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Book – Heaven on Earth – The Universe of Kerala’s Guruvayur Temple

Heaven on Earth: The Universe of Kerala’s Guruvayur Temple, written by British writer and photographer Pepita Seth, narrates the history of Guruvayoor Sri Krishna Temple, its rituals and beliefs, its traditional style of management, its festivals and its patronage of ancient art forms in Kerala and its elephants. The book is a result of seven years’ research and is supported by brilliant photographs.

Driven by passion and respect for Kerala’s culture and traditions, Pepita Seth began seriously photographing and writing about the rituals of Hindus in Kerala from the 1970s. In 1981, she was given official permission to enter Hindu temples in Kerala.

The Guruvayoor Sri Krishna Temple is one of the most important Hindu temples in world and is frequented by millions of devotees. The temple is mentioned in the ‘Mahabharata’. The history of the idol worshipped in the temple goes back to the Dwapara Yuga when Lord Krishna lived on earth.

“I feel that Guruvayur is important on many different levels: it has existed for centuries and sustained devotees while maintaining its complex ritual cycle... There is ‘something’ intangible but deeply felt. People’s relationship with Guruvayurappan is intense and often very moving; He is loved. I could go on but I am sure you know what I mean! And, of course, I am a devotee!” (In an interview given to the Hindu Magazine section by Pepita Seth.)

Heaven on Earth: The Universe of Kerala’s Guruvayur Temple includes detailed descriptions of rituals and concepts behind them and is the first such book on the temple.

The book includes a brief introduction, details of the temple, myth and history, the Ooralan and the Zamorin (rulers and administrators), the Sri Krishna Idol, the priests, the worship of the Lord, daily poojas, dawn to dusk pooja, servants of the Lord, about ardent devotees, the traditional arts, the elephants of Guruvayur, Ekadasi at the temple, an year in the Temple, the Bhagavathi, the Sahasrakalasam and the Lord's Festival. The book is supported by a glossary and index and 215 photographs.

Heaven on Earth: The Universe of Kerala’s Guruvayur Temple
By Pepita Seth
Published by Niyogi Books
Price: Rupees: 2995/-