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Thulabharam in Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple – How to Offer and the List of Materials Offered in Tulabharam

Thulabharam is a very important offering at the world famous Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple. Symbolic meaning of Tulabharam is that the person performing the ritual is offering himself or herself to Lord Guruvayoorappan.

The person performing the ritual prays that he/she is offering his/her body to the Lord and then offers a puja item or an item used in the temple equivalent to the weight of the person.

In the Thulabharam ritual, a devotee sits on a pan of the weighing balance and the other pan is filled with materials greater than the weight of the devotee. Anything from Gold to curry leaf is weighed and offered to Lord Krishna in the temple.

The most popular Thulabharam offerings are that of banana, sugar, jaggery and rice.

Thulabharam has been practiced from Dwapara Yuga. Temples in Tirupati, Guruvayur, Dwaraka, Udupi and several other temples in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh  practice the offering.

The earliest reference to a Thulabharam comes from the Mahabharata, about the great king Sibi offered himself on the weighing pan to save the life of a dove. 

How to Offer Thulabharam in Guruvayur Sri Krishna Temple?

There is a separate Thulabharam counter (window or booking office) in the temple. The booking office has a list of 57 items that can be offered as Thulabharam. It must be noted here that there is no hard and fast rule regarding Thulabharam material. Business people offer that item in which they are doing business.

Certain items will be provided by the temple for performing Thulabharam these include iron, silver, coins, kunnikuru (red color seed), paddy (rice with husk), sandalwood (Mysore), Sandalwood (local), and Kumbha or Theertha Kudam.

The person sits on one pan of the weighing balance with folded hands. 

The person then prayers for peace and prosperity.

Devotees who are suffering from a serious disease make Thulabharam offering for early cure.

Thulabharam of newly born child is now famous. There is a belief that the child who performs Thulabharam will have the protection of Guruvayoorappan.

Politicians including former prime ministers, chief ministers, governors, ministers and other famous personalities have offered Thulabharam.

List of Materials Offered in Thulabharam

  1. Uncooked boiled rice (red color rice used in Kerala – unakkalari)
  2. Uncooked raw rice
  3. Beaten rice (Poha or Aval)
  4. Tender coconut
  5. Coconut which is not fully ripened (known as Elavan in Kerala)
  6. Dates
  7. Salt
  8. Blackened Husk of rice (Umi)
  9. Uncooked Fenugreek (Methi or Uluva)
  10. Oil
  11. Kadali Plantain – especially found in Kerala
  12. Rock Sugar (Kalkandam)
  13. Mustard (Rai or Kaduku)
  14. Rope
  15. Curry leaf
  16. Pepper
  17. Small Banana
  18. Unripe small banana
  19. Hard outer covering of coconut (Chiratta) – mainly used as firewood.
  20. Coconut fiber (Chakiri)
  21. Thread of coconut fiber (Chakiri naru)
  22. Elephant Yam (Chena)
  23. Cumin (Jeera)
  24. Sugar
  25. Husk of rice
  26. Coconut without removing outer covering.
  27. Coconut after removing outer covering
  28. Nenthra Pazham (Ethapazham) – A type of Banana found in Kerala
  29. Nenthra Pazham which is not ripened (green color)
  30. Poovan Pazham (another kind of banana)
  31. Sugar (dust form)
  32. Newspaper
  33. River Sand
  34. Puffed rice (malar)
  35. Turmeric
  36. Pumpkin
  37. Coconut fronds
  38. Jaggery
  39. Vellarikka (a kind of cucumber found in Kerala)
  40. Firewood
  41. Rice straw bundle
  42. Butter
  43. Ghee
  44. Notebook
  45. White paper
  46. Grains (payar)
  47. Channa (Kadala)
  48. Tulsi
  49. Lotus
  50. Teertha Kumbham – Kumbha Kudam
  51. Karupatti (palm jaggery)
  52. Iron
  53. Kunnikuru (red color seed favorite of Guruvayoorappan)
  54. Rice with husk
  55. Sandalwood
  56. Coins
  57. Silver