Thiruvananthapuram - Lord Anantha Padmanabha Temple
Located inside the East Fort in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of the State of Kerala. The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Vishnu, reclining on Anantha, the hooded Serpent and called as Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy. The word 'Thiruvananthapuram' literally means the land of Sri Anantha Padmanabhaswamy. This temple is a blend of the Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture. It is one of the 108 sacred Vishnu temples or Divya Desams in India. Divya Desams are the holiest abodes of the Lord Vishnu that are mentioned in the works of the Tamil Azhvars (saints).
Legend / Sthala Purana
Sri Ananta Padmanabha swamy temple, as per belief is located at a place that is considered as one of the seven Parasurama Kshetras. And references of this temple are there in texts like the Skanda Purana and Padma Purana. The temple stands close to the holy tank 'Padma Theertham', which means lotus spring.
The history of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple dates back to 8th century. Marthanda Varma, the noted among Travancore kings did a major renovation to the temple and it resulted in the present day structure of the Sri Anantha Padmanabhaswamy temple.
In 1750, Marthanda Varma dedicated the kingdom of Travancore to Lord Padmanabha. Marthanda Varma vowed that the royal family will rule the state on behalf of Lord and he and his descendants would serve the kingdom as Padmanabha Daasa or the Servant of Lord Padmanabha. The shrine is currently run by a trust headed by the erstwhile royal family of Travancore.
The Giant Anantha Padmanabha Idol
The idol of the presiding deity of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is noted for its composition, which has 12008 salagramams, which were brought from Nepal, taken from the banks of the River Gandhaki. The garbhagriha or the sanctum sanctorum of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple is located on a stone slab and the main idol, which is about 18 ft long, can be viewed through three different doors. The head and chest are seen through the first door; while the hands can be sighted through the second door and the feet through the third door.
Temple Aesthetics & Architecture
The temple architecture stands out for its work in stone and bronze. The temple interiors are adorned by beautiful paintings and murals. Some of them are that of the life-size images of Lord Vishnu in the reclining posture, Narasimha Swamy, Lord Ganapati and Gaja Lakshmi. The temple has a dhwaja stamba (flag post) that is about 80 ft high and is covered with gold plated copper sheets.
The temple also has some interesting structural features in the form of Bali Peeda Mandapam and Mukha Mandapam. These are halls, decorated with beautiful sculptures of various Hindu deities. Another structure that captures attention here is the Navagraha Mandapa the ceiling of which displays the navagrahas (the nine planets).
Broad Corridor of Anantha Padmanabha Temple
A broad corridor which has 365 and one-quarter sculptured granite-stone pillars with beautiful carvings. There is a ground floor below under the main entrance in the eastern side, which is known as the nataka sala, where Kerala's classical art form - the Kathakali is performed during the annual ten-day festival at the temple, held during the Malayalam months of Meenam and Thulam.
Secret Vaults of Anatha Padmanabha Temple
The temple captured world headlines when vast wealth was discovered in its vaults. The wealth came to light as a result of on-going litigation. The Supreme Court of India ordered an inventory of the temple’s six sacred vaults. Four of the vaults, which are opened regularly, but the remaining two, denoted A and B said to be unopened for centuries. Vault A was opened in 2011, found abundent gold and dimond jewellery and arifacts. Vault B is still unopened.
Thiruvananthapuram Temple Images
A pleasant view of Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple