The Elephant Camp is placed at a distance of 3 km from the Guruvayurappan Temple at a place called Punnathur Kotta. This elephant camp is the largest of its kind in India. It used to belong to the kings of Punnathur. The sanctuary covers an area of 10 acres and gives shelter to around 60 elephants.
The elephants of this camp are in fact offerings made by pilgrims to the Guruvayurappan Temple. The famous tuskers Guruvayur Padmanabhan and Guruvayur Kesavan are products of this elephant sanctuary. These famous elephants attract a huge crowd. They serve during festivals and processions of the temples carrying deities.
Moreover, the elephants in the camp also take part in elephant race conducted by the temple authorities. These races, called Anayottam, are held to select the tusker that will be privileged to carry the Guruvayurappan Idol. The elephant race is entertaining to watch, and it pulls in many tourists.
Guruvayurappan Temple is one of the fourth most visited temples in India attracting thousands of devotees every day. The temple is also called "Bhooloka Vaikuntam" and a visit to this temple is considered to be very auspicious. The residing God of this temple is Bal Gopalan, a name of Lord Krishna describing him as a child.
The shrine is decorated with images and mural paintings of Krishnaleelakal which refers to the childhood of Krishna. It is at this place that Krishnattam Kali originated, which is a folk art of Kerala. The temple also organises Carnatic music and other traditional dance forms of Kerala.
The temple conducts weddings and Choroonu almost every day. Free meals are offered to the devotees two-times a day. The festival of Shiveli, where procession with temple elephants carrying the residing deity is carried out, is not to be missed if you are in Guruvayur during that time.
Mammiyur Mahadeva Temple is situated near to the esteemed Guruvayurappan Temple. As the name says, this temple is devoted to Lord Shiva. This temple is decorated with mural paintings. In these paintings, you will see images of Mohini, a female incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is said that a pilgrim to Guruvayur will remain incomplete, if you have not paid a visit to the Mammiyur Mahadeva Temple.
As a result, this temple is visited by the thousands of devotees who have come to the Guruvayurappan Temple. According to a popular myth, this temple was established at that place where Lord Shiva relocated after he donated his abode to the Guruvayurappan Temple.
In the inner shrine of this Shiva temple, you will find images of Parvaty too. Shrines of Ganapathy, Subramanya, Ayyappa and Lord Vishnu can be found in the Mammiyur Mahadeva Temple.
The Institute of Mural Painting is a wonderful place to hang out after visiting the numerous temples of Guruvayur. It was established in the year 1989 by Shri Mammiyoor Krishnankutty, who is a genius for mural paintings. The Institute of Mural Painting is administered by the Guruvayur Devaswom and is situated near the Guruvayurappan Temple.
The institute offers programmes in mural painting, art, aesthetics and sculpture. It provides five year diploma courses in these programmes. The school conforms to the traditional system of teaching, the Gurukul system where the pupils reside close to their teacher. This institute conducts various seminars, exhibitions and training programmes related to the heritage of Kerala.
Students from Kerala and other states enroll here to learn art.
The Parthasarathy Temple is one of the famous tourist destinations of Guruvayur. The residing deity is Parthasarathy, another form of Lord Krishna when he becomes the friend and guide of Arjuna during the battle of Kurukshetra.
The idol in this temple is believed to be ensconced by Adi Shankara. The temple also has a shrine for Adi Shankara. The main shrine of the temple is elegantly designed like a chariot. You can see the beautifully carved horse and the wheels of the chariot too. The overall structure of the Parthasarathy Temple is outstanding; the walls of the temple are adorned with delicate work of art.
The Devaswom Museum is situated towards the east gate of the Guruvayurappan Temple. It stores various important artifacts such as musical instruments, antiques, mural paintings, temple materials among many other important materials related to art and culture.
The museum also treasures the valuable offerings of the Guruvayurappan Temple and the ornaments used to bedeck the elephants during the commencement of the Guruvayur festival. The Devaswom Museum also exhibits pictures, idols and other belongings of famous poets like Poonthanam and Melapthur. It also displays the unique jewellery used in the performance of folk arts like Kathakali and Krishnanattam.
The place is a famous tourist attraction. A visit to this museum at Guruvayur is a must to know more about the culture of Kerala.
The Palayur Church is a tourist favourite in Guruvayur. This church was laid by St. Thomas, an apostle of Jesus Christ. Out of seven churches built by the noted Apostle, this church is one of them. The beauty of this church lies in its architectural beauty which depicts the life and work of St. Thomas.
There were about fourteen granite idols in the church that portray the life and work of the Apostle at different stages. These statues can be seen at the entrance of this church. During the celebration of the Palayur Mahatheerthadanam festival, devotees from every nook and corner of India come here carrying a wooden cross.
Muppittu Njayar, Thukharana Thirunal and Tharpana Thirunal are other important events conducted at the Palayur Church. Newborn babies are brought to this church on Muppittu Njayar for baptising.
Chamundeswari Temple sits with pride in the vicinity of the Guruvayurappan Temple. Shri Chamundeswari is the presiding Goddess of this temple. Chamundeswari is another form of Mother Durga. In the premises of this temple, there is another shrine which is consecrated to Thazhthukavu Bhagavathy.
The deity of this shrine is laid in the form of a stone slab. The Chamundeswari Temple is an ancient temple which is visited by hundreds of devotees every year. Devotees visiting the Guruvayurappan Temple always offer prayers here. The temple is situated in the heart of the holy town of Guruyavur. Chamundeswari Temple is a nice place to meditate and to seek the divine power.
Chowalloor Shiva Temple is one of most famous temples of Shiva. It is considered as one of the Shivalayas. There are 108 Shivalayas; Shivalaya means ‘Holy Abode of Lord Shiva’. The temple is situated near Guruvayur, in an exquisite location. Though the temple is dedicated to Shiva, you will find an idol of Thiruvambadi Krishna inside the shrine just at the entrance.
The Shivalinga at the main shrine is very special. The main ritual celebrated with fervour is the Shivaratri. Come to this temple where you are at Guruvayur. The ambience of the temple will help you find peace and solemnity.
Harikanyaka Temple is situated at Ariyanoor. Ariyanoor is a small village adjacent to the holy town of Guruvayur. This aged temple is considered to be built by Perumthachan, the ancient legendary carpenter. Harikanyaka Temple is consecrated to Lord Vishnu. Harikanyaka refers to ‘a virgin form of Lord Vishnu’.
Legends say that Lord Ayyappa is the son of Mohini or Harikanyaka and Lord Shiva. Erstwhile Harikanyakapuram, now known as Ariyannur, was the capital of 32 deshams. Harikanyaka Temple is preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India. It is visited by thousands of people every year and especially during the celebration of the 15 day festival in the months of March-April.
The Venkatachalapathy Temple is seated near to the famous Parthasarathy Temple at the scared town of Guruvayur. The temple is dedicated to Lord Venkatachalapathy. Lord Venkatachalapathy is another avatar of Lord Vishnu. Thousands of devotees throng this temple every year with the belief that a visit to this temple will put an end to all the problems in life and bring happiness and good fortune in future.
This temple is located in a beautiful landscape with greenery all around. The unpolluted and peaceful environment and the impressive background will truly comfort your soul and make you forget about your anxieties.