Guruvayoor , Kerala
Malayalam, English, Tamil, Hindi
The small town of Guruvayoor is flourishing due to the Great Krishna Temple which draws hundreds of people to the town every day.
While it’s a shame that the humble temple follows strict rules and its grounds remain inaccessible to the non-Hindus, the area surrounding the temple is more than generous to its visitors so that there are plenty of things to see and do. There are several festivals like the Gurvayoor Festival when music and dancing fill the streets and traditional performances are showcased to tourists that come from all over the world.
The alleys outside the temple’s East and West Nada (or Gates), never falter on the hustle and bustle. Because of the cart and shops that are open everyday for selling anything from delightful local sweets and delicacies to affordable traditional handicrafts, colorful textiles, and paintings that depict the town’s religious practices and history, there’s never a dull moment in these shopping areas. What’s more is visitors can actually take home some memorable pieces of this beautiful pilgrim town with them.
In and around town, there are also a number of charming attractions that are worth wandering around. The giant statues of Guruvayoor Kesaven and Maraphrabhu near the temple’s South Gate and the 100-acre Vrindavanam Estate located about 40 kilometer north of the town are examples of such attractions. Perhaps the best one, however, is the Punathur Elephant Palace, which serves as a sanctuary and a home to about 66 huge elephants that roam freely in its grounds.
Another great thing about this town is it has a good selection of affordable hotel accommodations and restaurants so it’s never a struggle to find a place to eat and stay for the night.
Whether visitors are there to worship in the temple or to just see the town’s other attractions and immerse themselves in its everyday life, they would never find that well running dry. Gurvayoor may be small enough to explore entirely on foot but because of its unique attractions, vibrant market, and welcoming locals, it’s always a great place to stop by.