Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple
Located in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, Padmanabhaswamy temple is the richest Hindu temple in the world and by far the wealthiest place of worship of any kind in the recorded history.
The principal deity of the temple is Lord Vishnu, enshrined in the Anantha Shayanam posture, the eternal yogic sleep on the serpent Adisheshan. However, the custodial deity is Sree Padmanabhaswamy of the royal family of Travancore, after whom the temple has been named.
Considered to be one of the 108 Divya Desams of Lord Vishnu, Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple is also one of the seven Parasurama kshetras in Kerala. Also, the town Thiruvananthapuram has been named after the Lord, which literally translates to ‘The Land of Sree Anantha Padmanabhaswamy.’
Legend has it
According to the legend, on January 3rd, 1750, Maharaja Marthanda Varma dedicated the kingdom of Travancore to Lord Padmanabha. Marthanda Varma vowed that the royal family will rule the state on behalf of the Lord 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, while the queens were called PadmanabhaSevinis. By giving the kingdom to Lord Padmanabha, the whole Travancore state became the property of Sree Padmanabhaswamy, making it appropriate to call Kerala as ‘God’s Own Country.’
Built in the Dravidian style of architecture, the temple features high walls and a 16th century gopuram. It is to an extent an architectural replica of Adikesava Perumal temple located in Kanyakumari District.
Inside the sanctum sanctorum, the idol of Padmanabha reclines on the serpent Anantha – which has five hoods facing inwards, implying contemplation. Right hand of the Lord is placed over a lingam whereas Sridevi-Lakshmi, the Goddess of Prosperity and Bhudevi the Goddess of Earth, two consorts of Lord Vishnu are by his side.
Lord Brahma emerges on a lotus, which emanates from the navel of the Lord. The deity is made out of approximately 12,000 saligramams, which were brought from the banks of the Gandaki River in Nepal. These were also used to commemorate certain rituals that were performed at the Pashupatinath Temple. To keep the idol of the deity clean, it is covered with Katu Sarkara Yogam, a special ayurvedic mix that forms a plaster.
Timings and Religious Practices
Following are the timings for darshan of the temple:
03:30 a.m. to 04:45 a.m.
06:30 a.m. to 07:00 a.m.
08:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
10:30 a.m. to 11:10 a.m.
11:45 a.m. to 12:00 m.
05:00 p.m. to 06:15 p.m.
06:45 p.m. to 07:20 p.m.
Festivities and Celebrations
Chingam, Vinayaka Chathurthi, Thiruvonam, Ashtami Rohini, Navarathri Pooja, Valiya Ganapathi Homam, and Alpasi Ulsavam are some of the festivals celebrated at Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple with great enthusiasm.
One can easily reach the temple by hiring an auto-rickshaw either from Chalai Market or Government Central School.
The nearest train station to the temple is Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station, which is at an approximate distance of 1 km.
The nearest airport located to the temple is Trivandrum International Airport, at an approximate distance of 3 kms.
Those who are looking forward for an enlightening escapade, Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple will prove to be an extraordinary experience. It is believed that once in a life time devotees should visit Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple. So, get your itinerary prepared and get set to embark a journey of faith.