Monthly Archives: September 2010

UnnikKrishna Guruvayoorappa!!

You hear these words quite often in Kerala. Guruvayoorappan has a distinct place in every heart and every household. Guruvayoorappan Lord Krishna is THE GOD of God’s own country!

Kutty Krishnan
Kutty Krishnan with Vishnu

Guruvayur is most famous for its temple, which is many centuries old and one of the most important in Kerala. According to belief, the temple is the creation of guru, the preceptor of the goods, and vayu, the god of winds. The eastern nada is the main entrance to the shrine.The temple’s deity is Lord Guruvayurappan in the form of Balagopalan (Krishna in the form of a child). While non-Hindus are not permitted to enter the temple, Lord Guruvayurappan has strong believers from many religions. In Kerala, This is probably the only site for several weddings and ‘Annaprasanam’, the first feeding ceremony of child.

Guruvayoor Shethram
Guruvayoor Ambalam

Guruvayur temple is famous for two renowned classical literary works: Narayaneeyam by Melpathoor ��Narayana Bhattathiri and Jnanappana by Poonthanam. The temple also holds the annual festival (ulsavam) in the Malayalam month of Kumbham (February-March) during which it hosts classical arts like Kathakali, Koodiyattam, Panchavadyam, Thayambaka and Panchari Melam. The place has given birth to many noted ethnic instruments like chenda, maddalam, timila, ilathalam and idakka.

Koodiyattam,  Panchavadyam, Kathakali
Koodiyattam, Panchavadyam, Kathakali

At the time of Tippu sulthan’s invasion the holy idol of Sri Guruvayoorappan shifted to Ambalappuzha temple and then shifted to Mavelikkara sri Krishnaswamy Temple.

Guruvayurappan
Guruvayurappan

Guruvayur Devaswom managing committee of the famous Sri Krishna Temple in Guruvayur has now changed the dress code and now women are allowed to wear churidars and pyjamas to enter the temple. Men wearing pants (trousers) and shirts are still not allowed.

Guruvayoor dresscodes
New dresscodes in Guruvayur

Before the decision came into existence, only women wearing sari or Kerala’s traditional mundu and veshti were allowed inside the temple. The change in the outdated custom is a great relief to thousands of female devotees from India as well as from abroad. The similar outdated custom still prevails in the Sri Padmanabha Swami Temple in Trivandrum, Kerala. If you are visiting Guruvayoor Temple the visit is not complete without visiting the nearby Shivan Temple at Mammiyoor, every devotee who goes to Guruvayoor is supposed to go to Mammiyoor also, as the ritual goes. If you have a day extra you can also visit Trichur to see Lord Vadakkunnathan.

Thulabharam is an important ritual at the Sri Krishna Temple in Guruvayur, Kerala. In the ritual, the devotee sits on the one side of a weighing balance. The other side of the weighing balance is filled with materials which he/she wishes to offer. The devotee offers materials of his/her weight or more, offering one’s weight of such materials as coconut, coconut water, butter, sugar, fruits, copper, silver, gold or any other material is a popular vow taken by devotees.

Guruvayoor thulabaram
Guruvayoor thulabaram

The Devaswom will supply most of the materials. There is no advance booking. But for the materials like flowers etc. which may not be immediately available, Devaswom should be informed at least a day in advance or the devotees can bring it. The weighing facilities are available on both sides of the entrance inside the Eastern Gopuram. The expenses involved can be remitted after the offering. For non-Hindus, the thulabharam facility is available near the Kalyana mandapam.

While listing about the features, specialities of guruvayoor I should tell you about Guruvayur Kesavan , one of the leading elephant names associated with the temple is that of Guruvayur Kesavan which was a legendary elephant. Am dam sure that no one can forget its existence. It has found a place for it in the temple’s folklore.

Gajarajan- Guruvayur Kesavan, Vellia Kesavan
Gajarajan- Guruvayur Kesavan, Vellia Kesavan

The temple is a major venue for Hindu marriages in Kerala. A record number of marriages take place each day at the temple sometimes crossing 100 in a single day. Devotees of Lord Guruvayurappan think it is highly auspicious to start married life in front of the lord.

