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Indulge yourself in the tales of the Little Krishna of Kerala, Guruvayurappan

Guruvayurappan is a manifestation of Lord Vishnu revered mostly in Kerala. He is the presiding divinity of the temple Guruvayur, who is venerated as Shri Krishna in his younger form, otherwise called Guruvayoor Unnikannan (little-Krishna). Even though the divinity is that of chaturbahu Vishnu, the idea (Sankalpam) of individuals is that the god is the newborn form of Lord Krishna. The divinity addresses the purna rupa (full avatar) uncovered by newborn Krishna to his parents Vasudeva and Devaki succeeding his arrival in Kamsa's prison. So this is the motivation behind why newborn Krishna is revered as a Vishnu god. The temple is situated in the town of Guruvayur, Thrissur, Kerala, India, which is named after the actual divinity.

The word Guruvayurappan, Lord of Guruvayur, comes from the words Guru indicating Brihaspati, the Guru of the Devas, Vayu, the God of Wind and Appan, referring to 'father' or 'Ruler' in Malayalam. Since Guru and Vayu built Krishna's divine presence, the name Guruvayurappan was given to the god.

It is accepted that the symbol of Guruvayurappan was loved and venerated by Vasudeva and Devaki and addresses the complete avatar of Lord Vishnu, and later was adored by Lord Krishna, an Avatar of Lord Vishnu Himself. The divinity is made of a stone called "Patala Anjanam" or dark bismuth and is in the standing posture with four arms, conveying the Panchajanya (conch), the Sudarshana Chakra (chakra or circle), Padma (lotus), and the Kaumodaki (gada or mace). 

The legendary story of Guruvayurappan Temple

Although the main anecdote surrounding the deity's idol begins with the tale of Lord Krishna, some of the legends about it are even older, since it is believed to have been built by Lord Vishnu himself. The story is told exhaustively in the part 'Guru Pavana Pura Mahatmyam' from Narada Purana. King Parikshit, Arjuna's grandson and the child of Abhimanyu, passed away from a bite of a poisonous snake Takshaka, because of a curse which fell upon him. King Janamejaya, his child, needed to retaliate for his dad's untimely death by killing every snake, including Takshaka, and for that, he directed a furious yajna called 'Sarp Ahuti Yajna' (Snake penance). Many honest snakes were killed in the yajna fire, however, Takshaka couldn't be killed because he had consumed amritam.  Because of his rash decision, Janamejaya was cursed by the snakes and suffered from leprosy. He attempted various ways of regaining his health, however, none worked. He lost his desire to live. Around then, sage Atreya (the child of sage Atri) stayed with him and advised him to worship Lord Mahavishnu in Guruvayur,i.e., Guruvayurappan.

The Many Miracles of Guruvayurappan

Melpathur Narayana Bhattithiri was a fervent worshiper of Guruvayoorappan. He wrote 1034 verses Narayaneeyam, a synopsis of the Bhagavata Purana. He was a student of Achyuta Pisharody, who turned out to be sick. As a devoted student, Melpathur Bhattithiri accepted the sickness upon himself as Guru Dakshina. The infection was hopeless, and he was told by Ezhuthachan to turn into a worshiper of Guruvayoorappan. Being a Sanskrit researcher, Melpathur Bhattithiri wrote one verse each and every day for the Lord, and after the last verse, he was cured of his disease.

Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar lost his voice out of nowhere at the peak of his career while he was performing in a concert at Suchindram. A few specialists attempted to fix him but could not heal his ailment. He went to Guruvayur and begged the Lord. His voice was given back to him.


Q1. What is a popular nickname for Lord Guruvayuraappan?

Lord Guruvayurappan is also fondly called “Bhooloka Vaikunta” by his devotees, because of the Lord’s four arms. 

Q2. What is the Udayasthamana Pooja in Guruvayur Temple?

As per the authorities of Guruvayur Temple, Udayasthamana Puja is celebrated for 90 days per year. The puja is quite possibly the most sought-after celebration in the temple. It is temple worship that is carried out from sunrise to sunset.