Beautiful Padmanaba Swami temple - 01

Padmanabha Swamy Temple,Thiruvananthapuram,

reclaining posture, 3

There is an old Tamil saying "kovil ellatha ooril kudierukka vaendam" meaning "don't live in a place that does not have a temple". For Hindus going to temple for prayer and blessings from the God is an important duty and it will discipline the mind and act positively because they trust god will take care of everything in their lives and all they have to do is act in earnest to achieve their goals or desires. That is the reason why the Hindu rulers of India, in particular south India, built lots of temples and gave
them grants for daily pooja rituals, temple festivals and annual maintenance. The state of Kerala is not an exception and there are numerous impressive temples across the state; each one is unique in its own way.

Sri Padmanabha swamy Temple of  Thiruvanantha Puram in Kerala is a popular Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is the richest Hindu temple in the world and in the recorded history of the world it is the wealthiest  place of worship by far and has  several billion dollars worth of gold jewelry, gold coins precious  stones,etc. Here the Lord is in the reclining Ananthasayanam  posture, lying comfortably on the coiled bed of five headed huge serpent Adisesha. Considered as one of the 108 divya desams (as cited in the early medieval Tamil literature canon of the Tamil Azhwar saints of  6th–9th centuries AD) - the holiest abodes of Vishnu, this wonderful temple attracts tourists from all over India and also from overseas. Unlike other Kerala temples  that are  built in Kerala style of architecture  with impressive slanting roof  and Koothambalam, here one can notice Dravidian style of temple architecture as you will find  in neighboring state of Tamil Nadu.  

The presiding deity of this temple is the ruler of the state, hence he is referred to as ''Perumal'' (ruler/king).  An interesting fact that may be worthy of mention  is the highest reference  given to the deity by the Thiruvanthapuram Maharajah as the lord happens to be the tutelary deity of the royal family of Travancore. In the colonial days under the British Raj, this temple deity was given  a special honor - 21 gun salute, a colonial tradition bestowed by the British on the rulers of princely states.

Legend has it once the lord in the guise of a naughty boy swallowed the Saligrama (a kind of stone revered by the Hindus) that was worshiped by sage Divakara. After some mischief,  Lord  revealed his form in  reclining Anantha Sayanam posture and  asked the sage to worship him in three forms - first as Shiva, second as Lord Brahma and the third as feet of Lord Vishnu - total surrender to him means ultimately one will get salvation - free from the cycle of birth and death.
In this temple  the lord's idol is viewed in all three postures through three different doors. - first  : one can see the  face of Lord Vishnu and Siva Linga underneath his hand ; second door: one can view Brahma seated on lotus and Utsava moorthi and idols of Maha Vishnu , Sridevi and Bhudevi; and third door: one can see the Lord's feet.

Idols in this temple are also seen in all three postures, reclining, sitting or standing. While the main idol inside the sanctum  sanctorum (Sri Kovil or Garbagraha) is viewed from three doors in a reclining posture, the idol viewed from the central door is in a standing posture and the Utsava Murthi is in a sitting posture.

Yet another awe inspiring  feature is the entire Sanctum is carved out of one big block of rock - Ottakkal Mandapam
. The huge stone idol in sanctum is made of 10008 Saligrams specially taken from the banks of the river Gandaki in the foot hills of  Nepal.They are plastered with a unique Ayurvedic mix called Katusarkara yogam

Padmanabha Swamy Temple.

Adjacent to the temple tank 'Padma Theertham' stands the entrance of the temple which has a 100 feet tall tower/ gopuram built in 16th century. It is an old temple,  dating back to pre - Christian era. A complete  renovation was done under the direction of Maharajah  Sri Anizham Tirunal Marthanda Varma in the 18 th century. At that time the ruler  pledged that he and his descendants would be vassals or agents of the deity who would serve the kingdom as Padmanabha Dasa (servants). Near the eastern entrance there is the Nataka Sala (dance hall) where famous Kathakali dances are staged in the nights especially  during  the  ten  day  uthsavam - festivals conducted twice a year. Dwajasthanbam -  80 feet tall  flag staff is at the main entrance to the corridor.

The Navaratri festival and  laksha deepam, which means lighting of one hundred thousand (or one lakh) lamps are important festivals associated with this temple.