Guruvayur Festival, Kerala
The grand Guruvayur festival in Kerala is a major draw for the tourists across the world. The city seems bubbling with joy and fervor as the festival days approach toward the middle of March. The gorgeously decorated elephants, splendid illumination with tall traditional lamps make for a sight to behold.
The temple, constructed between 16 and 17 century is one of the foremost religious sites in Kerala. The presiding deity here is 'Guruvayurappan' (Lord Krishna). The temple still maintains its conservative norms and allows only Hindus inside. Elaborate rituals are performed regularly. Legend has it that, the rites were originally prescribed by the Hindu prophet Adi Shankaracharya who hailed from this part of Kerala. The most striking thing about the temple is that here the elephants are still are integral part of the regular rituals while in the other temples of Kerala, they are used only at the time of festivals.
The 10-day Guruvayur festival signifies the occasion of restoration of divine Chaitanya (conscious). An elephant race inaugurates the festival. This is a unique event. The winning elephant is conferred with the honor of carrying the idol of the deity. The Guruvayur festival also showcases the cultural heritage of the region as the locals perform the traditional dances and music. The enticing dance dramas based on the myths and legends of Lord Krishna's life are regular proceedings during the festival days.
A tour to the Guruvayur during the festival provides you fantastic opportunity to experience the life and culture of the region. Add to that the lip-smacking traditional cuisine of Kerala, which obviously becomes the focus during the festive seasons.