Kerala Divyadesam shrines dedicated to God Vishnu - 02

This one is the second post on " Divya Desam Shrines in the state of Kerala'' which has the largest number - 11 next to Tamil Nadu glorified by the Azhwar saints, true devotees of God Mahavishnu, one of the trinity Gods; the other being God Shiva and Brahma. The latter has a few shrines due to a curse cast by God Shiva.(refer:

A kerala Hindu temple, India.

State of Kerala, SW

Malai Nadu Divyadesam shrines in Kerala (part in TN)

Among the 13 Malai Nadu Divyadesam (two in TN),  the Emperuman  (god Vishnu) is found in Nindra thirukkolam in 10 divyadesams, in Kidantha kolam in 2 divyadesams and in Irundha kolam in one divya desam. In eight shrines the main idol of Sri Vishnu is facing east direction Sri Visnuh is giving darshan  through three doors (vaasals) at two shrines in Kerala - Thiruvananthapuram and Thiruvaattaaru. It is in this state the Pancha Pandavas of the Mahabharata had 5 temples established at different places in a quiet surrounding to honor Sri Krishna who helped them get back their kingdom. They built the temples in  Kerala  during their long pilgrimage to the southern region and found the serene  and congenial climate most suitable for relaxation and meditation.  

05. The Padmanabhaswamy temple, Kerala:

Padmanabhaswamy temple Thiruvanantha Puram, Kerala,

The Padmanabhaswamy temple in the capital city of  Thiruvananthapuram  Keralastate, is an old Hindu temple dedicated to a form of God Vishnu. The architecture is a blend of Chera and Dravida styles,  featuring high  boundary walls and 16th century (1556 ) entry tower (gopuram), which is a 100-foot , 7-tier structure built in the Pandyan style.

Padmanabha swamy temple, T.V.puram, Kerala.

Above image:  The Sri Kovil (sanctum) at Padmanabha swamy temple has three doors, quite different from other srikovils at countless temples. Through the left door you can see the God's sirasu -head and his hand above the Shivalinga.You can  see  other deities  as well. Through the mid door is visible the waist part and god Brahma emanating from the Naval - "Padmanabha". You can see  gold abhisheka moorthies of Lord Padmanabha, Sridevi and Bhudevi 9consorts) and silver utsava moorthi of Padmanabha .and through the 3rd door  you can see the  Lord's feet (holy patham), Bhudevi and Markandeya Muni(sage) in Katusarkara. This Anantha Sayanam nithra (mystic sleep) is unique to this temple.  ''Patha darshan'' is very imporant in Sri Vishnu temples, implying total surrender to  the lord........................... 

The main deity Padmnabha swamy is in Ananatha Sayan posture, a sort of eternal yogic sleep  on the coiled beds of serpent Adi Shesha with big 5-headed  hood facing inward above him. The Lord's right hand is placed over a Shiva lingam. Sridevi-Lakshmi, the Goddess of Prosperity and Bhudevi, the Goddess of Earth (two consorts of Vishnu) are by his side. Brahma (the creator) emerges on a lotus, which originates  from the navel of the Lord. The deity is made from 12,008 saligramams ( stones collected  from the banks of the Gandaki River in Nepal in the Himalayan region). To keep the deity clean and tidy, it is covered with a special paste  made of what is called  "Katusarkara yogam", a special ayurvedic mix. The daily worship is  done with flowers only and for  the abhishekam, Iyymon idol ( a mix of 5 metals) called Utchavar/abisekha moorthy  is used. In Tamil Nadu and elsewhere in S. India Utchavar idols are used for worship during festivities inside the temple premises. The deity enshrined in the Srikovil is the tutelary deity of the royal family of Travancore for centuries and the  Maharajah of Travancore, Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma, is the trustee of the temple. The platforms in front of the vimanam (where the deity rests) are both carved out of a single massive stone and hence called "Ottakkal-mandapam"(hall). Here, only the King of Travancore may perform sashtanga namaskaram, or prostrate in the "Ottakkal Mandapam" and others are not allowed. 

This is a Divya Desam shrine, one of 108 holy shrines of God Vishnu  in Vaishnavism, and is an important one among the 11 Divya Desam shrines in Kerala. This shrine is glorified by Tamil Vasishnva saints -Azhwars, in particular, Nammazhwar. The contribution made by him  to the Naalayera Divyaprabhandam ( 4000 devotional hymns  ) is vast. It is said that the temple at Annthapuram in Kasaragod is the original seat of Padmanabhaswamy ("Moolasthanam"). and in terms of style and design, it is vey much similat to  the Adikesava Perumal temple in Thiruvattar.

In Dwapara Yuga, God Parasurama  purified and venerated the idol of Sree Padmanabha Swamy.  He is said to have handed over the management of this temple - Kshethra karyam'  to seven Potti families.  Parasurama  also gave the Tantram of the Temple to Tharananallur Namboothiripad. to propitiate the god here.   

