipping Elephants) and Anayoottu (Feeding Elephants) are observed here, as an offering to Lord Ganesha. The legendary elephant "Guruvayur Keshavan" was housed here. The compound also has a naalu kettu, a traditional rectangular home with a central courtyard, which belonged to the Punnathur Raja. It is poorly maintained and presently houses a training school for Papans (Mahout). This complex also contains a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and Bhagavathy.
The visiting hours are 8.00AM to 6.00PM. The entry fees are Rs. 5/- per adult & Rs. 1/- for Children. An extra Rs. 25/- is charged for to use a camera and Rs. 1000/- inside the complex.
Famous elephants of Sree Guruvayurappan

Gokulam and Vrindavanam estate at Kaveedu

Vrindavanam Estate is a 100-acre estate at Vengad in Malapuram District, about 55 Kilometers from Guruvayur under the possession of Devaswom This is known as Vrindavanam Estate. The estate has cultivation of coconuts, cashew trees etc. along with palm and other vegetation, which provides not only cash crops but also feed for the temple elephants and cattle. Besides this, there is a 25-acre plot called Gokulam where cows offered to the Lord by His devotees are maintained. At present there are about 550 cows in the estate.

Allied Institutions

Book Stalls

Bookstalls are situated in Room.No.1, Vaijayanthi Building and in the Western Pathayapura building. In addition to Devaswom publications spiritual and religious books are available in the bookstalls. Working hours: From 5 a.m to 9 p.m.

Religious Books Library

The Religious Books Library is in the Eastern Block of the Sathram. Books in Sanskrit, Malayalam, English, Hindi, Tamil etc are available here. Rare manuscripts inscribed in palm leaf and books for clarifying doubts are specialties of the library. It is being utilized by researchers and scholars. The reading room attached to the library supplies dailies, weeklies and monthlies in various languages.

School of Temple Music Instruments

The school imparts training in music instruments like Chenda, Thakil, Maddalam, Thimila, Kombu, Kurumkuzhal, Nadaswaram and Ashtapathi.Duration of the course is three years. Students are provided with the facility of formal education in Standard 8,9 and10. They are also given stipend and accommodation. The method of training is “Gurukula”(directly trained under a mentor)

Mural Study Centre

Gurukula education in mural study has been functional since 1989. National Diploma is awarded to students on successful completion of training for 5 years. Students are given stipend. At present the center is functioning in the Sathram Canteen Block.

Guruvayur Devaswom Museum.

The Devaswom Museum is in the Devaswom Office Annex below the Public Relations Office. The public can enjoy the sight of rare articles offered to Guruvayurappan by devotees. No entry fee. Working hours: 8 a.m to 8 p.m.

Medical Centre.

The medical center was opened in 1963 as a free dispensary. The service of expert doctors has been made availablesince1989. Approximately 250 patients avail free medical service every day. Besides free medical care free food is also provided to the inmates of Municipality Orphanage, Kasthurba Balika Sadanam, destitutes and other patients.E.E.G, E.C.G and operation theatre facilities are available. Ambulance service is provided round the clock at subsidized rate. Besides the Paediatrics, E.N.T, Dermatology and Orthopedic sections, free service is rendered by Neurologist, Physician, Gastroentologist, Ophthalmologist and Audiologist. Costly medicines offered to Guruvayurappan by companies and individuals are supplied free of cost from the Pharmacy. Devotees willing to contribute to the medical center may contact the Superintendent. (Phone.2556620)

Melpathur Smaraka Ayurvedic Hospital

The Melpathur Memorial Ayurvedic Hospital was opened in 2000. The service of expert physicians is available here. Pharmaceuticals and individuals offer medicines to the temple and the medicines are supplied free of cost to the patients. A large number of patients are given free treatment at the hospital.

Educational Institutions

The Guruvayur Devaswom runs Sree Krishna College, Sree Krishna Higher Secondary School and an English Medium School.

Vrindavanam Estate

The estate stretching in approximately 100 acres of land is situated at Vengad in Malappuram district. Palm trees to feed the elephants along with crops like cashew and coconut are cultivated here.

Gokulam Gosala

The cattle offered to Guruvayurappan are reared in Gokulam gosala sprawling in 25 acres inside the Vrindavan estate. The cowsheds provide rest and the ponds supply clean water to the cattle kept in the gosala.

Ambadi Housing Complex

It is a building complex of four residential flats near the Thaluk hospital and Thaluk office in Alathur village of Palakkad district.

Poonthanam Temple and Poonthanam Illam

The Poonthanam Temple and Illam (residential house) are situated on Perinthalmanna – Nilambur route, 68 kms away from the Guruvayur Temple, in Malappuram district. The prime deity of the temple is Mahavishnu. Ashtamirohini and Vidyarambham are considered very auspicious in the temple. Poonthanam day is celebrated in a grand manner in this place on the Aswathi of Kumbha.