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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvanathapuram, Kerala

Padmanabhaswamy Temple is one of the most famous Divya Desam found in the State of Kerala. Divya Desams refer to 108 Vishnu temples that are mentioned in the works of the Tamil Azhvars (saints). 105 of these are located in India, 1 in Nepal, while 2 are located outside of the Earthly realms. It is about 1 KM away from the Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station. Trivandrum Central Railway Station is the nearest railway station to reach Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. Trains run from Mangalore to Thiruvananthapuram. Bus facilities are also available from Mangalore. This place is also named as "Trivandrum".

It can be truly said that THIRUVANANTHAPURAM (Thiru Anantha Puram), the capital of Kerala owes not only its name, but its importance to the principle deity of the place, Sri Padmanabhan familiar to millions of Hindus by His Posture of ‘Anantha Shayanam (Eternal repose). A Shiva Lingam is found close to the Padmanabha Swamy, which explains to the world that both Hari and Haran are not two different and separate Gods, but they are a Single and should be worshiped as one.

About The Temple:

Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple is located inside the East Fort, Thiruvananthapuram. It was the state temple of kingdom of Travancore. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, who is depicted reclining on Sri Anantha, the hooded snake from which the city derives its name; “Thiruvananthapuram”.This ancient temple is the most dominating feature of Thiruvananthapuram, Overlooking the Padma Theertham Lake. This lake near the temple which is called as "Padma Theertham" .It is believed that when Lord had thrown away the lotus which was present in his hand this divine lake was created.

The temple is a blend of the Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture. It is known for its mural paintings and stone carvings. Exquisite stone carvings and pavilions are worth admiring one among the 108 sacred Vishnu temples in India, the presiding deity in here is Lord Vishnu reclining on Anantha the Holy Serpent. The idol inside the sanctum santorum is in the form of the Lord reclining on the Holy Serpent Anantha. It is an 18 feet long imposing figure built with Salagrama stones brought from Nepal and it is covered with gold and precious stones. This holy shrine attracts thousands of Hindu devotees. There are innumerable pillars, intricate carvings and Mural paintings. The area surrounding the inner sanctum is filled with beach sand. Outside the temple courtyard, there is a medley of shops that sell souvenirs, handicrafts, woodcarvings and handiwork of sandal. In the October/November months of every year, there is held the Navarathri Festival of musical concerts at the Navarathri Mandapam, adjacent to the main building of the temple.

The temple has an imposing 100 feet seven tier Gopuram covered with beautiful stone carvings was built according to Pandian style. The temple has a broad corridor with 324 sculptured pillars and an 80 feet high golden flag staff. The walls of the temple are covered with interesting mural paintings depicting mythical stories. The Kulasekharamandapam, the main platform inside the temple is beautiful and regal. The entire architectural style followed in this temple is a mixture of Dravidian and Kerala styles.

This temple in its present form is built by Maharaja Marthanda Varma (1729-1758), one of the most powerful rulers of Travancore. The work on the temple was started in 1731.In 1750, the Maharaja dedicated his kingdom to Lord Padmanabha, the presiding deity of the kingdom and assumed the title Padmanabhadasa or the servant of Lord Padmanabha. From that day onwards the rulers of Travancore carry out all their princely and spiritual duties as the servants of the Lord. Padmanabha Swamy temple is considered as one among the seven Parasurama shetras in Kerala and one among the 108 sacred temples in India dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The ancient texts of Padma purana and Skanda purana have mentions about this temple. The temple has very special rituals. Two festivals are celebrated every year, one in March-April and the second one in September-October.56 day long Murajapam or uninterrupted recitation of prayers is conducted once in six years and once in twelve years the festival of a million lamps or the Lakshadeepam is conducted. The temple is still given the status of the state temple and for the festivals divisions of the armed and mounted police will accompany the deity for the arattu or the holy bathing. Their band also plays the songs written by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal. Swathi Thirunal had a very special relationship with Lord Padmanabha and the temple. His life was an offering to the Lord. All his songs carry the stamp of total dedication to Padmanabha. The most beautiful of his songs are on Lord Vishnu. "Vande Sada Padmanabham" Always I worship thee Padmanabha, Thine is the hue of the water-laden clouds, Thy feet are the celestial Mandara blossoms to those who bow to them, Always I worship thee, my Lord” - Swathi Thirunal wrote.

It is a well known fact that, if anyone keeps his ear behind the Sanctum sanctorum he/she can hear the waves of the ocean. There are 365 "Eka Shila Stambhas" in this temple.

