|Guruvayur is the temple town of Kerala, coming within the Thrissur District. The Sreekrishna Temple there is famous, attracting thousands of devotees from all over the world. Almost everyday, thousands visit this temple, and on special days this number exceeds lakh.|
Guruvayur town got the status of a Township from 1962. Its area was 6.49 sq. km. with a population of 17,858 (1981 census). The administration of this township was controlled by a committee headed by the District Collector of Thrissur District. Later in 2000, the township was made a Municipality with a total area of 7.476 sq. km. As per the 2001 census the population of this municipality was 21,187 with females forming 54% of it.
Municipality is divided into 22 wards for administrative convenience. Total literacy is reported as 85%. The main road connecting Chavakkad and Kunnamkulam, Chittatukara road and Thykad Panchayath make the boundaries of the municipality.
The name of this place is connected with the famous Sreekrishna temple here, as already mentioned. Certain earlier records show that the name of the temple was 'Kuruvayur'. This was later Sanskritised as 'Guruvayur', might be after the publication of the famous Sanskrit verse on Lord Vishnu, “Narayaneeyam", by Melpathur Bhattathiri.
The administrative control of the temple was with the King Zamorin (Samoothiri) of Kozhikode. It was during this period that the temple got the present structure with major constructions such as 'elephant stand' (aana kottil), golden flag mast (swarna kotimaram), koothambalam (wherin the Chakkiar koothu – a type of mono-act play by Chakkiar is conducted), modification of entry portion of sanctum sanctorum, etc. Later the copper roofing of the sanctum sanctorum was given gold-covering.
The main entry gateways (gopurams) on both East and West were constructed about hundred years ago. The golden flag mast was fixed in the year 1949. The rituals related to temple are conducted with the advice of an expert (Thanthri) belonging to a Nambudiri family (Chennas Mana).
In Kerala, Guruvayur attracts the maximum number of devotees everyday. On the special day, the Ekadasy day (falling in the Malayalam month, 'Vrischikam' (November- December)) the temple is crowded by devotees numbering more than a lakh. Daily there are twelve different poojas starting with 'Nirmalyam' in the early morning and ending with 'thrippuka' in the night.
The life histories of Melpathur Bhattathiri and Poonthanam Nambuthiri are very much connected with Guruvayur temple and its diety, Guruvayurappan (Sreekrishnan). Their literary works are directly related to Lord Vishnu and his incarnation Sreekrishna.
Now the Guruvayur temple administration is carried out by a committee, with nine members nominated by the State Government. The senior-most member of the Zamorin family and the Thanthry will be there in the committee.
Guruvayur is famous for a struggle for temple entry rights for the lower caste people. It was late Sri. Kelappan who led the 'Satyagraha' organized by the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee in the year 1931. It was a long struggle, lasting for about ten months. This struggle helped creating a total social change among the people of Kerala.