Guruvayur Ekadasi – Ekadashi at Guruvayoor Sri Krishna Temple in Kerala



Ekadashi is a highly auspicious day dedicated to Lord Vishnu on the eleventh day of every lunar fortnight in traditional Hindu calendar. In 2014, the date of Guruvayur Ekadasi is December 2. There are 24 Ekadasis in a year and the Ekadashi that falls in the waxing phase of moon in the Malayalam month Vrishchikam (November – December) is observed as Guruvayur Ekadasi in the world famous Guruvayoor Sri Krishna Temple in Kerala – the abode of Guruvayurappan.

Lord Guruvayurappan is the owner of the largest number of elephants in India and on the Ekadashi day there are special elephant processions.

One of the most important rituals associated with Guruvayur Ekadashi, is the lighting of Ekadasi Vilakku (lamps). It starts a month before the actual Ekadasi day.

The temple does not close the doors of the Sanctum Sanctorum on Ekadasi day. The temple doors which opens on at 0300 hrs on Dasami, the day before Ekadasi, is only closed at 0900 hrs on Dwadasi Day – the day after Ekadashi.

A highlight of the Ekadasi is the honoring of the elephant Gajarajan Guruvayur Kesavan – an elephant that attained legendary status when it was alive and is still remembered and honored at the temple. Guruvayur Kesavan had died on a Guruvayur Ekadasi day. On the day, the leader of the elephants at Punnathur Kotta of the Guruvayur Temple places a garland at the statue of Guruvayur Kesavan and all the elephants stand around and pay obeisance.

There is also a grant elephant procession to the nearby Parthasarathy Temple as it is the day when Bhagavad Gita was rendered to Arjuna by Lord Krishna – Geeta Jayanti, which is known as Geethopadesam Day here.

At night on Ekadasi day, there is yet another elephant procession.

On the Dwadasi day – the day after Ekadasi – there is a unique custom of offering Dwadasi Panam in the Koothambalam of the temple. The Dwadasi Panam is a token amount of money and it is considered highly auspicious.