Guruvayoor Festivals



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Janmashtami/Ashtamirohini

Devotees from all over thronged the temple town of Guruvayur in the month of Chingam (July-Aug), under the Rohini Nakshatra, on the 8th day of the waning moon of Sravana is the day of Lord Krishnas birth i.e. Janmashtami.A very special day in all Sreeto participate in the Ashtami Rohini festival which is believed to coincide with the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna.

The town wore a festive look since few  days before with illuminations, `declaration processions and other forms of festivities arranged at various locations as a mark of the preparations for Ashtamirohini.

There was a steady flow of devotees to the town right from the morning. Devotees queued up for hours together for `darsan and for paying the fees for various offerings, particularly for `appam which is the main offering for Ashtami Rohini. A very special day in all Sree Krishna temples, Guruvayur Devaswom itself offer a niramala (full of garlands and lamps), devotees flock in with cakes of rice paste and jaggery considered the most favourite food of the Lord on that day.

Aarattu : Lords Thidambu is taken to the Rudratheertha (temple pond) for Aarattu, amidst the chanting of mantras.

Ekadasi : The eleveth day of lunar fortnight, is very auspicious to the Hindus. The most important festival during the Mandalam period, lasting for a month. It was on the Guruvayur Ekadasi day that Lord Krishna revealed the Gita to Arjuna.Highlights of the Guruvayur Ekadasi are the memorial honour for Gajarajan Kesavan and the Chembai Sangeetholsavam. Here the head of elepahant family or Karanavar put a wreath at the statue  of Kesavan and all the other elephants stand around and pay obeisance.

Chembai Sangeetholsavam : Chembai Sangeetholsavam is an annual Caranatic Music held at Guruvayur and conducted by Guruvayur Devaswom. This carnatic music festival is held for 11 days in the memory of Sri Chembai Vaidyanadha Bhagavathar, as part of the Ekadasi celebrations. Here all the great Carnatic Musicians used to perform when all the musicians sing 5 favourite songs of Chembai and also the Pancharatna Kritis  of Thyagaraja.

Utsavam : This festival is conducted in the month of Kumbha, i.e., in February or March and lasts for 10 days. The hoisting of the temple flag atop the flagstaff (Dwajastambham) about 70 feet high marks the beginning of the festival. On the 1st day, an elephant race is held.

The next 6 days, devotees can witness elephant processions in the morning, afternoon and night. In the morning, there is the Sribhuta Bali (offering of oblation at various altars). Besides this there are also various cultural programs. On the 8th day, during Utsavabali (from 10 am to 4 pm) oblations are offered to the Lords lieutenants. A sumptuous feast then awaits the devotees. Pallivetta or the hunting expedition of the Lord takes place on the 9th day. This hunt is symbolic of the destruction of Kama (desire), Krodha (anger) and other such evils that plague us in our life.

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