Pronunciation and Phonetics

Learning proper pronunciation can be done without much knowledge of phonetics, actually. A basic knowledge, however, helps to make pronunciation clearer and thus facilitates the process of learning how to speak a foreign language properly.

eAmbalam introduces a phonetic chart which is based on Dhevanagari script. The sounds of vowels and consonants and other speech sounds in Sanskrit and the languages which have completely or mostly borrowed from it can be covered with the help of the chart. A few other sounds common to some languages in this group and outside are also put in. Unique sounds of some languages are specified too.

Diacritical marks are used to aid perfect pronunciation. World over, these marks have been created and propagated by scholars to make understanding of the differences in speech sounds in different languages better. Team eAmbalam also has created a phonetic chart which helps even first timers to pronounce words accurately.

Our Phonetic chart is unique, comprehensive, learner friendly and is divided into four columns wherein:
  • In the first column, the letter is written with the associated diacritical mark.
  • In the second column, an example is given in Dhevanagari language containing the letter.
  • In the third column, an example is given in English, which contains the sound closes to the letter or instructions in few cases, to facilitate better understanding.
  • In the fourth column, an audio button is placed with the help of which you can hear the actual pronunciation of the letter.
An open minded approach with the above introduction and guidelines will definitely enable the user to understand the speech sounds of any language and pronounce it like a native, which is eAmbalam’s aim in this exercise.

  VOWELS  
Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English
A or a Aḍavu Arise
Ā or ā Ānanda Vast
I or i Indhira Sing
Ī or ī Īśha Meal
U or u U ṣhā Good
Ū or ū Ū rdhhva Boost
R or r Riṣh i Try
Ṛ or ṛ Ni ṛ uti Grr!
Lr or lr   Pronounce L and R together.
E or e Eka Ate
AI or ai Aikya Sight
O or o Ojas Robe
AU or au Audh ā rya Now
A M or am Śhiva m Drum
A HA or aha R ā ma ha Aha!
Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English


CONSONANTS
Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English
KA or ka Kavi Car
KHA or kha Khalu Mark -Him
GA or ga Gamana Gut
GHA or gha Ghata Ugh!
Ṅ A or ṅa Tura ṅ ga Ring
CHA or ca Chakra Chart
CHHA or cha Chhandas Branch
JA or ja Jagath Jug
JHA or jha Jhallari Fudge
NYA or nya Gnyana Knew
Ṭ A or ṭ Ṭ anka Top
ṬHA or ṭha Pāṭha Pothole
ḌA or da Ḍ amaruka Dog
Ḍ HA or ḍ ha Mūḍ ha Madhouse
Ṇ A or ṇ a Ga ṇ a Wander
THA or tha Thanu Health
THHA or thha Athha Theater
DHA or dha Dha śha This
DHHA or dhha Dhhana m Dha with an additional H sound
NA or na Namask ā raha Nut
PA or pa   Path ā ka Past
PHA or pha Phala m P with a H sound
BA or ba Bandhhu Ball
BHA or bha Bhadra Abhor
MA or ma Manas Money
YA or ya Yama Yummy
RA or ra Rajas Rub
LA or la Lath ā Lust
VA or WA, va /wa A śh va or A śhwa Water/Valour
ŚHA or śha Śhakthi Shutter
ṢHA or ṣ ha Ṣh a ṇ mukha Shunt
SA or sa Sarasvatī Sun
HA or ha Hari Hum
Ḷ A or ḷ a Ar āḷ a Bold
KṢHA or k ṣ ha Ak ṣh i Try to pronounce Ka, Sa & Ha – all at one time.
Extra Vowels in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada & Malayalam Scripts    
É or é Éṇi Angel
Ō or ō Ō m Ō M
ZHA Exclusive to Tamil & Malayalam Fold the tip of your tongue backwards and try to pronounce it with the aid of the audio button.
Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English

Guruvāyūr Temple

Name of the Temple

  • Guruvāyūr Temple

Location

  • Thrichūr district of Keraḷa
How to reach there?
  • By Air: Kochi international airport (Neḍumbaśheri) is 80 km south of Guruvāyūr. From there you reach Guruvāyūr by taking the National Highway 66.
  • By Train : Guruvāyūr has got a railway station towards the east of the temple which is connected to the Chennai-Mangaḷūru main line at Thriśhūr. Tourists coming from the Chennai/Thiruvananthapuram area can get down at Thriśhūr, just 29 km away, around one to one and a half hour drive from Guruvāyūr, and tourists from Mangaḷūru side can get down at the Kuttippram station.
  • By Road: Guruvāyūr is well connected with the other parts of the country by road. The National Highway 66 Kanyākumari to Panvel is passing through Kunnamkuḷam which is just 8 kms away from Guruvāyūr.

