Special Days and Functions
The Aswathi of Kumbha is celebrated as the Poonthanam day in honour of the great vernacular poet Poonthanam. The day is celebrated with literary competitions and cultural programmes. Poonthanam Illam (house of Poonthanam) is taken over and preserved by Guruvayur Devaswom and the day is celebrated both at the illam and at Guruvayur temple.
Melpathur Day and Melpathur Memorial
The abode of Merlpathur is situated near the Chandanakkavu Bhagavathi temple, three kms away from Thirunavaya Vishnu temple in Malappuram district. A life size statue of Narayana Bhattathiripad, the writer of Sreemannarayaneeyam was erected in the Mandapam built in this place owned by Guruvayur Devaswom. Narayaneeyam day is celebrated in the memorial on the 8th of Vrischikam every year just as it is celebrated in Guruvayur temple on 28th of Vrischikam. It is the day when the great poet Narayana Bhattathiripad dedicated his magnum opus Sreemannarayaneeyam to Guruvayurappan in the year 762.The day is celebrated with competitions for students and cultural programmes.
Thulam 30th is celebrated as Krishnageethi day since the year 1160 (1984). It was on the 30th of Thulam that Manavedan Namboothiripad dedicated his Sanskrit composition entitled Krishnageethi to Guruvayurappan. The performing art Krishnanattom is based on this composition.
Ashtamirohini is the birth time of Sree Guruvayurappan. It is celebrated with great rejoicing and various cultural programmes to commemorate the incarnation of Lord Krishna at Ashtamirohini in the month of Chingam. As part of the Bhagavatha sapthaha yajna conducted by the devaswom, the story of the incarnation of the Lord is narrated on this day. Palpayasam and ada are the special offerings of the day. All devotees who come to the temple on the day get the opportunity to relish the birthday feast. Thousands of devotees attend the celebration every year.
The awards for outstanding performance in the temple arts of Koothu, Koodiyattom, Sopanasangeetham, Krishnanattom, Padakam, Melam, Pancha vadyam, Nadaswarom, Sculpture, Murals and the art of making elephant paraphernalia are distributed on the day. The award consists of a citation and Rs.10001. An expert committee selects the winners.
Ekadasi is one of the greatest annual celebrations of Guruvayur temple. Ekadasi falling in the Veluthapaksham in the month of Vrischikam is celebrated as the historical Guruvayur Ekadasi. Lamp lighting in connection with the celebration starts a month before. Illumination using oil lamps on Ashtami, Navami, Dasami and Ekadasi attracts a lot of people to the temple. Special feast is supplied to devtees coming to the temple on Ekadasi, Dwadasi and Thrayodasi. Thousands reach the temple to participate in the celebration from different parts of the country.
Commemoration of Kesavan
The memory of the great elephant of GD called Kesavan is sacred to all devotees of Guruvayurappan. Kesavan expired on 2nd December 1976, which was the day of Ekadasi. In memory of the departed Kesavan, a procession of all elephants of the temple is taken out from the Thiruvenkitachalapathi temple to the statue of Kesavan in front of the Sreevalsam Guest House. After garlanding the statue, the elephants are fed in the temple.
As part of Ekadasi celebration an Aksharaslokam competition is held every year. Experts from all parts of Kerala participate in the competition and first, second and third place winners are presented with gold medallions.
Ekadasi is also celebrated the day of Geetha. Recital of Geetha and discourses on Geetha start at Koothambalam from 7 a.m onwards.
Chembai Music Festival
The music festival is yet another attraction of Ekadasi. The day is celebrated in memory of the great Carnatic music maestro and staunch devotee of Guruvayurappan Sri. Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar. The festival begins 15 days before Ekadasi and ends with a grand finale in the Ekadasi night at the Melpathur auditorium. Approximately 3000 musicians and students take part in the festival. The All India Radio and Doordarshan directly telecast the programme on the last five days.
The first Bhagavatha sapthaham was started at the temple Oottupura in 1159. Since then it is conducted regularly every year. It begins seven days before Ashtami rohini. During Vaisakha up to four Sapthahas are conducted consecutively.
As part of Narayaneeyam celebration Narayaneeya Sapthaham is conducted. It begins a week before the Narayaneeyam day and ends on the eve of Narayaneeyam day at the Temple Spiritual Hall. On Narayaneeyam day fomous scholars perform a complete recital of Narayaneeyam.
(Kazhchakkula )Offering Plantain
It is believed that plantain fruit is a favourite food of Guruvayurappan. The most suitable time to offer plantain is Uthradam, the eve of Onam. Plantains are placed on the pedestal of the golden flag post in front of the temple immediately after Seeveli. The main poojari of the temple makes the first offering, followed by office bearers and then devotees. Excess plantain is sold by public auction.
Religious Discourses on Mandala, Vaisakha and Karkkidaka
Religious discourses by well-known spiritual leaders are held at Melpathur Auditorium during Mandala, Vaisakha and Karkkidaka. This is in addition to the regular discourses during festival season. Great spiritual leaders speak on spiritual subjects.
On the last day of every month (Sankramam) after evening poojas religious discourses and cultural programmes are held at Melpathur auditorium.