Kerala Padmanabhaswamy Temple
|Location||Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India|
|Built by||Maharaja of Travancore|
|Also known as||Sree Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple|
|Primary deity||Sree Anantha Padmanabhaswamy (Vishnu)|
|Important festivals||Laksha Deepam, Navaratri Festival,|
|Architectural styles||Dravidian architecture|
|Attraction||Ananthasayanam Idol, The presence of Shiva, Gopuram, Nine Entrances, Bells|
There is a famous Hindu temple in Thiruvananthapuram devoted to Lord Vishnu known as Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple. At present, the shrine is being run by a trust which is taken care of by a royal family belonging to Travancore. This temple has been among the 108 Divya Desams (i.e. Vishnu’s Holy Abodes) – one of the major centers for worshipping the deity in Vaishnavism. This temple, built in an architecture having Dravidian style by Viswakarma sthapathis belonging to Tanjore and then further settling in karamana (or Haran Mana) as well as kalppalayam. The temple prides itself with a glory of Divya Prabandha, which is the Tamil literature of early medieval times of the Alvar saints of Tamil (6th–9th centuries CE), having structural additions all along the 16th century CE. It was the time when Gopuram, its ornate was built. This Temple is considered as the replica of well known temple, Sri Adikesavaperumal located at Thiruvattar. Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of state of Kerala got its name from Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The meaning of ‘Thiru’ ‘Anantha’ ‘Puram’ is Lord Anantha Padmanabha’s Sacred Abode. This city is also called as Anandapuram (i.e.City of Bliss) and Syananduram (meaning Where Bliss is not far off). Ananda means Sree Padmanabha while Hindu scriptures describe the Supreme Being as 'Sachidananda' (which means Absolute Truth, Absolute Bliss and Absolute Consciousness).
Padmanabhaswamy, the Principal Deity, has a shrine of "Anantha-sayanam" posture and Travancore’s Maharajah is entitled as "Sree Padmanabhadasa’ which refers to servant of Lord Padmanabha.
Only the Hindu devotees have a permission to enter the temple and besides this there is a dress code to be followed strictly.
There is a kind of discourse between Sage Garga and Yudhishthira in Kerala Mahatmyam. There are reports that Parashurama when found Kerala had partitioned the land among 64 gramas, Bhanu Vicrama crowned at Sreevardhanapuram (Padmanabhapuram), as well as styled him the Kovil Adhikarikal, who is the manager of the of Thiruvananthapuram i.e. Sreevalumcode.
In the beginning of the 18th century, having an array of matrilineal traditions, King Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma, of 23 years, had a succession over King Rama Varma, his uncle. He was successful in suppressing the 700 years of stranglehold of the Ettuveetil Pillais along with his cousins discovering the conspiracies donw by the lords against the Travancore’s Royal House. The last renovation of the Padmanabhaswamy temple was seen just after accession of Anizham Thirunal to musnud and idol being reconsecrated in 1731 C.E. The Travancore’s kingdom was surrendered to Sree Padmanabha Swamy by Anizam Thirunal on January 17, 1750 C.E., and took a pledge that he along with his descendants might be agents or vassals of the deity serving Padmanabha Dasa’s kingdom. It was since then, that each Travancore king’s name was preceded by Padmanabha Dasa’s title. However the female royal family members were known by the name Padmanabha Sevinis. This donation of the kingdom was referred to as Thrippadi-danam. The ultimate desires of Anizham Thirunal when he passed away at 53 lucidly delineated the relationship between the temple and the Maharajah.
Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple is famous for its splendid sculpture.Having an ancient art work in stone as well as in bronze, the wood carvings and mural paintings, this old temple is an epitome of Dravidian styled architecture. It is seen that Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is found near Padma Theertham, the holy tank, referring to the lotus spring. At the entrance of tower, there is a seven-storey having 35 meter height. There are fabulous stone carvings, and has been built with South Indian architecture. There is a flag post of eighty-feet found in front of the temple being covered with copper sheets which are gold plated.
Sree Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple consists of few interesting features like the Mukha Mandapam and Bali Peeda Mandapam. These halls are beautifully decorated with fabulous sculptures of several Hindu deities. There is one more part which is noteworthy, Navagraha Mandapa having a ceiling exhibiting the Navagrahas
Broad Corridor with 365 and 1/4 Sculptured Granite Stone Pillars
Expanded from the eastern part to the sanctum sanctorum, there is a wide corridor having 365 and 1/4th sculptures made up of granite-stone and pillars having fabulous carvings. Remarkably, the touch of the artisans can be felt in a piece of carving having a picture of elephant on 1 side and a bull on the other side. It is to be noted that the bull’s horns appear like the tusks of elephant if seen from different side while the elephant’s trunk looks like the bull’s hump.
One can find a ground floor below the gopuram which is the major entrance towards eastern part which is called as 'Nataka Sala'. Kathakali, the popular temple art of Kerala, staged at night during Padmanabhaswamy Temple Festival organized annually for 10 days during Meenam and Thulam, the Malayalam months.
How to Reach
Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is easily accessible by road for its location being close to the bus station of city of Trivandrum in East Fort, Thiruvananthapuram. There is an inter-state highway, NH 47 connecting Thiruvananthapuram to different cities and close by states which include Kollam, Thrissur, Ernakulam (Kochi), Nagercoil, Kanyakumari, Coimbatore, Bangalore and Chennai.
There is Trivandrum International Airport for reaching Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple which is at a distance of 7 km from the temple.
Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station is the closest station found 1 km from Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. It is among the main railway stations of Kerala, which falls under Southern Railways. One can avail trains like Himsagar Express, Howrah Express, Rajdhani Express, Sabari Express and Guruvayur Express at the Trivandrum Railway Station.
Thiruvananthapuram City Bus Station located at East Fort is the closest bus station for reaching the temple.The bus station of city is located at a walking distance. Thiruvananthapuram Central Bus Station, located opposite to railway station, is very close by.
One can find two significant shrines in the temple, Thiruvambadi and Thekkedom for the Deities, Sree Krishna Swamy and Sri Yoga Narasimha respectively. There is a duty assigned to Lord Narasimha, defence of Chamber B. Thiruvambadi shrine is not dependednt and is found predating the Sri Padmanabha’s shrine. The shrine of Thiruvambadi having its own bali stones, namaskara mandapam and flagmast. Lord Thiruvambadi is Parthasarathi, Arjuna’s Divine Charioteer. The idol of Lord of Thiruvambadi made up of granite was brought from state of Gujarat by 72 families of Vrishni Vamsa Kshatriyas. As the Vrishnies fall under the Lord Krishna’s lineage, they are called as Krishnan vakakkar. There is a two-armed granite idol, having one hand which holds the whip while the other rests on the left thigh and holds the conch near it, stands. During Ekadasi days, the Lord is decorated and dressed as Mohini. One can see shrines of Sree Rama along with that of Hanuman, Sita and Lakshmana. The grand idols of Hanuman and Garuda stand with hands folded in the area of Valiya balikkal.
Significance of the Temple
Sree Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple is among the 108 Divya Desams of Lord Vishnu. The Divya Desams are Sacred abodes of Lord Mahavishnu as mentioned earlier. Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple is also among the seven Parasurama kshetras of Kerala state. This Thiruvananthapuram city got its name from a Lord. Thiruvananthapuram has a literal meaning, "The land of Sree Anantha Padmanabhaswamy”.
The idol of Sree Padmanabhaswamy is formed of 12008 salagramams composing the reclining lord. They are important as they belong to Nepal, from the embankments of Gandhaki river and were brought here with great enthusiasm and zeal on top of elephant. On the top, "Katusarkara Yogam", Navaratnams, was used as a plaster and is a special Ayurvedic blend. Devotees have a faith that the Lord personally came up in disguise and saved various times the kingdom of Travancore from the enemies.
Timings and other Important Information
03.30 am to 04.45 am (Nirmalya Darshanam)
06.30 am to 07.00 am
08.30 am to 10.00 am
10.30 am to 11.10 am
11.45 am to 12.00 Noon
05.00 pm to 06.15 pm
06.45 pm to 07.20 pm
Only Hindus can enter the temple and dress code is to be strictly followed while entering the temple. There is 'Mundu' or 'Dhoti' for men whereas the women need to wear sarees during their visit to the temple. Men also need to remove t-shirt or shirt above waist. Women can go for Mundum Neriyathum, Skirt and Blouse, or even Half Sari. It means pants for men or churidhar for women are not allowed in the temple.
One can avail Dhotis for rent close to the locker room of temple. These days, the authorities of temple permit to wear Dhotis over pants or even churidhar for the devotees’ convenience.
Weather and Time to Visit
The climate in Trivandrum is dry and humid throughout the major part of the year. October to February are the best months to visit this place.
- The Winter months, November- February are best times for visiting, as the temperature is cool and pleasant, and doesn’t exceed 30°C. The time is ideal for enjoying local sightseeing and water sports.
- Summers (March to May) have humid and hot climate having a maximum temperature of about 37°C.
- Monsoons (June to September) experience heavy rainfall. It is the ideal time for visiting Trivandrum, as the weather is cool and makes it ideal for honeymoon.
Trivandrum is best during the months of Oct- Feb when the weather is beautiful making it suitable for sightseeing. The months of March to May should be avoided because the coastal region is pretty hot as well as humid. One should not travel during months of June - September as because of rain water clogging on the roads might create issues in the journey.
One can deposit or pay his offerings and donations at the counters of pooja or submit it in the hundies kept inside the premises of the temple. It is payable at Thiruvananthapuram- 23’,or through their website. There are no agencies for collection of the offerings and donations from the public.
Tips for Devotees
- Entry is only for people of the Hindu religion.
- There is a special dress code to be followed strictly.
- The men have a dress code, Dhoti having or not having Angavastra.
- The ladies are having Sarees, Pavadas with a blouse or some other coverings as a dress code. Commies and Salvar are not permitted.
- Girls below 12 years are allowed to wear gowns.
- No other kind of dress can be worn inside the temple.
- It is necessary for male worshipers to go near the sanctum – sanctorum and tie their Angavastrams around their waist.
- The timings of the temple need to be followed.
- Worshipers cannot sit or place or prostrate any articles on the Ottakkal mandapam.
- Umbrellas, slippers, mobiles, photographic instruments and any other kind of electronic equipments or weapons are not allowed in the temple.
- graphy and Photography are strictly restricted in the premises of the temple.
- One should respect the customs of the temple.
- Take bath and wear clean clothes while entering the temple.
- Don’t smoke, or spit, or wear slippers in the temple.
- Don’t use pan masala.
- Don’t throw the prasadam and theertham given in the temple.
- Don’t enter the temple premises when liquor or non vegetarian food being consumed.
- One should not commit any activities of quarrel or violence in the temple.
- There should not be carrying of much jewellry or money to be taken inside.