Shree Padmanabhaswamy Temple

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Temple Info

Main Deity:
Padmanabhaswamy
Other Deities:
Ugra Narasimha, Krishna, Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Hanuman, Ganapati, Sasta
Year Established:
3000 BC
Functioning Temple:
Yes
Architecture Style:
Chera & Dravidian
Endowment Control:
No
Nearest Airport:
Trivandrum International Airport (TRV)
Nearest Railway Station:
Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station (TVC)

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Description

The Shree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is located in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of the state of Kerala, India. The name of the city of ‘Thiruvananthapuram’ in Malayalam and Tamil translates to “The City of Lord Ananta” (The City Of lord Vishnu). The temple is built in an intricate fusion of the Chera style and the Dravidian style of architecture, featuring high walls, and a 16th-century gopura. While as per some traditions the Ananthapura temple in Kumbla in Kasaragod district in Kerala is considered as the original spiritual seat of the deity (“Moolasthanam”), architecturally to some extent, the temple is a replica of the Adikesava Perumal temple in Thiruvattar in Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu. The principal deity is Padmanabhaswamy (Vishnu), who is enshrined in the “Anantha Shayana” posture, the eternal yogic sleep on the infinite serpent Adi Shesha. Padmanabhaswamy is the tutelary deity of the Travancore royal family. The titular Maharaja of Travancore, Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma, is the current trustee of the temple.

Itihaas

The origin of the Temple of Sree Padmanabhaswamy is lost in antiquity. It is not possible to determine with any exactitude, from any reliable historical documents or other sources as to when and by whom the original idol of Sree Padmanabhaswamy was consecrated. The Temple has references in Epics and Puranas. Srimad Bhagavatha says that Balarama visited this Temple, bathed in Padmatheertham and made several offerings. Nammalwar, 9th century poet and one among the 12 Vaishnavite saints of the Alvar tradition, has composed ten hymns in praise of Lord Padmanabha. Some well known scholars, writers and historians, like the late Dr. L.A.Ravi Varma of Travancore, have expressed the view that this Temple was established on the first day of Kali Yuga (which is over 5000 years ago). The legends of the Temple are handed down through the centuries. One such legend which finds a place in the old palm leaf records of the Temple, as also in the famous grantha entitled “Ananthasayana Mahatmya”, mentions that it was consecrated by a Tulu Brahmin hermit named Divakara Muni. On the 950th year of Kali Yuga a reinstallation of the idol was done. In the 960th Kali year King Kotha Marthandan built the Abhisravana Mandapam.

Legend

It is believed that Parasurama purified and venerated the idol of Sree Padmanabhaswamy in Dvapara Yuga. Parasurama entrusted 'Kshethra karyam' (Administration of the Temple) with seven Potti families – Koopakkara Potti, Vanchiyoor Athiyara Potti, Kollur Athiyara Potti, Muttavila Potti, Karuva Potti, Neythasseri Potti and Sreekaryathu Potti. King Adithya Vikrama of Vanchi (Venad) was directed by Parasurama to do 'Paripalanam' (Protection) of the Temple. Parasurama gave the Tantram of the Temple to Tharananallur Namboothiripad. This legend is narrated in detail in the Kerala Mahathmyam which forms part of the Brahmanda Puranam. Another version regarding the consecration of the principal idol of the Temple relates to the legendary sage Vilvamangalathu Swamiyar. Swamiyar, who resided near Ananthapuram Temple in Kasaragod District, prayed to Lord Vishnu for his darshan or "auspicious sight". The Lord is believed to have come in the guise of a little boy who was mischievous. The boy defiled the idol which was kept for puja. The sage became enraged at this and chased away the boy who disappeared before him. Realising the boy was no ordinary mortal, the sage wept for forgiveness and asked for another darshan as a sign. He heard a voice say "If you want to see me come to the Anathavana (the unending forest or Ananthakadu). After a long search, when he was walking on the banks of the Laccadive Sea, he heard a pulaya lady warning her child that she would throw him in Ananthankadu. The moment the Swami heard the word Ananthankadu he was delighted. He proceeded to Ananthankadu based on the directions of the lady of whom he enquired. The sage reached Ananthankadu searching for the boy. There he saw the boy merging into an iluppa tree (Indian butter tree). The tree fell down and became Anantha Sayana Moorti (Vishnu reclining on the celestial snake Anantha). But the edifice that the Lord assumed was of an extraordinarily large size, with His head at Thiruvattar near Thuckalay, Tamil Nadu, body or udal at Thiruvananthapuram, and lotus-feet at Thrippadapuram near Kulathoor and Technopark (Thrippappur), making him some eight miles in length. The sage requested the Lord to shrink to a smaller proportion that would be thrice the length of his staff. Immediately the Lord shrank to the form of the idol that is seen at present in the Temple. But even then many iluppa trees obstructed a complete vision of the Lord. The sage saw the Lord in three parts – thirumukham, thiruvudal and thrippadam. The swami prayed to Padmanabha to be forgiven. He offered rice kanji and uppumanga (salted mango pieces) in a coconut shell to the Perumal which he obtained from the pulaya woman. The spot where the Sage had darsan of the Lord belonged to Koopakkara Potti and Karuva Potti. With the assistance of the reigning King and some Brahmin households a temple was constructed. The Ananthankadu Nagaraja Temple still exists to the north west of the Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The samadhi (final resting place) of the swamiyar exists to the west of the Padmanabhaswamy Temple. A Krishna temple was built over the samadhi. This temple, known as Vilvamangalam Sri Krishna Swami Temple, belongs to Thrissur Naduvil Madhom.