The temple has a 100 foot, seven-tier Gopuram. The temple stands by the side of a tank, named Padma Theertham (meaning the lotus spring).The temple has a corridor with 365 and one-quarter sculptured granite-stone pillars with elaborate carvings. This corridor extends from the eastern side into the sanctum sanctorum. An eighty-foot flag-staff stands in front of the main entry from the 'Prakaram' (corridor).The ground floor under the Gopuram (main entrance in the eastern side) is known as the 'Nataka Sala' where the famous temple art, Kathakali is staged in the night during the ten-day uthsavam (festival) conducted twice a year, during the Malayalam months of Meenam and Thulam.

Padmanabha Swamy Temple stands at a place considered as one of the seven Parasurama Kshetras, texts including the Puranas, particularly the Skanda Purana and Padma Purana, have references for this shrine. Tradition states that in this place, the Hindu deity Lord Vishnu gave darshan to Indian sages like Divakarmuni and Vilvamangalam Swami. Another story tells of a pulaya couple seeing Vishnu in the form of a child. The child took morsels of rice from the hands of the couple. Also it is believed that Divakaramuni, who is from Mangalore orign when he saw the deity he took the first food item he saw which was an Unripe Mango and a coconut shell as an offering plate and performed primary pooja. In memory of this legend, Naivedyam or offering prepared from rice is offered to the deity here in a coconut shell.
Inside the temple a huge ANJANEYA-HANUMAN sculpted in wood welcomes you in a shelter. Years back a fire broke out inside the temple which reached even Gods idols. Out came the GOD in his full splendor with GADHA on his hands in real form and his anger emanating from his eyes destroyed the fury of fire. When this miracle happened lot of people witnessed this with their own eyes, some who are alive still vouch for it. Devotees offer pure butter to be applied in the idol to fulfill their wishes. Some offer vadamala- a garland made of vadas. Worshipping hanuman gives strength, intelligence, courage.


There are many legends regarding the origin of the temple.

Different versions are in vogue about the origin of the temple which stands in an area formerly known as ‘Ananthankadu’. One account has it that a Pulaya (Backward class) woman was weeding a field when she heard the piercing cry of a baby. She found the infant and fed it. After she went back to work, a five headed cobra is said to have removed the child to a hole in a tree and sheltered it from the sun with its hood. The news reached the then ruler, who ordered a temple to be constructed at that place.

One more legend says that the Vilvamangalathu Swamiyar alias Divakara Muni prayed to Krishna for his Darshan near Anantapura temple, Kumbla, Kerala. Krishna came in disguise as a small, mischievous boy. The boy swallowed the Saligrama which was kept for Puja. The Sage became annoyed, and told that boy to go away. Boy with anger left the sage telling that he could be again found only at Ananthankadu and went away through the cave found in Anantapura temple, Kumbla which goes till Anantam Kadu (Present Thiruvananthapuram). The grief stricken Swamiyar went in search of Ananthankadu in search of that boy and finds him sitting on a huge illuppa tree. The sage felt that the kid was angry on him, so to please Him the sage gave sliced mango in coconut Shell. But the kid was angry on sage as he had told him to leave Anantapura, Kumbla. The sage offered mango in coconut shell for the next few days. Then the kid was pleased and became Vishnu in Sayana Kolam. When he did so, he was of an extraordinarily large size. When God showed his Viswa Darshan to the Rishi Muni Divakaran he occupied three places, his Thiru Mugam at Thiruvalla, body-Nabi at Thiruvanandapuram, his lotus feet at Thiruppapoor. When Rishi Muni pleaded to God to present himself in a small form for convenient worship, he took this form for the devotees. Immediately, the Vishnu shrunk himself, and told the sage that he should be worshipped through three doors. These doors are now the doors in the temple through which the idol may be viewed. Through the first door,the worship is offered to Shiva,through the second entrance Brahma prays to Vishnu from his lotus navel,and through the third is Vishnu's feet, which are said to lead to salvation. Anantam Kadu was also later called as Ananta Shayanam.

Initially the idol was wooden. At the time of renovating the Mandir after a major fire by the then maharaja of travancore a new idol made up of shaligram was installed. The approach to the inner sanctum is through three doors. They welcomes u before anandasayana- vishnu reclining on adi shesha the snake, brahma on his Nabi, his right hand touching the Lingam, the lamps, the chanting of OM NAMO NARAYANA provides a divine enriching experience. The garba-graha is built on a single stone. 

The belief is that the things dropped in front of Padmanabha belong to the Lord. So the offering of Sashtanga Namaskaram is prohibited here. Everyday kheer- palpaysam is offered to the lord as prasad. The pillars are unique similar to Suseendhram temple in kanyakumari dist. When we tap the pillar we can hear the sound of Music Instruments. Lord Ganapathy, Siva, Sankara narayan and other deities are also depicted here in a fine artistic form.

