Padmanabhaswamy temple is located in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India. It is the richest Hindu temple in the world. In fact, in terms of precious metals and precious stones, it is by far the wealthiest institution and place of worship of any kind in the recorded history of the world.
The sage Vilvamangalathu Swamiyar, who resided near Ananthapuram Temple in Kasargod District, prayed to Lord Vishnu for his darshan or "auspicious sight". The Lord is believed to have come in the guise of a little boy who was mischievous. The boy defiled the Idol which was kept for Puja. The sage became enraged at this and chased away the boy, who disappeared. After a long search, when he was walking on the banks of Arabian Sea, he heard a pulaya lady threatening her child that she would throw him in Ananthankadu. The moment the Swami heard the word Ananthankadu he was delighted. He proceeded to Ananthankadu based on the directions of the lady of whom he enquired. The Sage reached Ananthankadu searching for the boy. There he saw the boy merging into an Iluppa tree (Indian Butter Tree). The tree fell down and became Anantha Sayana Moorti (Vishnu reclining on the celestial snake Anantha). But the edifice that the Lord assumed was of an extraordinarily large size, with His head at Thiruvallom, navel at Thiruvanananthapuram, and lotus-feet at Thrippadapuram (Thrippappur), making him some eight miles in length. The Sage requested the Lord to shrink to a smaller proportion that would be thrice the length of his staff. Immediately the Lord shrank to the form of the Idol that is seen at present in the Temple. But even then many Iluppa trees obstructed a complete vision of the Lord. The Sage saw the Lord in three parts – thirumukham, thiruvudal and thrippadam. Swami prayed to Padmanabha to be forgiven. The Swami offered Rice Kanji and Uppumanga (salted mango pieces) in a coconut shell to the Perumal which he obtained from the pulaya woman. The spot where the Sage had darsan of the Lord belonged to Koopakkara Potti and Karuva Potti. With the assistance of the reigning King and some Brahmin households a Temple was constructed. Koopakkara Potti was made the Tantri of the Temple. The Ananthankadu Nagaraja Temple still exists to the north west of the Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The Samadhi (final resting place) of the Swamiyar exists to the west of the Padmanabha Temple. A Krishna Temple was built over the Samadhi. This Temple, known as Vilvamangalam Sri Krishna Swami Temple, belongs to Thrissur Naduvil Madhom.
The marvelous idol of Sree Padmanabhaswamy is seen reclined on the mighty five hooded serpent Anantha. The supreme God is in conscious cosmic slumber with the head positioned to the south and the feet to the north. Anantha (or the endless) spreads its hoods above the head of the Idol. The three coils represent the three characteristics of mankind Sattva, Rajas and Tamas and its five hoods indicate the Panchendriyas(five senses) or the five elements(Panchabhootas). From the navel of the Lord emerges a lotus on which Lord Brahma, the Creator, is seated. Just below the stretched right arm of the Lord is the Shiva Linga of the Destroyer. Brahma, Vishnu(Padmanabha) and Shiva represent the ‘Srushti, Stithi and Samharam’.
The residing potency was drawn from the original Idol which was made of Iluppa wood and infused into the present Idol by certain complicated religious ritualistic processes. The Idol is made up of a highly complex amalgam termed Katusarkarayogam and contains within it 12008 Salagramas collected from the bed of the River Gandaki in Nepal. It is believed that Salagramas represent Lord Vishnu. Twelve Salagramas when worshipped together gain the potency of a Mahakshetram(Great Temple). Thus the mighty Ananthasayana Moorthy here gains the greatness and sanctity of a thousand Mahakshetrams.
The sanctum sanctorum has three entrances representing the three stages of times. It is only through those doors that we can observe the Deity.
This idol in sitting posture, facing the South, is given great prominence as Vishwaksenan is Mahavishnu’s Nirmalya moorthy.
Sree Ramaswamy with His consort Seetha and brother Lekshmanan
We can see two sets of idols of Sree Ramaswamy with Seetha and Lekshmanan. Of these, one set of idols are in the regal style while the other represent the Lord’s tenure at Dandakaranyam(Forest). The image of Sree Hanuman is there as an orderly to Lord Rama. Idols of an eight armed Ganapathy with a Devi seated on His lap and a small Kaliyamardana Krishna are also present.
Sree Yoga Narasimha Moorthi
The shrine for Sree Narasimha Swamy is located to the South of the main sanctum. Sree Narasimha Moorthy is the fourth incarnation of Lord Maha Vishnu and assumes the form of Man and Lion. The image is in the ‘Ugra roopam’, hence powerful. To pacify Him, Ramayana is being recited throughout the time when the Temple doors are open. This idol, made of Panchaloham, faces the East. This is the second major deity of this Temple.
Events & Festivals:
· The Alpashy Festival which is in October/November
· The Panguni Festival which is in Tamil month Panguni, March/April.
· The Navaratri Festival
· The Laksha Deepam Festival. This festival is unique and commences once in 6 years.
03.30 am to 04.45 am (Nirmalya Darshanam)
06.30 am to 07.00 am
08.30 am to 10.00 am
10.30 am to 11.10 am
11.45 am to 12.00 Noon
05.00 pm to 06.15 pm
06.45 pm to 07.20 pm
The above-indicated time schedule is subject to changes during festivals and other special occasions. During the festival occasions the darshan time is reduced in order to performing the special poojas
City : Thiruvananthapuram
Dist. : Thiruvananthapuram
State : Kerala
Country : India
PIN : 695 023
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