Famed for its immense temple said to have been built by an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Guruvayoor is an important Hindu pilgrimage town in Kerala. It’s home to a unique dance form and a museum showcasing temple art and offerings, together with an elephant camp housed in the grounds of a former palace.
Things to do in Guruvayoor
Considered one of the most important places of worship for Hindus in India, the red-roofed Guruvayoor Temple enshrines a divine idol of Bhagavan Vishnu. While the temple itself is not open to non-Hindus, all visitors can admire the illumination of its walls by night and experience the exciting atmosphere as devotees arrive to pray and make offerings.
The Guruvayoor Temple is also renowned for its unique Krishnanattam art form, which emerged in the 14th century and is considered the predecessor of Kathakali classical Indian dance. Performances are held outside the temple, with elaborate costumes worn to depict the 10 stories of Krishna’s life.
Want a glimpse of the riches that adorn the interior of the Guruvayoor Temple? Stop in at the Devaswom Museum, where rare temple offerings are exhibited. Admire exquisite antiques, traditional musical instruments and mural paintings, together with folk art showcasing the Krishnanattam and Kathakali traditions.
Guruvayoor is also home to Punnathur Elephant Palace, which is home to around 60 domesticated elephants gifted as temple offerings. Join devotees as they feed and worship the elephants in the courtyard of a traditional Kerala-style palace.
Getting around Guruvayoor
Guruvayoor is under two hours’ drive from Cochin International Airport and trains from Chennai and Madurai arrive at Guruvayoor Railway Station. Taxis and auto rickshaws are available near the temple complex, but the town is compact enough to explore on foot.