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|July 5th, 2011, 03:04 PM||#1|
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Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram, the richest Temple/Religious Centre in the World.
Legend And History
The origin histories of the Temple of Sree Padmanabhaswamy, known to the most of the rest of India as “Ananthasayanam”, are lost in antiquity. It is not possible to determine with any exactitude, from any reliable historical documents or other sources that when and by whom the original idol of Sree Padmanabhaswamy was set up at this location. Some well known scholars, writers and historians, like the Late Dr. L.A.Ravi Varma of Travancore, have expressed the view that this Temple was established on the first day of Kali Yuga (which is over 5000 years ago). The story of the Temple are handed down through the centuries in the form of legends. One such legend which finds a place in the old palm leaf records of the Temple, as also in the famous grantha entitled “Ananthasayana Mahatmya”, mentions that it was set up by a Tulu Brahmin hermit named Divakaramuni on the 950th day of Kali Yuga.
The story as narrated in the Ananthasayana Mahatmya goes as follows.
Divakara muni wasa great Vishnu Bhaktha ans was at that time doing penance and in deep tapas in ‘Aatharta’ Desa. One day Maha Vishnu appeared before the sage in the form of a lively and beautiful 2-year old boy without revealing his real identity. The sanyasi wasvery much taken up with the charms of the child and because of the affection he involuntarily felt for him, he prevailed upon the god-child to stay with him. The child made one condition that the sanyasi should treat him with respect at all times and at any time he fails he fails to do so he (the child) would go away that very moment. This was accepted and so the child stays with him. The hermit gave him a great deal of loving care and tolerated the childish pranks of the little boy. One day, when the sanyasi was in deep meditation at his prayers, the chills took the ‘salagram’ which the sanyasi was using for worship and put it into his mouth and made such a nuisance of himself that Divakara Mini was greatly angered and could tolerate it no further. He thereupon chastised the child. In accordance with the earlier agreement, immediately the child ran away and disappeared from the spot. While going he said, “If you wish to see me again, you will find me again in Ananthankaadu”. It was only then that Divakara Muni realized who his erstwhile child guest had been. The hermit was stricken with inconsolable grief and for many days followed what, he believed was the route taken by the child foregoing food, rest and sleep in the process. Finally he reached a wooded area near the sea coast and then caught a glimpse of the Child disappearing into a huge ‘Ilappa’ tree standing nearby. Immediately that tree fell into the ground and it assumed that shape of recumbent Sree Maha Vishnu. That divine form had its head at ‘Thiruvallam’ (a place about 3 miles distant from the Fort, at where the Temple of Sree Padmanabhaswamy situates) and its feet at ‘Trippapur’ (5 miles away in the opposite direction). Overawed by the majesty and the size of the divine form, which thus manifested itself before him, the sanyasi prayed that the Lord condense himself in size so that it would become possible for him to contain the divine presentation within his limited field of vision. Thereupon the image of Bhagwan Vishnu shrank to a size, three times of the length of the sanyasy’s ‘Yoga dand’. Immensely gratified that his prayers had been granted, he made whatever offerings he could and conducted pooja to that wooden image. The lord havind been pleased ordained that from then onwards, poojas to Him at that place should be conducted by Tulu Brahmins from the same part of the country as Divakara Mini himself hailed. To this day half the number of ‘poojaris’ (priests) in this Temple continue to be drawn from the Tulu country.
Another generally accepted version about the origin of the Temple relates it to the famous sanyasi Vilvmangalathu Swamiyar, whose name is linked with the histories of several temples in Southern India. This swamiyar hailed from the Namboothiri Brahmin community and was a very dedicated Vishnu bhaktha. The legend that connects him with this Temple of Sree Padmanabhaswamy is in detail almost identical with the Divakara Muni tale related above. It is said that, when Sree Maha Vishnu presented himself in the “Ananthasayana” rupa (model) before the sage at Ananthankaadu, the latter had nothing worthwhile to offer him. From a mango tree standing nearby he plucked a few unripe fruits and put them into an empty coconut shell lying thereabout and in all humility offered it as ‘nivedyam’ to the Lord. Even today one of the pooja vessels in use in the temple for he offerings of nivedyams to the presiding deity consists of a gold encased half-coconut shell and one of the important items of nivedyam in vogue from time immemorial is unripe whole mangoes pickled in brine. It has also been the practice in the Temple during the past several centuries for the morning ‘pushpanjaly’ pooja is to be conducted by a Namboothiri Brahmin sanyasi (designated pushpanjaly Swamiyar) specially commissioned for this purpose.
