The system of rites conducted here is traceable to Sri Adi Sankaracharya,the great sanskrit scholor and philosopher,and,founder of the Advaitha philosophy.There are in all, 12 'darshan' (glimpse of the Lord) that can be had by a devotee on a given day. The timings mentioned are rough and based on a pamphlet published by the GuruvayurDevaswam (the body that administers the temple) for the guidance of the devotees.

            The NIRMALYA DARSHAN (3 A.M to 3.20 A.M) is the first of the day. The Lord now is still adorned with the flowers and garlands of the previous night. It is believed that after the night pooja (worship), when the doors are closed, the devas (Gods) come and worship the deity. A darshan of the Lord who has just been worshipped by the Devas themselves is considered highly auspicious. Amidst the lit lamps, the chiming bells and the conch, the spontaneous cries of the devotees shouting out "Narayana","Guruvayurappa","Govinda",etc., the innermost recesses of your mind will be lifted to the heights of devotional passion.

THE THAILABHISHEKAM,VAKACHARTH & SANKABHISHEKAM (3.20 A.M TO 3.30 A.M)The rite of bathing the deity with gingely oil takes place after removing the adornments of the previous day. Then comes Vakacharth i.e. sprinkling the deity with the vaka powder. The kork of a tree called vaka is powdered and used. After this is performed the abhishekam (rite of bathing the deity) with water sanctified in a sankhu (conch). 

 ALANKARAM & MALAR NIVEDYAM (3.30 A.M TO 4.15 A.M)  After the bath the idol is wiped with a thin clothy,then adorned with garlands, ear ornaments, Kasthuri tilaka and a red loincloth. Butter in hand and playing the flute, the Lord here appears as Unnikrishna (child Krishna), reminiscent of His playful days at Gokulam. After the alankarem (adornment or decoration),the malar naivedyam i.e malar (puffed rice), plantain and jaggery are offered to the Lord.  

USHA NAIVEDYAM & USHA POOJA (4.15 AM TO 4.30 AM)  Offerings of cooked rice and naipayasam (rice cooked in jaggery constitute the usha naivedyam (morning offering). The Usha Pooja (morning worship) is also conducted at this time.  

ETHIRETTU POOJA (4.30 AM to 6.15 AM)  Now the Lord and the Sun are facing each other and pooja is performed by offering vella naivadyam (white offering i.e. of cooked rice); simultaneously, the other deities in the temple are attended by associate priests. Ganapathy homa is performed in the temple kitchen. 

SIVELI (6.15 AM to 7.00AM) The Srikovil (Sanctum sanctorum) opens allowing  the  devotees to have their darshan. The deity is then taken out for the Siveli (procession). The utsavavigraha (processional deity) is mounted in an elephant and taken round the temple thrice. Believably, the Lord want this exercise to be done so that He himself can ascertain if His cetestial attendents are keeping well.

 

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