Guruvayur: Eat, Pray, Bargain

(Shops at) East Gate of the temple Guruvayur Temple might be a place known to all Keralites, Krishna devotees and religious tourists. Now, those who have visited this famous...
Guruvayur shopping
(Shops at) East Gate of the temple

Guruvayur Temple might be a place known to all Keralites, Krishna devotees and religious tourists. Now, those who have visited this famous temple in Thrissur, Kerala, will tell you it is quite a shopper’s delight, too. Shopping in Guruvayur — at least some window-shopping — is must here, trippers.

At the doorsteps of this popular abode-of-Lord-Krishna, is a pretty big trinket market. It ought to be just as famous as this south Indian temple. I don’t know how many people can walk out of the temple gates without getting lured to the colour and glitter of the wares in these little outlets.

Like a lot of other Malayalees, I’ve lost count of the number of times I have visited this Sree Krishna temple. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been attracted to these small shops that line East and West nadas (Gates). There are over a hundred shops, I’m sure. And I swear, you will find everything from jewellery to idols, clothes to handicrafts and toys to books. Even the famous Guruvayur pappadam.

Believe me, these pictures are only a fraction of the big-picture that is Guruvayur’s own ‘commercial street(s)’:

Shopping in Guruvayur

Shopping in Guruvayur


What to shop in Guruvayur
Kathakali*, Nettipattam,** …
Guruvayur is a great place for souvenir-shopping
Shopping in Guruvayur, Kerala Sarees
And Kerala Sarees (Kasavu Sarees) or Kasavu Salwar materials.
Shopping in Guruvayur
Or even traditional looking dresses for little girls. Call them Kasavu frocks, shall we?
Shopping in Guruvayur
You will find all kinds of Kathakali faces: ones made of wood, marble, papier mache, even Ramachcham***
Shopping in Guruvayur
All kinds of South Indian snacks
Nilavilakku, Shopping in Guruvayur
The traditional Nilavilakku**** and other lamps.
Guruvayur Pappadam, Shopping in Guruvayur
Guruvayur Pappadams. This is a local speciality.
These pappads are larger and thicker than the regular ones.
trinket shops in Guruvayur, Shopping in Guruvayur
This is just the-tip-of-the-iceberg, believe me.


*Kathakali is an art-form of Kerala (a state in southern India)
**The head gear worn by a caparisoned elephant
***Vetiver/ Chrysopogon zizanioides

****A traditional lamp

Did you know —

  • that men are not allowed to wear ‘pants’ inside the Guruvayur temple? Dress code for the Gentlemen — the traditional mundus. They are also supposed to take off their shirts and hold them in their hands once they enter the temple.
  • that non Hindus are not allowed inside the temple walls? (It is ok to visit these shops, though.)
  • that until a few years ago, women were not allowed to wear Salwar suits or pants? The dress code for the ladies used to be Sarees or long skirts. Those who came in salwars generally found long skirts to wear with the Kameezes. 



The above post is linked to the meme —

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23 Comments on this post.
  • Su-sieee! Mac
    2 September 2014 at 9:48 pm
    Leave a Reply

    It makes sense to me to have a market such as this one just outside if not nearby every temple or church. It continues the outing of fellowship among others, as well as the ability to buy treats and necessities for the week.

    • dNambiar
      3 September 2014 at 11:28 am
      Leave a Reply

      Hi Susiee,
      This temple can be called a place of pilgrimage. There are locals who visit everyday but they are outnumbered by 'visitors.' As such, more than necessities, these shops deal with 'souvenirs' and treats for kids. 🙂
      The number people who visit the temple has only been rising by the day. As such, these small shops and the hospitality industry are big business here.

      Thank you for visiting, again Su-sieee. Any luck with the rains, yet?

  • Prasad Np
    3 September 2014 at 4:29 am
    Leave a Reply

    Now I know what I missed besides a darshan of Krishna… may be better luck next time I am in God's Own Country….

    • dNambiar
      3 September 2014 at 11:32 am
      Leave a Reply

      It's going to be such a treat for you, Prasad. I am so, so sure. I'm already waiting to hear about it on DesiTraveler.
      Don't forget to take your SLR (something I should have done) when you go shopping.

  • R Niranjan Das
    3 September 2014 at 5:20 am
    Leave a Reply

    As you said, I have lost count on the number of times I have been here, the last being last month. 🙂 Those shops are a real lure. Love this place. Awesome post, Nambiare!

