According to the legends, the idol worshipped
here is more than 5000 years old. But there are no historical
records to establish it. In the 14th century Tamil literature 'Kokasandesam',
references about a place called Kuruvayur is there. As early as 16th
century (50 years after the Narayaneeyam was composed) many
references are noted about Kuruvayur. In ancient Dravidic, Kuruvai
means sea, hence the village on the coast may be called Kuruvayur.
But according to Prof. K V Krishna Iyer (eminent historian), the
Brahmins had begun to come and settle at Kodungalloor during the
period of Chandra Gupta Maurya ( 321-297 BC). Trikkunavay in the
Guruvayur documents is the same as Thrikkanamathilakam or Mathilakam
mentioned in the Dutch and British records. And this place was in
between Guruvayur and Kodungalloor. Guruvayur was Trikkunavay's
subordinate shrine since they were destroyed by the Dutch in 1755.
That way Guruvayur must have come into existence before 52 AD. The
story of Pandyan King building a shrine here may be a reference to
the Azhavars , but they are all silent in their writing about
It was Melpathur's Narayaneeyam through which the Temple got
publicity. The concept of Unnikrishna popularised by Poonthanam ,
Kururamma, and Villwamangalam brought more and more devotees to
52 feet Maraprabhu at Sree Guruvayur Temple. The
biggest Terracotta Idol in the world. Inaugurated by Sri. K.
Karunakaran the then Industrial Minister Government of India. The
idol Lord Mraprabhu is the material embodiment of all the medicinal
herbs all over the world.
Lord Maraprabhu is the whole and complete symbol of the eternal
potentialities of medicinal herbs.This idol, which is installed in
the Sreevalsam of guruvayur devaswam, is one of the biggest
terracotta idols in the world. The spiritual energy generated
instantaneously at the sight of Lord Maraprabhu is capable of curing
all ailments. Those who have found medicines ineffective even after
years of treatment will be healed miraculously and will also gain
Abheeshtasiddhi at the very sight of this wonderful idol.
This idol sculptured in the traditional terracotta style, is also a
symbol of the bond between man and clay. This idol with its trunk
sucking at the deeper most essence of the earth for sustenance, with
the eyes of Sun sparkling into Eternity; with the crown overflowing
with boughs charged with the herbal power will be a powerful antenna
of the world. The grace that emanates from Lord Maraprabhu will
harmonies the human mind and awaken his subconscious. The idol Lord
Maraprabhu will spread happiness in the world till the end of time.
Meditating Lord Maraprabhu, people can open up a new chapter in
their life, with the blessings of Lord Sree guruvayurappan World
Cosmic Power. Thousands of Artists worked hard for months together
to complete this holy idol, which is constructed in terracotta.
Thousands of different types of herbs were used in the thanthric
construction of this idol, which is 52 feet tall.
Manjulal was a virtuous and devout girl belong to
Variyar caste Every night she used to bring garlands for the Lord.
One day she was late and the temple got closed. She could reach only
up to the banyan tree (from where elephant race starts during
Utsavam), and started feeling guilty. Poonthanam, on his way back
from the temple saw her crying near the banyan tree. He comforted
her and said that she could place the garland on the stone at the
foot of the banyan tree, since the Lord is everywhere. She was
convinced, kept the garland there and went home with satisfaction.
Next day morning, the Melsanthi removed all the garlands from the
idol, but one garland remained stuck on the idol. The devotees were
puzzled but Poonthanam realised last night’s event. It was the
garland, which Manjula had placed on the stone at the foot of the
Poonthanam told the story to everyone and then the garland slipped
down from the idol. Devotees started chanting the name of the Lord
and struggled to collect the flowers from the garland. Worshipers
went to the banyan tree to offer their obeisance. Since then, the
banyan tree came to be known as Manjulal.
The Devaswom maintains a unique elephant
sanctuary, the only one of its kind in the World. It has 51
elephants now. These jumbos are the offerings of the devotees to the
Lord. A large number of pilgrims and tourists visit this fascinating
spot every day. In this vast compound, there are road facilities for
pilgrims and tourists to go around. The present elephant sanctuary
is in Punnathur Kotta about 3 kms north of Guruvayur temple.
Punnathur Kotta is the ancient palace of the Punnathur Rajas, now in
the possession of the Devaswom. There is also an ancient temple
where Lord Siva and Bhagavathy are worshiped. It is a 10 acre
compound which Devaswom purchased in 1975, which was under receiver
rule of Trichur sub court. Till that time elephants were kept in
this Kovilakam compound (present Sreevalsam) to the south of the