In 1865, when Swathi Thirunaal Maharaja was ruling the Kingdom, some bad elements tried to kill him by offering poisoned Theertham (holy water) which was offered by the Pundit [priest]. Lord Narasimha saved the King who drank the Theertham and killed the priest. Another instance Maharaja was saved from an elephant which was sent to kill him. It is said that on very rare occasion one can hear the roar of a lion in the middle of night. This sound was heard even after the doors of the Temple were closed. Some believe that Lord Narasimha used to walk on the corridors at night as a protector.

History Of Temple:

Padmanabhaswamy Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu located in Thiruvananthapuram, India. The shrine is currently run by a trust headed by the royal family of Travancore. Padmanabhaswamy Temple stands at a place considered one of the seven Parasurama Kshetras. 

This temple was first under Travancore King. In later years Padmanabhaswamy Temple and its properties were controlled by eight powerful Nair feudal lords known as Ettuveetil Pillamar (Lords of the Eight Houses), under the guidance of the Council of Eight and a Half. It was believed that they were not worshipping Padmanabhaswamy Temple during their rein. In the 18th century, King Anizham Thirunal Valiya Marthanda Varma, the ruler traditionally regarded as the founder of Travancore, successfully suppressed the Ettuveetil Pillais and his cousins following the discovery of conspiracies the Lords were involved in against the Royal House of Travancore. 

On January 3, 1750, Anizham Thirunal "surrendered" the kingdom of Travancore to Padmanabha, the deity at the temple, and pledged that he and his descendants would "serve" the kingdom as Padmanabha Dasa. Since then, the name of every Travancore King was preceded by the title Padmanabha Dasa "servants of the Lord Padmanabha",while the female members of the Royal family were called Padmanabha Sevinis. By surrendering the kingdom to Lord Padmanabha, the whole Travancore state became the property of Sree Padmanabhaswamy. Hence only the King and the royal family can do Sashtanga Namaskaram. Every day between (7:30 - 8:30 AM) in the morning the royal family has the right to enter the temple and perform Sashtanga Namaskaram and no one else is allowed to enter the temple. Before leaving the temple premises the King has to even clean the dirt or dust from his feet which indicates that the king will not take anything from HIM. 

In the Sreekovil (also known as the Sanctum sanctorum, is the building in which the idol of the deity in a Hindu temple is installed), Vishnu is depicted in a reclining position over the serpent Anantha or Adi Sesha.The serpent has his face pointed inwards (signifying contemplation). The Lord's right hand hangs over Shiva. Sridevi, the Goddess of Prosperity and Bhudevi the Goddess of the Earth, two consorts of Vishnu stand by his side and the god Brahma emerges on a lotus, which emanates from the navel of Vishnu. The idol is said to be made from 12000 Saligrama. These Saligrama are from the banks of the Gandaki River in Nepal, and it is believed that they were brought with much ceremony on elephants. The idol is covered with, "Katusarkara yogam", a special ayurvedic mix, was used to make a plaster which keeps the deity clean. The daily worship is with flowers and for the abhishekam, special deities are used. The flowers have always been removed using peacock feathers fearing damage to the katusarkara. 

Some also believed that the idol is made of pure gold covered with Katusarkara yogam and because of Karpura and Aarathi smoke, the idol has turned dark.

Since Divakara Muni is a Tulu Brahmin, it is said that for one month Puja’s are performed by Tulu Brahmin’s and for one month Puja’s are performed by Malayalam Brahmin’s. 

In January 10, 1563 milk started to flow from the cracks present in the walls of the Sanctum sanctorum .This incident had occurred 3 times that year. 

In 1628, milk started to pour from the cracks at the wall from the Rama temple which is in front of the Sanctum sanctorum. A huge crowd had gathered to witness this miracle. These cracks were later closed and the flow was stopped .One can even today see the left out marks present at these walls.

In 1818, the then priests had felt as if the entire Temple was shaking. Due to this the present IDOL of the God had changed its place.

Important Festivals:

· Painguni Uthsavam March-April 10 days
· Navarathri September/October
· Murajapam (Laksha Deepotsava) Once in six years
· Ganapathi Homam 12 days September/October
· Vinayaka Chathurthi August/September
· Ashtami Rohini August/September
· Alpashi festival October/November

At the end of Painguni Uthsavama and Alpashi festivals Narasimha, Sri Krishna and Sri Padmanabha's puja Idol's are taken in a procession to Shankamugham Sea shore and "AARAT"(Holy bath) is performed. The King comes behind this procession with bare foot.When this Idol’s are taken back to Temple in a procession the festival ends.

