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Sri Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Temple Name: Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Kshetram.
Renovated In: 1733 AD.
Alias Name: Ananta Puri.
God Name: Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy.
Goddess Name: Sri Hari Lakshmi Thayar.
Dedicated To: Lord Vishnu.
Pushkarni: Matsya Theertham alias Padmatheertham.
Vimanam: Hemakoota Vimanam.
Renovated By: Raja Marthanda Varma.
Location: Trivandrum (Kerala).
State: Kerala.
Country: India.

*Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple. Inside the temple dress regulations are strictly enforced.

The Temple Open:
(04.15-05.15hrs, 06.45-07.30hrs, 08.30-10.30hrs, 11.30-11.45hrs, 17.15-19.30hrs).
Dress Code:
Men – Dhoti.
Women – Saree and Blouse.

Temple Location:
It is found 3/4 miles away from the Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station. (Inside the East Fort).

About The 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 Shaligram stones brought from Nepal and it is covered with gold and precious stones. This holy shrine attracts thousands of Hindu devotees. There are innumerable pillars, intricate carvings and Mural paintings. Outside the temple courtyard, there is a medley of shops that sell souvenirs, handicrafts, woodcarvings and handiwork of sandal. One can witness the craftsman do their work right from carving the wood to polishing. In the October/November months of every year, there is held the Navaratri Festival of musical concerts at the Navaratri Mandapam, adjacent to the main building of the temple.

The temple has an imposing seven tier gopuram covered with beautiful stone carvings. The temple has a broad corridor with 324 sculptured pillars and an 80 feet high golden flag staff. The walls of the temple are covered with interesting mural paintings depicting mythical stories. The Kulasekhara Mandapam, 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 kshetram 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.

Padmanabha Swamy Temple stands at a place considered as one of the seven Parashurama Kshetra, 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 Divakaruni and Vilwamangalam Swami. Another story tells of a 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 Divakaruni, 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 puja. 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, mischievous 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.

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