    • dNambiar
      3 September 2014 at 11:38 am
      Leave a Reply

      Yeah. 'You' know what this place is like. 🙂
      And it's like you have to see it to really believe it, alle? I'm not a really a shopper but this place always makes me want to pick up trinkets.

      Thank you, Nomad. I'm sure you totally get what this post is about. 😉

  • Rahul Bhatia
    3 September 2014 at 10:27 am
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    This is one place I have missed! Your post makes me want to go there, Divya:)

    • dNambiar
      3 September 2014 at 11:39 am
      Leave a Reply

      It's SO much fun, Mr. Bhatia.
      You will love this marketplace. 🙂

  • Krishna/കൃഷ്ണ
    4 September 2014 at 4:56 am
    Leave a Reply

    Nice collection of shopping photos


    • dNambiar
      4 September 2014 at 7:25 pm
      Leave a Reply

      I bet you know this place pretty well, Krishna.
      Thank you. 🙂

  • A Homemaker’s Utopia
    4 September 2014 at 6:45 am
    Leave a Reply

    We visited this place around 4 years back..Beautiful photographs 🙂

    • dNambiar
      4 September 2014 at 7:26 pm
      Leave a Reply

      Tell me you shopped there, too. 🙂
      Thank you, Nagini.

  • Nisha Jha
    23 September 2014 at 4:15 am
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    Oh I have never been there and your post makes me want to go there ASAP!! I liked what all it has in store for us.. and liked very much those dresses for the little girls. Too cute! 🙂

    • dNambiar
      23 September 2014 at 9:42 am
      Leave a Reply

      Nisha, its a souvenir heaven, I swear.
      We picked up a kasavu frock for our baby. And a kasavu long skirt for her put on a few months later. So tempting.
      When you go, don't forget to pick up a Kerala saree (Kasavu Saree)

      Be warned: Inside the temple, the crowds could be a little overwhelming.

  • umashankar
    23 September 2014 at 6:05 am
    Leave a Reply

    If I were a child, my heart would have fluttered for those little plastic trumpets hanging in the bush of a thousand toys. My choice would change visit after visit, from the green to orange to blue, or I might have settled for the wheeled plastic duck that would provide hours of fun pulling it by a thread in the lanes. This post is a surprising change from the usual American landscapes on your blog.

    • dNambiar
      23 September 2014 at 9:49 am
      Leave a Reply

      Haha! Change it is. 🙂

      I've got many more American travel stories in the bank, USP. 🙂 But then, there are some S.India posts also lined up.

      Talking about Guruvayur and these lanes outside the temple; I swear they have something for everybody. When I was younger, I liked the toys and even the necklaces/chains and bangles; only I never wore them (I've never been much of a jewellery person). But now I find myself gravitating towards the lamps and the metal souvenirs and the different Kathakalis and nettipattams and all. 🙂

  • Shweta Dave
    23 September 2014 at 8:38 am
    Leave a Reply

    I have not had the opportunity to be there, the pictures are so beautifully taken. Just wanted to travel and be on the streets.

    • dNambiar
      23 September 2014 at 9:51 am
      Leave a Reply

      These pics actually don't do justice to the variety of stuff they have there. If you are into shopping, you may not want to leave these lanes. There's so much to buy 😉

      Thank you, Shweta. 🙂

  • Indrani
    23 September 2014 at 9:18 am
    Leave a Reply

    Amazing variety! I wish to lay my hands on them now.

    • dNambiar
      23 September 2014 at 9:52 am
      Leave a Reply

      I swear, Indrani.
      Maybe you should plan your next trip that side. 🙂 Only be prepared for the big crowd inside the temple.

  • Tomichan Matheikal
    23 September 2014 at 1:50 pm
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    I wonder why they don't change some of those ancient rules like non-Hindus not being allowed or men not allowed to wear trousers.

    • dNambiar
      24 September 2014 at 9:14 am
      Leave a Reply

      They are ancient rules, especially that of not letting non-Hindus inside.
      As they have relaxed the dress code for women, they might do the same for men, in due course.

  • AmitAag
    25 September 2014 at 6:35 am
    Leave a Reply

    Absolutely Divine! Wish I could be at His feet some day:)
    O Krishna You only are!!

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