July 25, 2010

Thiruvananthapuram Padmanabhaswamy Temple - Kerala, India

Thiruvananthapuram aka Trivandrum is the capital city of Kerala - the God's own country - an Indian state. The tradition of Trivandrum can be dated back to 1000 BC. Trivandrum has a lot of important tourist places such as Padmanabhaswamy temple, Palace, Attukal Bhagavathi temple, and Government Museum. The most important site in Trivandrum is undoubtedly Padmanabhaswamy Temple.

Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple is also called as Sri Padmanabhaswamy Kshetram or Ananta Puri. The city Thiruvananthapuram got its name from the temple of Padmanabhaswamy. Padmanabhaswamy temple is one of the 108 Divya Desam temples (108 most important adobes of Lord Vishnu). Padmanabha is the name of Lord Vishnu who is in reclining posture. Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple has a massive 100 feet and seven storeyed temple tower.

Sri Padmanabhaswamy is the main deity of the temple. The idol of Padmanabhaswamy is in the reclining position over the serpend Ananta aka Adi Sesha. Padmanabha is found along with his two consorts Sri Devi aka Lakshmi and Bhoo Devi (earth). His son, Lord Brahma, is also seen in the main shrine itself. The idol is made up of 10,008 saligram stones. The idol of Padmanabha in this temple is perhaps the biggest Padmanabha aka Ranganatha idol. The shrine is carved out of single stone and hence called as 'Ottakaal Mandapam'. You need to watch the Lord through three doors. The door gives you the view of Lord's face and Lord Shiva Linga underneath Padmanabha's hand. The second door gives you the view of Lord's middle portion and Lord Brahma. The third door gives you the view of Lord's legs. Divakara Maharishi and Koundika Maharishi are also seen near the foot of Lord Padmanabha.

There are a lot of legends about the temple. As per the popular legend, Lord Krishna disguised as a mischievous boy to the sage Divakara and swallowed the Saligrama kept for pooja. The sage was chasing the boy, and boy hid behind a tree. Immediately, the tree fell down and a huge Ananta Padmanabha idol was found. Based on the request by the sage, the idol shrunk to one third of its size, and the Lord mentioned that he had to be seen through three doors.

This huge ancient temple of Padmanabhaswamy also houses the shrines for Narasimha, Rama along with Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman, the sage Vyasa, Virushasena, Kshetra Pala along with Ganesha, Ayyappa and Ganesha. The temple is huge and architecturally beautiful. The temple is rich in art and sculptures. The corridors (prakara) are very huge. There is a hall (mandapa) with full of beautiful sculptures such as Vishnu, Shiva, Yoga Vishnu, Vishnu carrying Lakshmi, Kali, Ganesha, Muruga, Narada, Nataraja, and Shiva in various postures. It is also allowed to climb up the tower, and visit all the seven floors. The first floor has idols of Padmanabhaswamy, Lakshmi, Bhooma Devi, Brahma, and ten avatars of Lord Vishnu.

Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple is one such site that you should never miss.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:

Site Name: Padmanabhaswamy Temple
Site Type: Temple
City Name: Trivandrum
1) One of the 108 Divya Desams
2) The biggest idol of Vishnu in the reclining posture
3) One of the most famous temples of Lord Vishnu in Kerala

Location: Kerala state, India
Nearest Railway Station: Trivandrum
Nearest Airport: Trivandrum
How to reach: Easily reachable by road or train
Hotel: A lot of luxury hotels and budget hotels are available in Trivandrum
Restaurants: There are a lot of good restaurants in Trivandrum

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