fifty years ago December 1, 1970 Archives

From the Archives (December 1, 1970): Fire in Guruvayur temple

A disastrous fire broke out in the famous Sri Krishna temple here [Guruvayur, November 30] in the early hours of this morning reducing three sides of the Chitrambalam surrounding the sanctum sanctorum to cinders. The sanctum sanctorum and the presiding deity were not affected by the fire which was stated to have started at about 1-20 a.m. The fire, it was stated, originated near the Vinayaka shrine on the western side of the Chitrambalam and soon spread to the “mystery room”. (This room is never opened). It engulfed the whole of the western Chitrambalam and destroyed it completely. The fire spread to the southern and northern enclosures and destroyed most of them. The copper plate roofing of the Chitrambalam melted and what little remained on the roofing was all twisted out of shape. Three-fourths of the Chitrambalam were reduced to a shambles. The Chief Priest of the temple removed the idol of Sri Krishna from the sanctum sanctorum fearing that the fire might also engulf it. He kept the idol under safe custody in his residence adjoining the temple until the fire was brought under control.


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