Sree Padmanabha Swami Temple, Thiruvananthapuram

One of the most popular temples of Thiruvananthapuram, Sree Padmanabha Swami temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. He is known as Lord Padmanabha Swai here. The temple is placed inside the East fort, and the architecture is a blend of Dravidian and Kerala styles of architecture. Famed for wonderful mural paintings and stone carvings, the temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams of Lord Vishnu (Divya Desams are known to the holy abode of the Lord). Originally the temple was constructed in the 8th century but it was renovated by Marthanda Varman, the ruler of Travancore dynasty, in 1750.

Padmanabha temple is known to be a replica of the Adikesava Perumal temple of Kanyakumari and has Gopurams that belong to the 16th century. Only Hindus are permitted inside the temple, following strict dress code. While the women wear a skirt or a blouse or half sari/sari mundum neriyathum, the men wear a dhoti or a mundu without a shirt. The temple bustles with activity during its 10-day annual festival at the time of Meenam and Thulam, the Malayalam months.

It is said that the temple is positioned at a place known to be one of the seven Parasurama Kshetras. The temple also finds its reference in Skanda Puran and Padma Purana. It is placed quite close to Padma Theertham, a holy tank. The temple is handled by a trust run by the erstwhile royal family of Travancore.

The Idol

The main idol of the Lord is in the reclining form, restring on Anantha, the sacred hooded serpent. This 18 feet long idol is placed inside the sanctum sanctorum or the garbhagriha of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple and is placed on the stone slab. This idol is visible from thee different door- While the chest and head can be seen through the 1st door, the hands can be seen from the 2nd door, and from the 3rd door, the feet are visible.

Architecture

The temple architecture is known for being in bronze and stone. Murals and paintings make the interiors of the temple, even more beautiful. Some of the paintings have huge images of Lord Vishnu, Gaja Laxmi, Lord Ganpati and Narasimha Swamy (half-man, half-lion incarnation of Lord Vishnu). 80 feet in height, Dhwaja stambha or the flag post of the temple is covered with gold-plated copper sheets.

The other important features of the arhictecture of Padmanabha sway temple are its halls, Bali Peeda Mandapam and Mukha Mandapam. Splendid sculptures decorate the walls of these halls. Another attraction here is the Navagraha Mandapa whose ceiling has the Navagraha (the nine planets).

On the ground floor, just below the main entrance in the eastern side of the temple, there is an area called the nataka sala. This is the site of Kathakali performance at the time of the annual festival.

Pooja (Worship) timings

Morning:

3:30 am- 4:45 am (Nirmalya Darshanam); 6:30 am - 7:00 am; 8.30 am - 10:00 am; 10:30 am to 11:10 am and 11:45 am to 12:00 pm

Evening:

5:00 pm- 6:15 pm and 6:45 pm to 07:20 pm

How to Reach

Nearest railway station: Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station (1 km)

Nearest airport: Trivandrum International Airport (6 km away)

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