Guruvayur, revered as the Dwaraka of the South, is considered the foremost among celebrated Krishna temples in Kerala. The temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna, affectionately called Guruvayurappan, is connected with many Krishna devotees like Melpathur Narayana Battathiri, who composed Narayaneeyam, a Sanskrit work comprising 1000 shlokas, and Poonthanam, known for his moving devotional songs Gnanappaana. Sri Adi Shankara has laid down the rituals for worship in this temple.

The antiquity of the temple dates back to Puranic days. A sage by name Dattatreya narrated the greatness of this Kshetra to King Janamejaya, a great grandson of the Pandavas and son of Parikshit. Legend has it that Janamejaya, who was afflicted with leprosy, did penance at this shrine and got himself cured of the disease. A Pandya king is also believed to have been saved from the curse of a snakebite after worshipping at Guruvayur