Ekadasi is one such festival that can be celebrated by anyone without falling into the regimentations of caste and creed. Every year Ekadasi is celebrated at Sree Krishna Temple with much reverence. The temple town of Guruvayur witnesses too many festivals during the Mandala season and Ekadasi is perhaps the most popular one.
The Chembai Music Festival, Guruvayur Kesavan Memorial Day, Narayaneeya Day and Kalabhattam are some of the other popular celebrations at Guruvayur during Mandala season. And each year thousands of devotees from across the state congregate at the Guruvayur Sree Krishna Temple to take part in the Ekadasi celebrations.
It is believed that it was during the Suklapaksha Ekadasi day of the Malayalam month of Vrischikam that Lord Vishnu was reincarnated as Ekadasi Tithi in the form of a Devi. This day is also observed as Holy Gita Day as it was on this auspicious day that the Lord Krishna imparted the teachings of Gita to Arjuna.
Yet another legend says that Adi Sankaracharya was flying over the Sree Krishna Temple on this particular day and as he did not bother to attend the Ekadasi Ezhunellippu that was going on in the temple premises, all on a sudden he lost all his supernatural powers to fall flat in front of Lord Guruvayoorappan. Even today one can find markings of his fall on the Northern side of the temple.
Generally Hindus consider the eleventh day of every lunar fortnight to be quite auspicious and this particular day is when the Ekadasi is celebrated. The renowned singer late Chembai Vaidyanath Bhagawathar used to conduct music concerts on every Ekadasi day at Guruvayur.
On the Ekadasi day it is customary to pay rich tributes to Guruvayur Kesavan, the legendary elephant who breathed his last on an Ekadasi day. As part of Ekadasi celebrations, Devaswam also make elaborate arrangements for a mass feast to all those who gather at the temple to participate in the festival.