Rulers/builders and Time period

  • In 1716 AD The Dutch plundered and set fire to the temple. It was rebuilt in 1747 AD. In 1766 AD Haidhar Āli captured Cālicut and Guruvāyūr, but spared the temple for a reason of 10000 Ferams which was paid by Vaḍakkepaṭ Vāriyār.
  • The general insecurity prevailing; the flow of pilgrims and the annual payment of tenants ceased. Haidhar Ali however gave a 'Dhevadhaya' (free gift) to the temple in 1780 AD., on the recommendation of the Governor of Malabār, Śhrīnivāsa Rao and thus saved the temple from total extinction.
  • In 1789, Thipu Sulthān, Haidhar Āli's son and successor descended on the scene to defeat the Zamorin and to convert Hindhus to Islām. Fearing destruction of the image, the Mūlavigraha (Main deity) was hidden underground and the Uthsava vigraha (processional deity) was taken to Ambalapuzha.
  • Thipu set fire to and plundered the temple. But a timely rain and an incorporeal voice averted a major catastrophe. After the English drove out Thipu, both the vigrahas (deities) were reinstalled.
  • From 1875 to 1900, the Uḷḷanād Paṇikkars came in and offered their free secures to the lord apart from contributing from their family estates. Like the earlier devotees Chempakasseri Nambūdhiri & Deśhavarma Nambūdhiri had donated everything they had, to the lord.
  • In 1841, the Govt. of Madras restored the Dhevadhaya appropriated by Thipu Sulthān.

Deity/Deities

  • Lord Mahā Viṣhṇu with four arms

Architecture Style

  • The outer enclosure has a 33.5-m tall gold-plated flag post and there is also a 7 m high pillar of lamps, whose thirteen circular receptacles provide a truly brilliant spectacle, when lit. The square 'Śhrīkovil' is the sacred sanctum sanctorum of the temple, housing the main deity. Within the temple, there are also the images of Gaṇapathi, Śhrī Ayyappa and Edathedathi Kāvil Bhagavathi. Only those born as Hindhus are allowed inside the temple.
  • Guruvāyūr temple is an epitome of Keraḷa's temple Vāsthuvidhyā. It is faced towards the East with two Gopurams, one at the East, Kizhakkenaḍa and other at West, Padinjarenaḍa. The entire area between these Gopurams is roofed with tiles and known as Ānapanthal. At the centre of this is a square shaped pillared hall called Nālambalam, the outer wall of which is fixed with a gallery of oil lamps.
  • At the south side of the Nālambalam, there is a sub shrine of Śhāstha or Lord Ayyappan. At the north-east side of this shrine is the Kūtthambalam, where, in olden times, dance performances were held. In the front and the east side of Nālambalam, the Belikkāl and Dhīpasthambas - Pillar of lights are located.
  • There are a number of such light pillars in the Temple. The Dhīpasthambas, at each Gopurams, are of special interest. The eastern side Dhīpasthambas is 24 feet in height and has thirteen circular receptacles to hold the wicks. Of the other two at West Gopuram, one is in the shape of a tree.
  • Dwajasthamba - It is a flag-staff, around 70 feet height, fully covered with gold. The Ūṭṭupura, the place for Prasadha Ūttu is also located in the north side. Here, the daily lunch is arranged for the devotees. Next to it is the temple tank Rudrathīrtha which is located near the north side of the temple.

Special Reference to Fine Arts

  • This shrine is popularly known as the Dwāraka of south and is in the form of a rectangle.
  • There are a lot of mural paintings around the Shrine.

Other Special Features

  • Guru along with his disciple Vāyudheva (god of air), found a place which was recommended by Lord Paramaśhiva. Thus Guru and Vāyu installed this deity and Paramaśhiva named the place as Guruvāyūr.
  • The idol is carved out from a stone called 'Pāthāḷa Anjana Śhila' and is utmost sacred. The place selected for the installation was made suitably sacred by the presence of Lord Śhiva.
  • Being one of the most sacred and important pilgrim centres of Keraḷa, it is probably the only temple in the state that hosts the maximum number of marriages and rice feeding ceremony, the ritualistic first meal for infants.

Special Reference to Performing Arts:

  • Śhankarāchārya has composed and chanted in person, eight śhlokas in praise of Govindha, known as Govindha Aṣhṭakam about Lord Kriṣhṇa in Guruvāyūr Temple.
  • Prince Mānavendhan of Calicut wrote a series of eight dramas for Kriṣhṇanāṭṭam. The Kriṣhṇanāṭṭam began to be staged in the temple regularly as an offering to the Lord.
  • Melpathūr Nārāyaṇa Bhaṭṭathiri  (1559-1632)’s famous composition Nārāyaṇīyam was sung in Guruvāyūr temple. 
  • The famous song Anjana Śhrīdara was written by Pūnthanam Nambudhiri.
  • Muthuswāmi Dhīkṣhithar’s ‘Śhrī kriṣhṇam baja manasa sathatham’ (Thoḍi Rāgam and Ādhi Thalam) is a composition about Krishna of Guruvāyūr Temple. Pārthasarathe, Pavanapurīśha, Vanamalīśhwara is another famous song about Nārāyaṇa.
  • Vellore Śhrīnivāsan has composed and rendered this song ‘Śhrīdhara mādhava Ādhi keśhava---- Śhrīkara Shubhakara sārvabauma’ on Śhrī Kriṣhṇa of Guruvāyūr temple in Behāg rāga, Ādhi thāḷa.

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