Kerala. Padmanabha swamy temple, TV.puram treasures Tourism newslive Com

In  April 2014, the accidental discovery of vast treasures of gold, diamonds, gemstones, etc., in the underground vaults took the entire world by surprise. Its conservative worth is about 25 billion US dollars preently  and if you add the antique and cultural  value on it,  it will  leap beyond 50 billion US dollars. One more  underground vault is not yet open on orders from the Supreme Court for certain reasons. This huge discovery consolidated the status of this temple as being the wealthiest temple in the world. The annual festival and Vikunthh Ekadasi festival  are held on a grand scale.


06. The Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple:

The Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple, Kerala.

The Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple, close to the village of Aranmula in Pathanamthitta District, Kerala, is a popular  temple where Sri Krishna, an avatar of Sri Vishnu is worshiped as   Parthasarathy, one who rode the chariot for the Pandava brother ''Arjuna'' in the Kurushetra war ( the purpose was to save Arjuna from the impending danger he might face fighting against Karnan, a great warrior  who was on the Kaurava side). This temple, believed to have been built by the Arujuna,  is a Divya Desam shrine  glorified by  the saints - Azhwars who lived in the the 6th–9th centuries AD.  Thirumangai Azhwar composed 9 pasurams  in praise of  Sri Vishnu  in this temple,  This temple can be accessed from the railway station  in Chengannur. It is one of the Hindu temples connected to the great epic this area. The others are:   Thrichittatt Maha Vishnu Temple built by Yudhishthira, Puliyur Mahavishnu Temple by Bheema, Thiruvanvandoor Mahavishnu Temple by Nakula and Thrikodithanam Mahavishnu Temple by  Sahadeva. They built  5 temples at five different locations in the midst of serene and picturesque surroundings.  This temple built in Kerala style architecture has wonderful paintings on the wall, dating back to  the early 18th century.   

Every year during   the Mandala puja at Sabarimala, the tradition has been that, the sacred jewels, called Thiruvabharanam of Ayyappan are taken  there in a religious procession  from Pandalam, and Aranmula Temple is one of the stops on the way. Besides, the Thanka Anki, golden attire of Ayyappa, donated by the  Maharajah of Travancore, is under the safe custody in this temple  and is taken to Sabarimala during the season -  in December. 

This  village comes alive during the popular  Onam festival. The north side entrance tower is accessed by a flight of 57 steps from the banks of  Pampa river. . Close to the temple is the venue of Snake boat races during the Onam festival.  The image of the main deity Sri Vishnu is in standing posture and is portrayed as being worshipped by Arjuna.  

In the  Malayalam month of Meenam  an important festival event takes place and  for the Arattu ritual the idol of Aranmula Parthasarathy is taken in a grand procession on the Garuda mount to the Pampa river bank. Here,  an image of the Bhagawati from the nearby Punnamthode temple is brought in procession for the  same ritual. Yet another famous festival is   Khanda-vana-dahanam (in the Malayalam month of Dhanus). An artificial forest - Khandavana is created  and a bonfire is lit  symbolizing the Mahabharata event.


07. Thrikodithanam Mahavishnu temple, Kerala

  Thrikodithanam Mahavishnu temple, Kerala   temple 

Thrikodithanam Mahavishnu temple associated with Sahadeva, (the youngest of the five  Pandava brothers  of the Mahabharata) is  in Thrikodithanam, Kottayam district.  Is also one among the 5 shrines built by the five brothers in Kerala. It is a Divya Desam shrine in this state. It is dedicated to Sri Vishnu. and is found mentioned in   the ‘Unnineeli Sandesam’written  in the year 537 BCE(?).. According to the inscriptions in the temple, the ruler of Venad Sree Vallabhankotta used to visit to participate in the temple event. Sahadevan, the last brother to establish the temple on Vishnu was quite depressed over his difficulties in getting a suitable place and idol. The legend has it God Vishnu appeared as  an idol of  Chathurbahu  from the fire (pyre)  set by Sahadeva to commit suicide. This idol is referred to as Arputha Narayanan, as the god appeared suddenly. The deity is in standing posture facing the east direction and his consort is Karpagavalli.

The artistic and architectural ability is highlighted by the  roof of the temple and some of the pillars made of rich  lavish wood with fine stucco carvings. These wooden carvings depict various episodes from  the  ancient epics of the  Ramayana and Mahabharata. As in many Kerala temples  the outer walls around the sanctum have a series of wooden frames housing an array of lamps, which are lit during festival days. the second floor has  what is called  Kottupura, the hall of drum beating during festivals.   A monthly Sravana Deepams (festival of light) is performed. with religious fervor.   It is a two story Kerala-style structure with the upper floor  covered by wooden trails  all around. The roof projects in two levels to protect the inner structure from heavy rains during monsoon.

The rectangular boundary wall is called Kshetra-Madilluka with gate ways (entry) on all four sides. As per temple norms, the metal plated flag-mast or Dwajasthambam and the Deepastamba, the light post, are set axial to the temple tower  and  the sanctum. Chuttuambalam is the outer pavilion located within the temple walls. 

A distinctive worship ritual of this temple is ''Kurakkuttu dance'', a  unique dance form in which women with  an umbrella in hand  perform dance  during worship, a tradition not followed in any other Hindu temples in the north and south India. Hence the Kerala temples and their   traditions stand apart  in this country.