These traditional customs coupled with the fact that the Pushpanjaly swamiyar holds a position of importance in the ‘Ettara Yogam’ (a committee which, at one time in the distant past, was the governing body of the Temple but has, over the years, become a ceremonial and advisory panel) lend substance and some measure of credence to the theory that this Temple was founded by Vilvamangalathu Swamiyar. On the other hand the claim of the Divakara Muni story can only be substantiated by the presence, among the accredited poojaris, of a large number of Tulu Brahmins.However, it is noteworthy that at no time did this community have a place in the ‘Ettara Yogam’. Besides being presented on the ‘Yogam’, the Namboothiri Brahmins also have a position of eminence in the rituals and ceremonies of the temple in that the Tantris(Main priests) have always been drawn from this community. It is also believed that the small Sree Krishna swamy temple, located near the
Western Swamiyar Madam (Official residence of one of the two pushpanjaly Swamiyars of the Temple) has been built over the Samadhi of Vilvamangalathu Swamiyar.
Some historians and researchists hold the view that the Thiruvambadi shrine of Sree Krishnaswamy, which is a separate temple located within the main temple walls, is older than the shrine of Sree Padmanabhaswamy. According to legend the shrines consecrated to Sree Narasimhaswamy and Sree Sastha, which are located inside the temple walls, were established at various times after the main shrine of Sree Padmanabhaswamy came into being. There is mention in the ‘Bhagavatha Purana’ (canto 10, chapter 79) that Sree Bala Rama visited “Spanandoorapuram” in the course of his pilgrimage and the belief is that this refers to the shrine of “Ananthasayanam” in “Thiru Ananthapuram”. Similarly in the ‘Brahmanda Purana’ also there is a reference to “Syanandoorapura”. All these lend considerable weight to the wide spread belief that this Temple is of great age and has been held in veneration over the centuries as an important shrine of Sree Maha Vishnu. The compositions of Nammalvar, the great Vaishnavite saint in praise of Sree Maha Vishnu, prove beyond doubt that this Temple existed in the fifth century of this era.Records indicate that from very early days the management of the Temple ws in the hands of a local committee called the ‘Ettara Yogam’ mentioned earlier. Old palm leaf records also show that the foundations for the first properly constructed Temple buildings were laid by the saint and ruler named Cheraman Perumal. He is also credited with having commissioned various persons to attend to the multifarious duties connected with the rituals, ceremonials and general administration of the Temple. Very many years later, about the year 1050A.D., the Temple was reconstructed and the management re-organized by the then ruler.
The next important recorded events relate to the period 1335 A.D. to 1384 A.D. when Travancore (as known then) was ruled by a powerful and wise king named Veera Marthanda Varma. He gradually established his authority completely over the management and administration of the Temple. There are records to indicate that in the year 1375 A.D. the Alpasi Utsavam (alpasi festival, one of the two important half yearly 10 days festivals which take place regularly even these days) was conducted in the Temple. Some of the important events relating to the Temple which took place after the demise of this Ruler until 1729 A.D. are given below.
It was during this Ruler’s time that most of what is seen today within the walls of the temple was constructed. It is on record that daily 4000 stone artisans, 6000 labourers and 100 elephants worked for a period of 6 months to finish the construction of the sreebalippura (corridor). This magnificent rectangular corridor built of stone surrounds the main shrines and is meant for providing protection from the weather for the deities when taken out in ritualistic processions. The ‘Gopuram’ for which foundations had been laid in 1566, was built in this period. Similarly the ‘flag-staff’ in front of the main shrine was also erected at this time. The special Teak log was brought from the forest 30 miles away by men and elephants without touching the ground, as laid down in the sastras. The Teak pole was then covered completely with gold sheets. The renovation of the Temple tank, the Padmatheertham, including the stone flagging of the steps and its completion in the form we see it today was also undertaken during this great ruler’s time.
The Ottakkal mandapam in the Sreepadmanabha swamy temple is a striking feature. The Mandapam is in front of the idol of Sreepadmanabhaswamy. This structure is built with one single slab of granite which is two and a half feet thick and twenty feet square. The abhishekams to Sreepadmanabhaswamy are performed in this mandapam. The pillars in this mandapam are covered with gold sheets.
This structure is in front of the Ottakkal Mandapam. This is the mandapam where the special poojas related with the temple festival and other special occasions are performed and the items for the poojas are get redied. Devotees can also use this mandapam for meditation and prayer.
It is a marvelous and fantastic architectural work which is only on stone. It is also known as Aayiramkal Mandapam and Sapthaswara Mandapam. It is noted with its pillars which produces musical sounds when tapped. Inside this there are 28 big pillars around the mandapam. Of these on the pillars of the corner sides of the mandapam we can 11 pillars around itself. These small pillars can produce the musical notes and some musical instruments’ sounds when tapped. On the other pillars we can see some statues. On the top side of the walls the Ramayanam story is depicted. Also we can see a bell and chain in the middle of the mandapam which is made on stone. Restricted entry is allowed.
The Golden flag-staff (Dwaja Stambham)
An eighty feet height flag-staff stands in front of the main temple. The special Teak log was brought from the forest 30 miles away by men and elephants without touching the ground, as laid down in the sastras. The Teak pole was then covered completely with gold sheets. On the top of the flag-staff there is a statue of Garuda.
