The major Hindu pilgrim centre is 31km north-west of Thrissur.It is also known as the “Dwarka of South” and is famous for the SreeKrishna Temple. The antiquity of the temple can be traced prior to 16th century, but it is believed that the temple was created by Guru, the preceptor of the Devas and Vayu, the “Lord of Winds”. The idol of the Lord Guruvayur is said to have been worshipped by Lord Brahma himself at Dwarka.The eastern nada is the main entrance to the shrine. In the Chuttambalam (outer enclosure) is a 33.5m. High gold plated Dwajasthambam (flag post).There is a 7m high Dipastambham (pillar of lamps). Sreekovil is the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, which enshrines the main deity. Lord Krishna is the presiding deity of the temple and is popularly known as “Guruvayurappan” or the “Lord of Guruvayur”.The temple is also renowned for the healing powers. This is also a good place to watch Kerala Hindu marriage ceremony as it is the favorite venue for weddings and “Annaprasanam”, the first feeding ceremony of the child. There are four main festivals in the temple, which attract thousands of pilgrims from all over the country
Ekadasi, the eleventh day of every lunar fortnight, is very auspicious to the Hindus. Of the 24 Ekadasis in a year, the Vrishchika Ekadasi (Sukla paksha) has got special significance in Guruvayur temple. A memorial honour for Gajarajan Kesavan is conducted in Guruvayur. The Karanavar or head of the elephant family places a wreath at the statue of Kesavan in front of Sreevalsam guest house and all the other elephants stand around and pay obeisance. On Ekadasi day, the Udayasthamana Pooja (dawn to dusk pooja) is conducted by the Devaswom itself . After the morning seeveli, on Ekadasi there is a grand elephant procession to the Parthasarathi temple since it is regarded as Geethopadesam Day also. On Ekadasi after night pooja, the famous Ekadasi Vilakku with elephant procession takes place and provides a fitting finale to the festival..
Chembai Sangeetholsavam is an annual Carnatic music festival held in Guruvayur by the Guruvayur Devaswom at Thiruvaiyaru as a kind of homage to Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, one of the titans of Carnatic Classical Music. Chembai had conducted the festival in the temple town on his own for about 60 years. He used to invite all the great Carnatic Musicians to perform in the temple town and in course of time, the scale of the festival rivaled the Thiruvaiyaru Thyagaraja Aradhana, which is recognized as one of the most important festivals of homage paid to Saint Thyagaraja. The Guruvayur Devaswom decided to take charge after his death in 1974, and renamed it as Chembai Sangeetholsavam in his memory. About 2000-2500 musicians participate in this festival every year, and it is held for about 12–15 days culminating on the Guruvayur Ekadasi day, when all the musicians sing 5 favourite songs of Chembai and also the Pancharatna Kritis of Thyagaraja.