An exponent of the Pudukottai style of mridangam, Guruvayur Dorai (his real name being Vaidynathan) was born in Guruvayur, Kerala, to G.S. Krishna Iyer and Meenakshi. His father was a priest and mother, a housewife. He has two brothers and three sisters. His sister Guruvayur Ponnammal was a highly reputed singer at the time. His other sister is a reputed music teacher in Madras, while his brother, G.K.Rajamani is a notable violinist living in Palghat (Kerala).