Guruvayoor marriage stage
Guruvayur marriage stage

To enter the four walls of the temple, we need to obey rules and regulations set by certain individuals with covert intentions. But sadly these people never realize that the four walls cannot confine Lord Krishna. He is everywhere and he smiles and plays with all the people. Next time while waiting in the queue to enter into the Guruvayur Temple, just look around you will find Lord Krishna playing all around the temple, not only in the temple his presence his filled everywhere.

Kaakanae Krishna!!!! Smiley

My Onam Celebration 2010

Onam is the most favorite festival for me from my childhood, not only for me but also for most of the keralites. Diwali is called the festival of lights likewise we can tell Onam as the festival of flowers, festival of feast, festival of games and it goes on.

Usually Onam is celebrated in the beginning of the month of Chingam, the first month of Malayalam Calendar (Kollavarsham). Onam lasts for ten days and is linked to many elements of Kerala’s culture and tradition.

This year my Onam celebration was in Kerala, god’s own place. The first day of Onam celebration is Atham. This is the day which makes all of us to believe that King Mahabali has started his preparations to come from heaven to Kerala. This year I also went to Thrikkakara temple which is considered as the home of our king Mahabali. This temple marks the start of festivities every year on atham.

Thrikkakara Shethram
Thrikkakara Shethram

The second day of Onam is Chithira, which makes us to get lean, means that much of cleaning work will be there in this day and then comes my lovable day Vishakam,fourth day of Onam which indicates the start of many Onam related competitions like� Pookalam competitions .

Anizham is the fifth day of Onam which indicates the start of VallamKali. Vallamkali will be very delicious to watch. I can also say that Vallamkali is one of the main attractions of onam. Karuvatta, Payippad, Aranmula and Kottayam are the places where Vallamkali is very famous. The boats will be designed like a snake, which is called Chundans.

Vallamkali
Vallamkali

The sixth day of Onam is Thriketa– from this day most of the schools and even offices will also start issuing holidays. To my pleasant surprise this year all my relatives came and we all joined together to put the Pookalam. The pookalam designs will be very large by this time, at least 5 to 6 new flowers types will be added to the original designs and in our pookalam we added many flowers this year which grew in our garden at that time.

Moolam, the seventh day of Onam, from today we started to prepare smaller versions of OnaSadhya, means the number of items prepared will be less when compared to the items prepared on Thiruonam. I then went with my relatives to watch Pulikkali and Kaikotti Kali which was conducted nearby.

Pooradam– Eighth day, I just took the Mahabali and Vamana statues from the pooja room and my niece washed the statues and at last we placed that statues on the middle of the pookalam, smeared with rice-flour batter.

Uthradom � Ninth day, the day which I was eagerly waiting is yet to come. We used to call this day as Onam eve, in this day we went to purchase fresh vegetables and fruits along with other provisions for Thiruonam. This purchase is celebrated in the name of Uthradapachal.

Thiruonam– The tenth day of Onam Celebrations. The final day of Onam that culminates the 10 days of Onam Carnival. The day is known as Thiru-Onam. It was the day Mahabali was suppressed to underworld by Vamana.

King Mahabali with Vamana avatar
King Mahabali with Vamana avatar

Hence Kaikottikkali will be played in his thought, as a remembrance. I too joined in the Kaikottikkali this year. We started our play by singing a song

Maveli Nadu Vaneedum Kalam
Manusharellarum onnu pole”

Like this many songs we sung. Next comes the Onasadhya the grand feast which will be prepared in our houses for all main functions. Onasadhya is prepared on the last day of Onam, called Thiruonam. People of Kerala wish to depict that they are happy and prosperous to their dear King Mahabali, whose spirit is said to visit Kerala at the time of Onam. Onasadya is served in Banana leafs. There is a way of placing the leaf and an order of serving the dishes. If so we serve the food in a wrong order means getting scolding from the people there around is for sure.

OnaSadya
OnaSadya

Injipuli, Injithair, Naranga achcharu, Papadam, Banana Chips ,Chakaravattu upery, Sarkarapuratty, Paruppu Curry, Varuthu aracha Sambar, Avial, Kalan, Olan, Thoran, Vellarikya Pachhady, Erissery, Pulisery, Kootucurry, ,Manga Curry, Payasam, Prathaman are the items we made for this year Onam. Rice is the main course. With rice, various kinds of dishes are served. Fruits are also served, mainly plantain. Like this my Onam festival got over this year.

Eagerly waiting for next year’s Onam. Smiley