Navaratri is another festival which is held in this temple. Saraswathi, Durga and Murugan Idol's are taken to the Kuteera Maalika palace which is in front of the Padmanabha Temple .Every year Swathi Musical Concert also takes place at the same time.

The Laksha Deepotsava is another famous festival here happens here once in 6 years. 51 days before this festival Chanting of the Vedas takes place here. Next Laksha Deepotsava is going to be held in January 2014.

Pooja Details:

Here are the details of Puja’s that can be performed by devotees at Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Trivandrum.

General Archanas
Astothara Archana
Sahasranama Archana
Veeda Manthrarchana
Santhanagopala Archana
Vidhya Rahagopala Archana
Swayamvara Archana
Dhanwanthari Archana
Sudarshana Archana
Lekshminarayana Archana
Sooktam Archanas - Suktham
Purusha Sooktam
Bhoo Sooktha
Purusha Sooktam
Sree Sooktham
Bhaghya Sooktham
Aikyamathya Sooktham
Narayana Sooktham
Samvatha Sooktham
Abhishekams and Offerings
Aval (Sree Krishna Swamy)
Unniyappam (Unni Appam)
Modakam (for Sree Ganapathi)
Paal Payasam
Ghee Payasama
Sharkara Payasam
Idichu Pizhinja Payasam
Milk Abhishekam
Nei VilakkuVada Mala (Sree Hanuman Swamy)

The Temple Timings:

03.45 - 05:00 AM
06:30 - 07:00 AM
08:30 - 10:00 AM
11:45 - 12:30 PM
05:00 - 06:15 PM
06:45 - 07:30 PM

Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple. Inside the temple dress regulations are strictly enforced.

It is advised to first visit Sree Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple then visit Guruvayoor Krishna Temple.

Unearthed a rich and glorious past in Padmanabha Temple, Thiruvananthapuram

As per the evaluation of the value of treasures found from the underground cellars of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple there is around 1,00,000 crore rupees (1 Lakh Crore Rupees). There are 6 cellars in the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple that were marked from A to F. Among them the cellars A and B are not opened for past 150 years.Other cellars were containing precious items for festivals, daily puja's .etc.

The detailed list of Treasures found in Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple are,

1 Lakh Gold Coins
Rare Priceless Gems
Precious Diamonds like Indraneelam, Belgium Diamonds, Emeralds, Rubies
1200 Sarappoli Gold Chains
Gold Crowns like Kulashekharaperumal Crown which was used by Kings of Travancore
KashuMala (Necklaces)
400 Gold Necklaces with Marathakam stone
More than 2000 Gold ornaments
Gold Plates (Swarna Thalika)
Gold Chains of up to 3 and 10.5 kg and of about 18 ft also
Golden Idol of Padmanabha Swamy
Swarna(Gold) Dhanuss
Swarna(Gold) Pathakams
4 Feet tall Golden statue of Lord Vishnu studded with precious emeralds
Gold Staffs
Golden Utensils
Golden Umbrellas (Thankakuda)
Gold Pots
Gold Varpu, Uruli (Big Utensil)
Gold Kazhuthu Kudam, Kazhuthukootam
Silver Moola Pattika
Gold, Silver Nilavilakku
Gold Kindi
Silver, Gold Dharakidaram
God Shiva Idols made of Gold
Serpents idols in Gold
Golden rings
Gold Thali

Finding from Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple
Maha Vishnu Idol - 32 KG

Krishna Idol - 5 KG

Treasury 17 kg of gold coins of the East India Company time

Gold Chains of up to 3 and 10.5 kg and of about 18 ft

Gold Crowns like Kulashekhara Perumal

Precious Diamonds like Indraneelam, Belgium Diamonds, Emeralds, Rubies

Temple Info on Sree Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple:

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple
Mathilakom Office East Fort
Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum)
Kerala, India
Pin Code - 695023

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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. You have provided a very informative and good post. In kerala there are many famous temples.People from all around come to explore the ancient temples.
    Kullu Manali

  3. Nice post on temples in kerala. Kerala is really has a rich and traditional collection of divine temples.
    Himachal Tourism

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Nice post on the padmanabhaswamy temple of kerala. Kerala is one of the most demanding destination in south India. If i suggest you to some place in north India then visit to himachal has a lot to offer you.
    Himachal Tour Packages

  6. awesome collection admin.... grt stuff.... hanuman chalisa