Padmanabhaswamy Temple: World’s Richest Hindu Temple - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Monday, June 17, 2024

Padmanabhaswamy Temple: World’s Richest Hindu Temple

The stunning Padmanabha Swamy Temple and the theppa kulam (kalyani)

Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, is named after this temple. The name, which literally means, ‘The Land of Lord Anantha’, is named after the main lord of this temple, who is an avatar of Lord Vishnu. I am talking about Sree Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple, the world’s richest Hindu temple and an iconic temple of Kerala. Photography is not permitted inside this temple and one has to adhere to strict dress code to enter this temple. As I cannot share photos from inside of this temple, I would like to share with you some unique highlights of Trivandrum’s Anantha padmanabhaswamy temple. I hope that these highlights pique your interest and urge you to visit this temple on your next trip to Kerala and/or Kanyakumari.

Here you go:

1) The Anantha Padmanabhaswamy temple is one of the 108 sacred Vishnu temples or Divya Desams in India. Divya Desams are the holiest abodes of Lord Vishnu that are mentioned in the works of the Tamil Azhvars (saints).

2) The Sree Anantha Padmanabhaswamy temple is located at a place that is considered as one of the seven Parasruma kshetras. There are references to the temple in text like the Puranas (Skanda purana and Padma purana).

3) The idol of the presiding deity of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple is noted for its composition, which as 12008 salagramams, which were brought from Nepal, taken from the banks of the river Gandhaki. Salagramams represent Lord Maha Vishnu and hence this temple gains the greatness and sanctity of a thousand great temples.

4) The padmanabhaswamy temple architecture is a beautiful mix of Kerala and Dravidian style of temple architecture and the temple features a 100 foot tall gopuram (ornate entrance gate).

Following appropriate dress code while entering the famous Padmanabha Swamy Temple of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

5) Legend has it that the temple was established about 5000 years ago. This is apparently mentioned in some palm leaf records.

6) Although the exact date of the temple construction isn’t known, the earliest mention of the temple dates to the 8th century. Later, during the 15th century, the roof of the sanctum sanctorum was repaired. The Ottakal mandapam in the premises was built around the same time.

7) Inside the sanctum sanctorum, Sri Padmanabha reclines on Adi Shesha, whose hoods form an umbrella over his head. The sanctum has three doors from which you can look at the head, stomach and feet area respectively of the reclining 18 foot idol of Lord Padmanabha.

8) There is a lot of wealth discovered and many mysteries lying within the vaults of the Padmanabhaswamy temple.

The large gopuram of Padmanabha Swamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram
9) The temple is regarded as a maha-kshetram (great temple) because of its architectural magnificence, historical importance, spiritual significance and several other reasons.

10) 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 is the Navagraha Mandapam, the ceiling of which displays the navagrahas (the nine planets).

11) The Ottakal mandapam (single stone platform) in the Padmanabhaswamy temple is a striking feature. The mandapam is in front of the sanctum sanctorum and is built with a single slab of granite which is two and a half feet thick and measure twenty square feet in area. The abhishekams to lord Padmanabhaswamy are performed here. Its granite pillars are covered with gold.

12) The temple has nine entrances, indicating the nine orifices of the human body.

Colurful statues of gods on sale in front of Padmanabha Swamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram
13) The temple has a large number of sacred water resources situated even in places far away from the temple. Of these, the main one Padmatheertham is located on the eastern side of the temple. Padmatheertham is one of the oldest water bodies in the city of Thiruvananthapuram.

14) Large number of bells adorn the temple. In most cases, the tip of the bell has a metal banyan leaf attached to its tongue.

15) The outer walls of the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Padmanabha and Sree Krishna are adorned with murals. Of these, the Ananthasayanam on the back side of the sanctum is termed as the largest one among the temple murals of Kerala and was painted by a Brahmin artist by name Chalayil Kalahasti. It is of 18 feet long.

One of Kerala's largest temples

This temple is definitely special and it will certainly require 2 to 4 hours of your time, depending on when you visit. If you opt for the 500 rupee special darshanam, you might be able to cut a few queues and reach the sanctum sanctorum much faster. Do remember to wear a saree or a gown if you are female and a white mundu/dhoti if you are male. Men have to enter the temple bare chested and can cover themselves using their angavastram. I hope you visit this gorgeous temple on your next trip to Kerala.

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