The Padmanbhaswamy Temple has recently become the media’s favorite with news of hidden treasure that was recovered from its basement. The new-found riches are not its only claim to fame. The temple is one of the oldest in Thiruvanthapuram, the capital of Kerala, and has been drawing a large number of visitors with its beautiful granite architecture and enthralling mythological history.
Inside the temple, is the idol of Lord Vishnu(one of the most revered Hindu deities), lies reclined on a seven headed-serpent-an awe-inspiring sight.
Both the Dravidian and Kerala architectural styles have been finely integrated into this huge temple. In fact, the sanctum sanctorum, the Dhwaja Sthambam (flag post), and the Chuttambalam (the temple walls which we circumambulate) are made in the Kerala style. The walls of the sanctum of Sree Krishna shrine have inscriptions in the Tamil script. The stucco-style architecture in the Gopuram (a large pyramidal tower that over the temple entrance gate) reminds one of the Vijaynagar style, while traces of architecture from the Madurai Nayak dynasty (a dynasty that ruled the state long ago). The sprawling temple complex, built on a seven-acre plot, does justice to the fusion of so many architectural styles. Fort walls encircle the temple complex.
The Vishnu Idol and other idols in the temple: There are ten deities in the temple, the most important of them being the idol of Sree Padmanabhaswamy. Lord Padmanabhaswamy is seen reclining on Sheshanag, while Lord Brahma (the creator) emerges from his navel on the stem of a lotus, and the Shiva Ling (representing Shiva, the destroyer) is below the right arm of Vishnu.
The idol is composed of 12008 ‘salagrams’ brought all the way from the banks of the river Gandhaki, on the backs of elephants. The ‘salagram’ is a blackish Ammonoid fossil found in the banks of the Gandhaki that is considered an iconic representation of the Lord Vishnu himself.
Padmanabhaswamy Temple History
The exact date when the temple was built is not known. However, the temple was built before 8th century AD. Nammalvar, an Alvar (a Tamil saint) living in the 8th century has created four verses praising the temple that can be found in an extant religious text. Sacrosanct religious texts of the Hindu called the ‘Puranas’ also have allusions to this temple.
Padmanabhaswamy Temple Location
The temple is located inside East Fort in Thiruvanthapuram, the capital of Kerala.
Address: W Nada, East Fort, Kerala 695023
Phone: 0471-246 4606
Attractions near the Padmanabhaswamy Temple: Poovar Island, Pazhavangadi Ganapathy Temple, Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, Shri Chitra Art Gallery, Padmanabhapuram Palace, Vizhinjam Lighthouse, Thiruvanthapuram Zoo, Aazhimala Siva Temple, Puthenmalika Palace, Kovalam Beach, Agastya Mala, Napier Museum, Sree Parasurama Temple, Chowara Beach.
Padmanabhaswamy Temple Map
How to Reach
Reach By Air:
The closest international airport is the Trivandrum International Airport. From there, it is a ten-minute drive via the NH 47 Bypass Road to the Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
Reach By Train:
The closest railway station is the Thiruvanthapuram Central Railway Station. From there, via the NH47, it is 1.11 miles to the temple. A cab will take around 23 minutes to cover the distance.
Padmanabhaswamy Temple Timings
Timings: There are time slots for ‘Darshan’, i.e., seeing the deity and offering prayers.
Timings on regular days are as follows:
Morning Darshan Timings:
- 3:30 a.m. to 04:45 a.m.
- 6:30 a.m. to 07:00 a.m.
- 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
- 10:30 a.m. to 11:10 a.m.
- 11:45 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Evening Darshan Timings:
- 5:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.
- 6:45 p.m. to 07:20 p.m.
Padmanabhaswamy Temple Tickets
Prayers can be offered at the temple. The Hindu form of worship (called Pooja) generally involves offerings of fruits, flowers, incense sticks and money. The priest undertakes to perform the worship in the name of the person offering the worship and even his father and forefathers. At most popular Hindu temples, there are unbelievable exorbitant charges for such Poojas. The famous Padmanabhaswamy Temple is no exception. Rates for Poojas start from INR 2000 and go up to INR 10,000.
Facts about Padmanabhaswamy Temple
Tips for someone visiting the temple:
- To enter, one needs to wrap a traditional ‘mundu’ around the waist in lieu of trousers. Women, can however, wrap the ‘mundu’ over their trousers or skirts.
- Deposit cell-phones for safe-keeping at the designated counter. They are not allowed inside the temple.
- To catch a glimpse of the royal family, arrive between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. in the morning. Visitors will not be allowed into the inner sanctorum at that time, though.
- There are so many regulations that one may lose track of what to do and what not to do. So, whenever a doubt arises, get in touch with the palace guards. They can be identified by the saffron piece of cloth over their ‘mundu’, and their staff.
- Touts at temple gates, may falsely proclaim that buying offerings at the gate is mandatory. It is not. Steer clear of these people.
- Whenever buying tickets for anything, buy them from people at counters, and always get a receipt to be doubly sure.
- The temple is also known as Sree Ananda Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
- Thiruvanthapuram derives its name from the temple, since Thiruvanthapuram literally means, ‘The land of Sree Anantha Padmanabhaswamy’.
- Non-Hindus are not allowed into the precincts of the temple.
- Treasure of the temple: The temple garnered headlines in 2011 when a vast amount of wealth-gold coins, gold chains, antique idols-amounting to billions of dollars were discovered from one of its six vaults. Another vault lies locked and there is much speculation about what riches the vault holds.
- As of date, the Padmanabhaswamy Temple is the world’s richest temple.
Image credit : Ashcoounter
MS20151116Published On: Thursday, February 26th, 2015