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Sri Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple (Thiruvananthapuram) Kerala - Divya Desam 83

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Sri Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple (Thiruvananthapuram) Kerala - Divya Desam 83
Divya Desams refer to the 108 Vishnu temples that are mentioned in the works of the Tamil Azhvars (saints). Divya in the Tamil language indicates "premium" and Desam indicates "place" (temple). Of the 108 temples, 105 are located in India, one in Nepal and two outside of the Earthly realms. Most of the Divya Desams in Tamil Nadu follow the Thenkalai tradition. This includes the important temples of Srirangam and Triplicane.

The Divya Desams are revered by the 12 Azhvars in the Divya Prabandha, a collection of 4,000 Tamil verses. Lord Shiva, the other major deity in Hinduism, is similarly associated with the Paadal Petra Sthalams, 275 Shiva temples which are praised in the Tevaram canon by the 63 Nayanars.

Two Temples at Thulai Villi Mangalam, referred to as Erettai Tirupathi, about 100 yards of each other on the Northern bank of Tamaraibarani make up one Divya Desam. NamAzhvaar has sung 11 verses of praise on Devapiran and Aravinda Losana, the deities of the twin temples, located about 10kms East of SriVaikuntam.

Sri Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple (Thiruvananthapuram) Kerala - Divya Desam 83

Divya Desam 83 - Sri Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple:


Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple is located inside the East Fort,Thiruvananthapuram. It is the state temple of erstwhile 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 Tank. 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 Holi 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 innumeraepillars, intricate carvings and Mural paintings. Outside the temple courtyard, there is a medley of shops that sell souvenirs, handicrafts, woodcarvings and handiwork made of sandal. One can witness the craftsmen do their work right from carving the wood to polishing. 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.

Sri Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple (Thiruvananthapuram) Kerala - Divya Desam 83
The temple has an imposing seven tier gopuram covered with beautiful stone carvings. The temple has a broad corridor with 324 sculptured pillars and a 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 play 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.

Sri Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple (Thiruvananthapuram) Kerala - Divya Desam 83

History & Legends:

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 an 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, 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.

There are many legends regarding the origin of the temple. One such legend says that the Sage Divakara prayed to Krishna for his darshan. Krishna came in disguise as a small, mischevious boy. The boy swallowed the Saligrama which was kept in Puja. The Sage became enraged at this and chased the boy until the boy hid himself behind a tree. The tree fell down and became Vishnu in Sayana Kolam, when he did so, he was of an extraordinarily large size. The Sage,recognizing that the tree was Vishnu, in despair prayed that he could not pray to Vishnu fully as his form was so large. 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. Another legend suggests that the original Murti which was made of the wood of that tree got burned during a fire that engulfed the temple complex, was a sign of the unhappiness of the lord with the king.

Sri Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple (Thiruvananthapuram) Kerala - Divya Desam 83
An ascetic Vilwamangalam Swamigal was performing pujas to Lord Narayana each day with flowers etc. A little boy was causing all troubles to Swamigal by scattering the puja materials and even urinating nearby. It is said that Lord played in the guise of the little boy to test the tolerance level of Swamigal. When his mischief reached a stage, Swamigal pushed the boy Unni Kannan-little boy in anger. Lord Kannan appeared before him and said that true bhakti and renunciation required total tolerance and that He so behaved to test him. He also told the Swamigal that if he desired to see him again, he (swamigal) had to come to Ananthan Kadu. Lord disappeared then.

Swamigal began to discover Ananthan Kadu but could not. He sat under a tree much tired on a scorching sunny day. He saw a peasant couple nearby quarrelling. The husband shouted that if she was behaving like that, he would kill her and throw her in the Ananthan Kadu. Swamigal was happy, approached the husband, made peace among them and asked him to show the place. The husband showed Swamigal Ananthan Kadu. It was a rough path covered by wild bushes with thorns. Determined, Swamigal found at last Lord with Sridevi and Bhoodevi on Adiseha in the reclining posture and worshipped Him. Lord further tested the Swamigal to get Him something to eat as He was hungry. Swamigal gave him unriped mango found in the jungle with salt. Swamigal informed the king of Travancore about his finding. The king took Brahmin priests from eight mutts and reached the place. Though Lord was not there as described by the Swamigal, the king in good faith, built a temple, installed Lord on Adisesha and named Him Anantha Padmanabha Swami.

The presiding deity made of Iluppai wood was destroyed by fire in the year 1686. The second and the present idol was made with 12,000 Salagrama stones of Vishnu importance with a mixture called Kadu Sarkarai Yoga. This is a very rare idol which we are worshipping now. The idol on the Adi Sesha is 12 feet long in a reclining posture, covered fully with gold.

Sri Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple (Thiruvananthapuram) Kerala - Divya Desam 83
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 was staged in the night during the ten-day uthsavam (festival) conducted twice a year, during the Malayalam months of Meenam and Thulam.

Do's and Don’ts:

Entry is restricted to those who profess the Hindu religion.
There is a special dress code. The dress code for men is Dhoti with or without Angavastra. The dress codes for women are Sarees, Dhoties or Pavadas with blouse or other coverings as appropriate to their age. Salvar sets and other modern dresses are not allowed. Young girls below 12 years may wear gowns. No other types of dress should not be worn or taken inside the temple.
The men should fasten their Angavastrams around their waist.
Follow the procedures and timings of the Temple and wait till your turn comes for darshan.
Worshipers should not sit or prostrate or place any articles on the Ottakkal Mandapam.
Umbrellas, slippers, cameras, mobile phones, and any other type of electronic equipments and weapons are not permitted inside the Temple.
Photography is strictly prohibited in the Temple premises.
Respect the customs and usages of the Temple.

Temple Timings:

The temple is open from 04:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 05:00 p.m. to 07:30 p.m.


Located in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) half a km from the railway station is the 5000 year old Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Divya Desam, where the gigantic Lord Anantha Padmanabhan is seen in a Bhujanga Sayana Kolam.

Sri Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple (Thiruvananthapuram) Kerala - Divya Desam 83

Temple Address & Contact Info:

Sri Anantha Padmanabhan Temple,
Thiruvananthapuram-695 001,
Contact : 0471 2450233,2466830,2464606


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