Architecture Details

In the Garbhagriha, Padmanabha reclines on the serpent Anantha or Adi Sesha. The serpent has five hoods facing inwards, signifying contemplation. The Lord's right hand is placed over a Shiva lingam. Sridevi-Lakshmi, the Goddess of Prosperity and Bhudevi the Goddess of Earth, two consorts of Vishnu are by his side. Brahma emerges on a lotus, which emanates from the navel of the Lord. The deity is made from 12,008 saligramams. These saligrams are from the banks of the Gandaki River in Nepal, and to commemorate this, certain rituals used to be performed at the Pashupatinath Temple. The deity of Padmanabha is covered with, "Katusarkara yogam", a special ayurvedic mix which is made of 108 natural materials collected from all over India and forms a coat-like protection that keeps the deity clean. The daily worship is with flowers, and for the abhishekam, special deities are used.
The platforms in front of the vimanam and where the deity rests are both carved out of a single massive stone and hence called "Ottakkal-mandapam". On the orders of Marthanda Varma (1706–58 CE), the Ottakkal-mandapam was cut out of a rock at Thirumala, about 4 miles (6.4 km) north of the temple. It measured 20 square feet (1.9 m2; 190 dm2; 19,000 cm2) in area by 2.5 feet (30 in; 7.6 dm; 76 cm) thick and was placed in front of the deity in the month of Edavom 906 M.E. (1731 CE). At the same time, Marthanda Varma also brought 12,000 shaligrams, aniconic representations of Vishnu, from the Gandaki River, north of Benares (now known as Varanasi) to the temple. These were used in the reconsecration of Lord Padmanabha.

Parampara

Only the King of Travancore may prostrate on the "Ottakkal Mandapam" It is traditionally held that anybody who prostrates on the mandapam has surrendered all that he possesses to the Deity. Since the ruler has already done that, he is permitted to prostrate on this mandapam.
There are many festivals associated with this temple. The major festivals are bi-annual. The Aipasi festival and the Panguni festival in the Tamil month of aipasi (October/November) and Panguni (March/April) respectively, lasts for 10 days each. On the ninth day the Maharajah of the Travancore, in his capacity as Thrippappoor Mooppan, escorts the deities to the vettakkalam for Pallivetta. Centuries back, the Pallivetta procession was said to pass through Kaithamukku, Kuthiravattom (Kunnumpuram), Pazhaya Sreekanteswaram and Putharikkandam. The festivals culminate with the Aarat (holy bath) procession to the Shankumugham Beach. The word Aarat refers to the purificatory immersion of the deities of the temple in sea. This event takes place in the evening. The Maharajah of Travancore escorts the Aarat procession on foot. The festival idols "Utsava Vigrahas" of Padmanabhaswamy, Narasimha Moorthi and Krishna Swami are given a ritual bath in the sea, after the prescribed pujas. After this ceremony, the idols are taken back to the temple in a procession that is lit by traditional torches, marking the conclusion of the festival.
A major annual festival related to Padmanabhaswamy temple is the Navaratri festival. The idols of Saraswati Amman, Mun Uditha Nangai (Parasakti, who appeared before Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati to help them identify their husbands who had been transformed into infants by the power of chastity of Anasuya) and Kumara Swami (Murugan) are brought from the Padmanabhapuram Palace, Suchindram, and Kumarakovil respectively to the Kuthira malika palace in front of Padmanabhaswamy temple as a procession. This festival lasts for 9 days. The famous Swathi Sangeethotsavam music festival is held every year during this festival in the Navratri mandapam and in some other surrounding temples. The festival was named in honour of the Maharajah of Travancore, Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma and is organized by his descendant in the Royal Family, Prince Rama Varma.
Big idol of Pandava displayed during Panguni festival
The biggest festival in this temple is laksha deepam, which means hundred thousand (or one lakh) lamps. This festival is unique and commences once in 6 years. Prior to this festival, chanting of prayers and recitation of three vedas is done for 56 days (Murajapam). On the last day, hundred thousand oil lamps are lit in and around the temple premises.
In line with the Temple Entry Proclamation, only those who profess the Hindu faith are permitted entry to the temple and devotees have to strictly follow the dress code. Men wear "vesti" with "angavastram" (the South Indian version of dhoti and shawl both of which are plain white in color) and women wear sari.

Reference / Credit

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Padmanabhaswamy_Temple, https://spst.in/temple-history/

Temple Location

Today Closed UTC+5.5

03:30 AM - 12:00 PM 04:30 PM - 07:30 PM
  • Monday
    03:30 AM - 12:00 PM 04:30 PM - 07:30 PM
  • Tuesday
    03:30 AM - 12:00 PM 04:30 PM - 07:30 PM
  • Wednesday
    03:30 AM - 12:00 PM 04:30 PM - 07:30 PM
  • Thursday
    03:30 AM - 12:00 PM 04:30 PM - 07:30 PM
  • Friday
    03:30 AM - 12:00 PM 04:30 PM - 07:30 PM
  • Saturday
    03:30 AM - 12:00 PM 04:30 PM - 07:30 PM
  • Sunday
    03:30 AM - 12:00 PM 04:30 PM - 07:30 PM

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