Of the 24 Ekadasis in an year, the Vrishchika Ekadasi (Suklapaksha) has got special significance in Guruvayur. After the temple is open on dasami day for Nirmalya darshan (3.00AM ), it is closed only at 9.00 am on Dwadasi Day (12th day), thus allowing continues darshan for devotees throughout Dasami and Ekadasi Days. On Ekadasi day, the Udayasthamana Pooja (continuous pooja) is conducted by the Devaswom itself . After the morning seeveli, on Ekadasi there is a grant elephant procession to the Parthasarathi temple since it is regarded as Geethopadesam Day also. On Ekadasi after night pooja the famous Ekadasi Vilakku and Seeveli with 3 elephants takes place and provides a fitting finale to the festival. Lakhs of devotees attend the festival.
This year also the sanctum sanctorum of the Guruvayur Sree Krishna temple was opened at 3 am on Tuesday (24th Nov 2020). The sanctum sanctorum will remain open till 9 am on Thursday. But only 5000 devotees who registered via online will be allowed to enter the temple due to the COVID-19 restrictions. May be, Guruvayoorappan wants us to remember him through chanting of stothrams like Narayaneeyam and Vishnu sahasranamam and Bhagavad Gita.
Seeveli this morning
By the way, Guruvayoor Ekadashi and Narayaneeyam day are different. Like vaikunta ekadasi is celebrated with great fervor in Tamilnadu Vishnu temples, Guruvayoor Ekadashi is celebrated in a grand manner in Guruvayoor. But Narayaneeyam day is always 28th day of Karthigai month when Sri Bhattathiri completed narayaneeyam. Mostly it falls on 13th Dec. This year also it is on 13th Dec.
Narayaneeyam audio recording and lyrics can be found here -> Sriman Narayaneeyam audio recording and lyrics
(Found this excellent write up from Srinath Mohandas in Facebook about Gajarājan Guruvāyūṛ Keśavan who attained mukthi on Guruvāyūṛ Ekādaśi)
It was on this day, in 1976, Gajarājan Guruvāyūṛ Keśavan, the alpha elephant of the legendary Guruvāyūṛ temple, who stood well over 3.2 meters tall, complete with all lakṣaṇa-s and widely admired for his expressions of deep devotion to Guruvāyūrappan (Guruvāyūṛ Kṛṣṇa), passed away aged 72.
He came to Guruvāyūṛ when Valiya Rāja of Nilambur offered him as one of the 12 elephants to Guruvāyūrappan in the January of 1922. He soon developed a reputation and became the leading elephant in the temple herd carrying the Lord Himself (tiḍambb/ തിടമ്പ്/ utsava mūrtī)! It is said that he never tolerated another elephant carrying Bhagavān on its back. Once when this previlege was given to another elephant, he became disturbed, attacked and chased it away! However, he never harmed anyone. Another time when he was on his way to the temple, he disobeyed the mahouts and started running. People scattered and ran for their precious lives. Except for a poor leper who couldn’t move but stood helpless on the path with folded hands trembling in fear. Those who witnessed swear that they thought the man would be crushed to death, but to their surprise, Keśavan lifted him with his trunk and placed him safely on the pavement, and continued running to the temple. He did no harm to people and property whatsoever! Once he reached the temple he was calm and prostrated at the main shrine.
For over 50 years he served Guruvāyūrappan. On the Guruvāyūṛ Ekādaśi day of 1976 he refused to eat (fasted) the whole day. At the hour of death he prostrated facing Guruvāyūrappan with his trunk raised in salutation and passed away peacefully.
People continue to remember him fondly and commemorate his mukthi day every year.