Temple name – Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple
Main Deity – Maha Vishnu
Location – Tiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is located in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The temple is recognized as one of the 108 Divya Desams and as one of the seven temples consecrated by Sri Parasurama. As per legend, the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple was worshipped by Lord Indra and Lord Chandra (the moon God). The temple is so vital to the city, that the word Thiruvananthapuram literally means ‘The land of Sree Anantha Padmanabhaswamy.
The principal deity of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is depicted in the Ananthasayanam pose i.e. in the eternal sleep of Yognidra lying upon Sri Anantha or the hooded snake. The other major deities of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple are Lord Shiva (in the form of Lingam), Lord Brahma, Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Bhudevi, Lord Ganesha, Lord Ayyappa, Lord Narasimha, Lord Rama, Lord Kshetrapalan, Lord Garuda, Lord Vishwaksena, Lord Hanuman, Goddess Sita and Lakshmana.
As per the orders of the Supreme Court of India, the five secret cellars of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple were opened and the inventories discovered has been estimated to be worth 100,000 crores as per July, 2011. Thus, the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple has surpassed the Tirupati temple to become the richest temple in India.
List of Ancient Treasure Found in the Temple
The treasures found in the secret cellars of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple are as follows:
- A golden idol of Lord Vishnu studded with precious stones worth Rs 500 crores.
- Thousands of Gold Coins
- Elephant statues made of Gold
- Gold Ornaments
- Swarna Dhanush
- Swarna Pathakam
- Belgium Diamonds
- The famous Kulashekharaperumal Crown made of Gold
- Coconut Shells made of Gold
- Golden Utensils
- Golden Ropes
- Umbrellas made of Gold
The Divya Prabandha by Tamil Alwar mentions the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple for the first time in history. Besides this, we also find references to the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in five puranas. The Bhagavatha Purana also mentions about the visit of Sree Bala Rama to Syanandoorapuram i.e. the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
As per records, Ettuveetil Pillamar initially maintained the affairs of the temple and was later suppressed by Sree Marthanda Varma Anizham Thirunal, who took over the control. The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple was completely destroyed by a major fire accident in 1686 and was later renovated by Marthanda Varman.
It is believed that Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple and its properties were maintained by Ettuveetil Pillamar – the eight powerful Nair feudal lords of ancient Travancore. Later His Royal Highness Sree Marthanda Varma Anizham Thirunal suppressed the Ettuveetil Pillais and his cousins and took over the control of the temple. In 1686 A.D. the Temple was almost fully destroyed in a major fire accident. Work on the re-construction of the Temple was started only in 1724. Lord Padmanabha was made the nominal head of the state of Travancore and hence was revered as the Perumal i.e. Emperor. The royal emblem of Lord Padmanabha i.e Valampuri Shankhu or the dextral conch shell, later became the state insignia of Travancore.
There are no certain references to ascertain the origins of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. However, as per the opinion of experts the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple was established on the first day of Kali Yuga i.e. some 5,000 years ago. Even the Ananthasayana Mahatmya mentions that the temple was consecrated by Divakara Muni, a Tulu Brahmin.
As per legend, Lord Krishna disguised as a small mischievous boy appeared before Divakara Muni, who was praying and seeking Lord Krishna’s darshan, and swallowed up the Saligrama of the temple. The enraged Divakara Muni chased the small boy, who had hid himself behind a tree, and later discovered a massive manifestation of Lord Vishnu in the Anantha Shayanam form. On the request of Divakara Muni, Lord Vishnu shrunk himself into a small idol and directed Divakara Muni to construct three doors at the temple where he is to be installed. The doors are still existent in the current day temple and are used by the devotees to get a Darshan of the Gods. The first door is dedicated to Lord Shiva; the second is dedicated to Lord Brahma and the third to Lord Vishnu.
As per another legend, Vilvamangalam got a darshan of Lord Vishnu in the Viswa Rupam form and in his excitement he offered unripe mangoes on a coconut shell to the Lord, who accepted it as Nivedyam. This practice has been followed for centuries and is duly followed even today.
Primarily, the descendants of Vilvamangalam and Divakara Muni, who are essentially Namboodiri Brahmins, are associated with the rituals and ceremonies of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The morning Pushpanjali, performed by designated Namboodiri Brahmins further testifies the fact.
Sree Anantha Padmanabhaswamy was perceived as the Emperor or Perumal of the state of Travancore as well as the regional deity. Hence, the temple dedicated to Sree Anantha Padmanabhaswamy is a major center of attraction for the residents of the region and is very much a part of the daily lives of the people.
A spectacular specimen of the Dravidian style of architecture, the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is of extreme popularity for its sculpted art work on stone and bronze. The temple is adjacent to the tank named Padma Theertham or the Lotus Spring. The temple is seven-storeyed and is 35 meters high. The eighty feet Dhwaja Sthambha (flag post) is located in front of the temple and is enveloped gold plated copper sheets.
The Ottakkal Mandapam, located in front of the sanctum sanctorum, is built from a single unit of two and a half feet thick granite slab. The nine entrances of the temple symbolize the nine orifices of the human body. The Thiruvambadi Sree Krishna Swamy Temple is located in the temple complex and enjoys the status of an independent temple. Another unique feature of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is that it hosts the deities of Lord Vishnu in all the three postures i.e. reclining, sitting or standing. The deity that is visible from the central door is known as the Utsava Moorti. The ground floor under the Gopuram i.e. the Nataka Sala, hosts the annual ten day dance festival known as Padmanabhaswamy Temple festival.
The major festivals celebrated in the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple are as follows:
- Alpashy Festival- Held in the months of October-November
- Painkuni Festival- Held in the months of March-April
- Arattu- A holy bath celebrated at the Arattu beach
- Lakshadeepam- Celebrated every six years, lakhs of oil lit lamps are offered in the temple premises.
- Navarathri- Is celebrated for nine days and the Swathi Tirunal Music festival is also celebrated simultaneously.
- The other festivals celebrated in the temple are Malayalam New Year Day, Krishna Jayanti, Mandala Pooja and Sree Rama Navami.
Address and contact details
The Executive Officer
Mathilakom Office,(East fort)
Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple
Fort, Thiruvananthapuram Kerala, India
Pin Code – 695023
Phone: 0471 2450233(Office)
0471 2464606 (Information/Help line)
Fax: 0471 2450233
Timing of Temple
Temple Opening time: 3.30.00 A.M. to 12.00 noon and 5.00 P.M. to 7.30.00 P.M