Padmanabhaswamy temple

Infobox Mandir


creator =
proper_name = Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple
date_built =
primary_deity = Padmanabhaswamy Vishnu
architecture = Kovil
location = Thiruvananthapuram

Padmanabhaswamy temple (aka Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple), (Malayalam: ശ്രീ പദ്മനാഭ സ്വാമി ക്ഷേത്രം) is a famous Hindu temple of Lord Vishnu, located inside the Fort in city of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India. The temple is one of the 108 divya desam,Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple — Aswathi Thirunal Gouri Lakshmi Bayi, ISBN 1-127-36587-8] the holiest abodes of Lord Vishnu. The main deity, Padmanabhaswamy, is a form of Vishnu in Anananthasayanam posture (in eternal sleep of "yognidra"). [http://temples.newkerala.com/Temples-of-India/Temples-of--Kerala-Sri-Padmanabhaswamy-Temple.html Temples of Kerala - Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple - Temples of India @ New Kerala .Com ] ] This is an ancient temple and the city of Thiruvananthapuram derives its name from the name of the presiding deity enshrined in the temple.

History

In olden days Sree Padmanabha Kshetram and its properties were controlled by powerful lords known as Ettuveetil Pillamar under the guidance of Ettara Yogam. Later, Marthanda Varma defeated the Pillamar and his cousins "Kunju thampis" and took over power.

The last major renovation of the temple was done by King Marthanda Varma, Maharaja of the erstwhile princely state of Travancore. He dedicated his kingdom to the deity, and pledged that he and his descendants would serve the kingdom as "Padmanabha Dasa", meaning "servants of the Lord Padmanabha". With this, Sri Padmanabha became the nominal head of the state of Travancore, assuming the title Perumal, the Emperor. The British Government saluted the Lord with a 21-gun salute, a military tradition of colonial days, which was continued by the Indian Army until the abolition of the privy purses by Government of India with Indira Gandhi as the Prime Minister.

The royal insignia of the Lord, The " Valampuri Shankhu " or dextral conch-shell, served as the State emblem of Travancore and even continued so for some time after the re-organisation of the States. Sri Padmanabha is still regarded as regional deity of Travancore Fact|date=February 2007. The two annual festivals of the Temple culminate in a grand procession, in which the three deities (Sree Padmanabha, Narasimha Swamy and Krishna) carried on flower-decked and aesthetically decorated Garuda Vahanas to the Shankhumukhom beach, for 'aaraattu' (sacramental ablution). The 'aarattu' days are declared as local public holidays in Thiruvanathapuram.

The temple

Gopuram

The temple has a 100 foot [ [http://www.naturemagics.com/kerala-art-tour/padmanabhaswamy-temple-kerala.shtm Padmanabhaswamy Temple Thiruvananthapuram Kerala ] ] , seven-tier gopuram. The temple stands by the side of a tank, named "Padma Theertham" (meaning the lotus spring). The temple has a corridor with 365 and one-quarter sculptured granite-stone pillars with elaborate carvings. This corridor extends from the eastern side into the sanctum sanctorum. An eighty-foot flag-staff stands in front of the main entry from the 'prakaram' (corridor). The ground floor under the gopuram (main entrance in the eastern side) is known as the 'Nataka Sala' where the famous temple art, Kathakali was staged in the night during the ten-day "uthsavam" (festival) conducted twice a year, during the Malayalam months of Meenam and Thulam.

Garbhagriha

In the Garbhagriha, an idol of Vishnu is depicted in a reclining position over the the serpent "Anantha " or "Adi Sesha". The serpent has his face pointed upwards, as if enjoying the smell emanating from the lotus held in his left hand. His right hand hangs over Shiva. Sridevi and Bhudevi, two consorts of Vishnu stand by his side and the Brahma is seen on a lotus, which emanates from the navel of Vishnu. The idol is made up of 10008 Saligram that compose the reclining Vishnu. These Saligram are from the banks of the river Gandaki in Nepal, brought with much ceremony on elephants. On top of the Saligram, "Katusarkara yogam", a special ayurvedic mix, was used to make a plaster.

In order to perform darshan and puja, one has to climb on a stone slab. Different parts of Vishnu’s idol - the face, the navel and the feet - are visible from three different doors. Only the King of Travancore may perform Namaskaram, or bow prostrate on this stone slab. This slab is made of a single stone, and since the idol of the Lord is also on this slab, anybody who bows prostrate, or any material object that is kept on the slab, henceforth belongs to the Lord. Here, the King is called a "Padmanabha Dasa", or a "servant" of Vishnu. Adherents believe that it is actually Vishnu who rules the state of Tranvacore.

