Sree Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala is a prestigious Hindu temple. It is dedicated to Lord Anantha, an avatar of Lord Vishnu. Thiruvananthapuram literally means “The land of Lord Anantha”. Padmanabhaswamy Temple architecture is an amalgam of Kerala style and Dravidian style, and the temple features a 100-foot tall gopuram (ornate entrance gate). Inside, in the main shrine, an 18-foot idol of the principal deity lies on Adi Shesha, in the Ananthasayanam posture.
Padmanabhaswamy Temple is among the 108 holy temples of Lord Vishnu, and it is one of the wealthiest temples in the world.
Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram is one of the famous temples of India. This temple is dedicated to the Supreme God of Protection, Vishnu, and lies in the capital city of the South Indian state of Kerala. Here Sri Padmanabha, the principal deity, and an aspect of Vishnu is in the reclining posture and is lying on the great serpent Adisesha or Anantha. It is this serpent couch Anantha that gives the name to the city as ‘Thiru Anantha Puram,’ ‘the town of Anantha,’ where God himself is in Anantha Sayanam, the eternal yogic sleep on snake Anantha. Apart from its antiquity, the Padmanabhaswamy Temple remains one of the wealthiest temples of our land.
Legend about Padmanabhaswamy Temple
The date of the temple’s foundation is unknown. But as per popular beliefs, it was established about 5000 years ago. The palm leaf records at the temple mention that sage Divakara Muni Vilwamangalam founded it. He performed rituals at Padmanabhaswamy Temple Kasaragod, also known as Ananthapura Lake Temple. And that temple is said to be the original seat (moolasthanam) of Anantha Padmanabhaswamy.
As per the legends, Lord Vishnu appeared before sage Vilwamangalam as an orphan kid. The sage felt pity and allowed him to stay at the temple. He took his help in the daily activities of the temple. One day, Vilwamangalam acted harshly on the kid, who then, ran away towards the forest.
But, Vilwamangalam soon realized that the boy was Lord Vishnu himself. So, he went to find him. He followed him inside a cave, which led to present-day Thiruvananthapuram. The boy then disappeared into a mahua tree. The tree fell and took the shape of Lord Vishnu lying on the thousand hooded serpent – Adi Shesha.
The size of Lord Vishnu in this Ananthasayanam posture extended up to 8 miles, and sage Vilwamangalam requested him to condense to a smaller size. Lord shrank, but still, the sage couldn’t see him completely. Trees obstructed his view, and he could see Lord Anantha in three parts – the face, the stomach area and the feet.
The doors of Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram) show the large idol in the same way as the sage saw the lord.
This temple has been identified as one amongst the other 108 Vishnu Temples or ‘Divya Desams’ in India. These Divya Desams are considered to be the most sacred and holy places where Lord Vishnu resides. They have also been mentioned in the works of the Tamilian Saints also known as Azhvars. In fact, the name of the capital city of Kerala that is Thiruvananthapuram too has been derived from the supreme deity of Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple also known as Anantha who is the one reclining on Anathana serpent. Therefore, Thiruvananthapuram means the land of Sri Anantha Padmanabhaswamy.
Ever since the formation of two the colonies of Gandhinagar and Kasturibanagar, many residents therein expressed a keen desire to have a place of worship near at hand. At the above meeting the residents met informally expressed the view that a temple in a centre place of Adyar to be brought forth with the cooperation of all concerned.
On 12th December, 1956 a society by name Adyar Hindu Religious Society was formed at the residence of Sri. A. R. Narayana Rao, #2, 2nd Crescent Park road, Gandhinagar, Adyar.
A committee led by Sri. A.R. Narayana Rao approached His Highness Maharaja of Travancore, Sri Padmanabha Daasa Chithirai Thirunaal at the palace in Adyar and requested him to allot a place in his vast compound near the bus stand for constructing the temple. His highness promptly encouraged the idea that the temple and suggested that it be situated in an independent premises outside the palace and that he would himself provide necessary funds to purchase a site. Accordingly the above society received a cheque for Rs. 7500 from His Highness to enable the committee to obtain a suitable site and establish a temple dedicated to SRI ANANTHA PADMANABHA SWAMY.
His Highness Maharaja of Travancore agreed very kindly to donate the image or Vigraha of SRI ANANTHAPADMANABHA SWAMY as it existed as the replica of SRI ANANTHA PADMANABHA SWAMY of Trivandrum. His Holiness Shankaracharya of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam visited the site, blessed the venture and consecrated the spot. It was also his desire that there may be only one temple that the main shrine to be dedicated to SRI ANANTHAPADMANABHA SWAMY as portrayed exactly in Trivandrum.
Padmanabhaswamy Temple Timings
03.30 am to 04.45 am (Nirmalya Darshanam)
06.30 am to 07.00 am
08.30 am to 10.00 am
10.30 am to 11.10 am
11.45 am to 12.00 Noon
05.00 pm to 06.15 pm
06.45 pm to 07.20 pm
Padmanabhaswamy Temple – Cloak Room & Dress Code
Men: Mundu / Dhoti. Not to wear shirts or upper cloth
Women: Saree/ Mundum Neriyathum (set-mundu)/ skirt and blouse/ Half Saree
Belongings can be safely deposited at East Nada Cloak Room.
Counter Timings: 3:00 am – 1:00 pm and 3:30 pm – 9:00 pm
The above-indicated time schedule is subject to changes during festivals and other special occasions. During the festival occasions the darshan time is reduced in order to performing the special poojas.