Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is one of the most revered Lord Vishnu temples of Kerala, South India. Also renowned as Sree Ananda Padmanabhaswamy the temple it is located inside East Fort in Thiruvananthapuram the capital city of Kerala. The temple is one of the 108 holy abodes of Lord Vishnu. Here the Lord Vishnu is enshrined in Anananthasayanam posture (in eternal sleep of Yognidra the hooded snake Anantha). The temple dates back to 8th Century and is constructed in Dravidian style architecture. The references of temple are found in Divya Prabandha canon of literature written by Tamil Alvar.
The idol of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple is made up of 12008 salagrams that compose the reclining lord which are bought with great pomp and gaiety from the banks of river Ganhaki in Nepal. The Lords right hand is placed over a Shiva lingam. Sridevi the goddess of prosperity and Bhudevi the goddess of earth, are the two consorts of Vishnu are by His side. Brahma emerges on a lotus originates from the naval of lord. The idol of Sri Padmanabha is covered with Katusarkara Yogam which is a special ayurvedic mixture which forms a plaster that keeps the deity clean. The daily worship is with flowers and for the abishekam special deities are used.
Erstwhile Thiruvanthapuram was ruled by padhmanabhadasas (means followers of Sri Padhmanabha, 'dasa' means servant). Ever since the temple are maintained by the royal family of Thiruvanthapuram. The shrine is currently run by a trust headed by the royal family of Travancore. Inside the temple there are two important shrines Thekkedom and Thiruvambadi for the deities Sri Yoga Narasimha and Sree KrishnaSwami respectively. There are some other shrines as well dedicated to various deities like Sree Rama accompanied by Sita, Laksmana and Hanuman, Vishwaksena, Vyasa, Ganapat, Sasta and Kshetrapala. Apart from this the grand idols of Garuda and Hanuman stand with folded hands in the Valiya Balikkal Area.
Best time to visit Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple
There are many festivals related to this temple. The major festivals are biannual. The Alpashy festival is held in the months of October/ November and Painkuni festival which is celebrated in March/April lasts for 10 days. The Maharaja of Travancore escorts the deities to Vettakkalam for Pallivetta. The festival culminates with the holy bath (Aarat) to the Shankumugham beach. The Maharajah of Travancore escorts the Aarat procession on foot. The festival idols "Utsava Vigrahas" of Sri Padmanabhaswamy, Krishna Swami and Narasimha Moorthi 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
Another major annual festival of Padmanabha temple is the Navaratri festival. The idols of Saraswati Amman, Mun Uditha Nangai and Kumara Swami (Murugan) are brought to the Kuthira malika palace in front of Padmanabha temple as a procession. This festival lasts for 9 days. The famous Swathi music festival is held every year during this festival.
The biggest festival in this temple is laksha deepam, which means hundred thousand 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. On the last day, hundred thousand oil lamps are lit in and around the temple premises.
How to reach Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple
By Air:-After reaching Trivandrum Airport avail the services of private taxis or local buses to reach East fort from where Sri Padmanabha Temple is just a walkway distance.
By Train:- You can get off at the Central Railway Station in Thampanoor, Trivandrum. From there it is only 1 km towards the temple.
By Bus:- The Bus Stand will be at Thampanoor in Trivandrum and from there the temple is only 1 km away.
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