In the 108 Divya deshams, or holiest shrines of Lord Vishnu, the idols of the Lord are in one of the three different postures. Either reclining, sitting, or standing. A unique feature of the Padmanabha Swamy temple is that it has idols in all these three postures. The main idol inside the sanctum sanctorum and viewed from three doors is in the reclining posture, the idol viewed through the central door in the standing posture, and the "Utsava Murthi", the idol taken out for the festival processions is in the sitting posture.

There are other important shrines inside the temple for Hindu dieties Narasimha, Krishna, Ayyappa, Ganesha and Hanuman. Many other small shrines like Kshetrapalan (who guards the temple), Vishwaksena and Garuda are also present.

Legend

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, mischevious 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 (lying posture)--but 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.Fact|date=September 2008

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.Fact|date=September 2008

Mythology

Padmanabhaswamy Temple stands at a place considered as one of the seven Parasurama Kshetras; 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 Divakarmuni and Vilvamangalam Swami. Another story tells of an 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 Divakaramuni, 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 pooja. In memory of this legend, naivedyam or offering prepared from rice is offered to the deity here in a coconut shell. Link [http://www.makemyholidays.com/pilgrimage_tour_kerala.html]

ri PadmanabhaSwamy Mahatyam

The idol is made up of 10008 salagramams that compose the reclining lord. They are special because they are from Nepal, from the banks of river Gandhaki and they were brought to the temple with all pomp and gaiety on elephant top. On top of them "katusarkara yogam",navaratnams, a special ayurvedic mix, was used to give a plaster. The Lord has personally come in disguise and had saved many times the Travancore Kingdom from the clutches of enemies. Here, we could see all the Trinity inside the sanctum.

Prasadam

Rice offered to the deity in coconut shell. Paal Payasam (Milk Kher) is very famous. During Thursday, Panakam is offered to Lord Narasimha. Unni Appam, Aval with sugar is also offered to Lord.Fact|date=September 2008

Darshan, Sevas and Festivals

There are many festivals related to this temple. The major festivals are bi-annual. The "Alpashy" festival which is in October/November and the "Painkuni" festival which is in March/April, lasts for 10 days each. These festivals culminate with the "Aarat" (holy bath) procession to the Shankumugham Beach. The word "Aarat" refers to the purificatory immersion of the deities of the temple in sea. This event takes place in the evening. The King of Travancore escorts the "Aarat" procession by foot. The idols of Sri Padmanabhaswamy, Krishna and Narasimha are given a ritual bathe in the sea, after the prescribed poojas. After this ceremony, the idols are taken back to the temple as a procession in the light of traditional torches, marking the conclusion of the festival.

A major annual festival related to Padmanabha temple is the "Navaratri" festival. The idols of Saraswathi, Durga, and Murukan are brought to the "kuthira malika" palace in front of Padmanabha temple as a procession. This festival lasts for 9 days. The famous Swathi music festival is held every year during this festival.

The biggest festival in this temple is "laksha deepam", which means hundred thousand (or one lakh) lamps. This festival is unique and commences once in 6 years. Prior to this festival, chanting of prayers and recitation of three vedas is done for 56 days. On the festival time, hundred thousand oil lamps are lit in and around the temple premises. The next "laksha deepam" is slated on January 2014

Darshan times are (before noon) 3.30-4.45, 6.30-7.00, 8.30-10.00, 10.30-11.00, 11.45-12.00; (after noon) 5.00-6.15 and 6.45-7.20. Only Hindus are permitted inside the temple. Devotees have to strictly follow the dress code. Men should remove clothes above waist and deposit in the locker room. No one is permitted wear dress that display both legs separately. This means no pants for men or churidhar for women. Dhotis can be borrowed at the locker room for Rs. 15. Dhotis can be worn over pants or churidhar. No cell phones or cameras are permitted inside the temple. Cell phones must be deposited in the locker room after taking it out of the bag for Rs. 15 a piece. Hand bags are permitted inside.

Compositions

Nammalvar had sung in praise of Lord PadmanabhaSwamy. Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma had sung many songs on Lord of Ananthapuri, the songs mostly has 'Padmanabha' as one of the words in it.

References

External links

* [http://www.attukaldevi.com/ Attukal Devi - The Mother of Love] Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is a popular temple that belongs to the prehistoric era. The temple is considered as one of the most famous ancient temples in the whole of south India. Temple is more popularly known as the Sabarimala of the Women. The reason is that most of the devotees are women in this temple. The Pongala Mahotsavam is the most important festival of temple. Pongala festival has found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest attendance of women. Visit: [http://www.attukaldevi.com/ www.attukaldevi.com]
* [http://www.divyadesamonline.com/hindu/temples/kerala/tiruvananthapuram-temple.asp Sri Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram]
* [http://www.sreepadmanabhaswamytemple.org]
* [http://www.swathithirunal.in/rel_padmanabha.htm Padmanabhaswamy temple]
* [http://www.swathithirunal.in/articles/aswathithirunal.htm Article on the temple]
*Prince Aswathi Thirunal Rama Varma


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