From the time immemorial, India has been a spiritually enlightened country consecrated by Rishis and temples of worship. Holy places like Kashi and Rameswaram have magnificent Temples which, besides their spiritual significance, are noted for their antiquity and historical importance. The artistic excellence and the architectural specialities of Konark and Khajuraho are so indescribable that they always attract not only the pilgrims from within the country but also swarms of tourists from abroad. But Guruvayur is a pilgrim center which has its own glory and greatness, mainly because of the divinity enshrined in the Sanctum - Sanctorum (central shrine) of the temple and the unique charm of the idol installed in it.
The presiding deity in the Garbhagraha (central shrine) is Mahavishnu, worshipped according to the pooja routines laid down by Adi Sankaracharya and later written in to the Tantrasamuchaya by Chennas Narayanan Namboodiri (born in 1427). The Chennas Namboodiris are the hereditary Tantri of Guruvayur temple. The people at large, however, invoke the Lord as UNNIKRISHNA or BALAKRISHNA.