Guruvayur Ekadasi or Guruvayoor Ekadasi, observed on the Shukla Paksha (bright fortnight) Ekadasi during the Malayalam month of Vrischikam (mid November - mid December), is unique to the Sree Krishna Temple at Guruvayur, Kerala. Ekadashi falls on the eleventh day of every lunar fortnight. Though there are 24 Ekadasis in a year, the Vrishchika Ekadasi which falls during the Sabarimala Mandala Kalam (Sabrimala Temple Pilgrimage Season) assumes special importance in Guruvayur Temple. However, the Navami (9th day) and Dasami (10th day) are also significant. In 2016, Guruvayur Ekadasi is observed on 10 December.
Guruvayoor Ekadasi Ceremony
A month before the Ekadasi day, a ritual called Ekadasi Vilakku (lamp) is held which is an important one. This is held as an offering by various persons, families and organizations. Ekadashi Vilakku is lit on the Navami and Dasami days. The temple is opened on the Dasami day (the day before Ekadasi) for Nirmalya Darshan (the deity wears the flowers of the previous night) at 3:00 am and is closed only at 9:00 am on Dwadasi, that is, on the 12th day. Accordingly, the devotees can worship throughout the Dasami and Ekadasi days. There is a custom of offering a token of amount called Dwadasi Panam in Koothambalam on the Dwadasi day.
Features of Guruvayur Ekadashi
On this auspicious day is the honoring of the elephant, Gajarajan Kesavan. Kesavan was Kerala's biggest and grandest elephant who served the Lord and people for about 54 years. He had died on the Guruvayur Ekadashi day. As such, a 12 feet high statue has been erected in front of Sreevalsam rest house. On this day, the leader of the elephants places a garland at the statue of Guruvayur Kesavan and all the elephants pay obeisance to it. It is believed that it on this Ekadasi day that Lord Krishna preached the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Hence this day is observed as Gita Dinam at the temple. Commemorating this, a grand elephant procession is held to the nearby Parthasarathy Temple.
Also on Guruvayoor Ekadasi, the Udayasthamana Pooja (dawn to dusk pooja) is conducted by the Devaswom (a board which administers the temple).
How to Observe Ekadashi Vrat
According to Hindu tradtion, Ekadasi is observed to appease Lord Vishnu. Devotees observe complete fasting on Ekadasi day. Read more about how to observe Ekadasi vratam here
Types of 24 Ekadasi Fasting of Lord Vishnu
How to Observe Ekadasi Vratam
Kani Kanum Neram Devotional Song