The temple has a seven storeyed gopuram. It situates on the main east entrance of the temple facing the east. It is a fine example of South Indian architecture. It has about 35 meters height. Standing on the top we can see the places around it. On the top of the gopuram we can see 7 domes of gold which is lined and glitter brightly in day light. The 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu are displayed inside the first storey of the gopuram. Restricted entry is allowed.
The Sreebalippura (Corridor)
The temple has a sreebalippura. This magnificent rectangular corridor built of stone surrounds the main shrines and is meant for providing protection from the weather for the deities when taken out in ritualistic processions. It is a marvelous architecture on stones. It is on record that daily 4000 stone artisans, 6000 labourers and 100 elephants worked for a period of 6 months to finish the construction of the sreebalippura (corridor). Around the sreebaippura we can see 365 and a one quarter pillars with attractive carvings. Each pillars are made on a single stone.
The padmatheertham pond is located on the eastern side of the temple. This is the temple tank and is one of the oldest water bodies in the city of Thiruvananthapuram. Restricted entry is allowed for the devotees.
The Dravidian Style
Padmanabhaswamy temple is the only major specimen of the Dravidian style of architecture found in the State of Kerala.
Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple is renowned for its sculptural beauty. With the ancient work of art in stone and bronze, the mural paintings and wood carvings, this ancient temple is a fine specimen of the Dravidian style of architecture. Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple stands majestically beside the holy tank, named Padma Theertham (meaning the lotus spring). The tower at the entrance is a seven-storey and about 35 meter (100 foot) in height. Decked with beautiful stone carvings, this tower is constructed in South Indian architecture. There is an eighty-foot flag post (Dhwaja stambha) in front of the temple which is covered with gold plated copper sheets.
Sree Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple has some interesting features such as the Bali Peeda Mandapam and Mukha Mandapam. These halls are decorated with beautiful sculptures of various Hindu deities. Another notable part is the Navagraha Mandapa whose ceiling displays the Navagrahas.
Broad Corridor with 365 and 1/4 Sculptured Granite Stone Pillars
Extending from the eastern side into the sanctum sanctorum is a broad corridor which has 365 and one-quarter sculptured granite-stone pillars with beautiful carvings. The remarkable touch of the artisans is felt in a piece of carving which has the figure of an elephant on one side and that of a bull on the other. It is notable that the horns of the bull look like the tusks of the elephant when seen from the other side and the trunk of the elephant seems like the hump for the bull.
There is a ground floor under the gopuram (main entrance in the eastern side) which is known as the 'Nataka Sala'. Here the famous temple art of Kerala, the Kathakali, was staged in the night during the annual ten-day Padmanabhaswamy Temple Festival (Uthsavam), held during the Malayalam months of Meenam and Thulam.
Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple opens daily at 03:30 AM and closes at 07:20 PM. However, there are specific timings for darshan.
Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple Darshan Timings in Morning
03:30 AM to 04:45 AM
06:30 AM to 07:00 AM
8.30 AM to 10:00 AM
10:30 AM to 11:00 AM
11:45 AM to 12:00 PM
Evening Darshan Timings of Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple
05:00 PM to 06:15 PM
06:45 PM to 07:20 PM
Please note that the temple worship timings are subject to change during festival occasion.
Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple Dress Code
Only Hindus are permitted inside the temple. And dress codes are to be strictly followed before entering the temple. Men should wear 'Mundu' or 'Dhoti' while visiting the temple. They also have to remove shirt or t-shirt above waist. Women have to wear Sari (Saree), Mundum Neriyathum (set-mundu), Skirt and Blouse, or Half Sari. This means no pants for men or churidhar for women is allowed inside the temple.
Dhotis are available for rent near temple locker room. Nowadays temple authorities allow to wear Dhotis over pants or churidhar for the convenience of devotees. The locker room near the temple main entrance offers Dhotis for rent. Cell Phones, Cameras, or any other Electronic Equipments are not allowed to be used inside the temple.
Here are the details of Poojas that can be performed by devotees at Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram.
Vidhya Rahagopala Archana
Sooktam Archanas - Suktham
Abhishekams and Offerings
Aval (Sree Krishna Swamy)
Unniyappam (Unni Appam)
Modakam (for Sree Ganapathi)
Idichu Pizhinja Payasam
Vada Mala (Sree Hanuman Swamy)
Here rice is offered to the Lord in coconut shell. Paal Payasam (Milk Kheer), Unni Appam and Aval with sugar are the other main offerings to Lord Padmanabhaswamy.
The idol of Lord Narasimha is offered with Panakam during Thursdays.
Aval Nivedyam is the main offering to Thiruvambadi Lord Krishna.
How to Reach
Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple can easily be accessed by road being its ideal location near the City Bus Station in East Fort, Thiruvananthapuram. The inter-state highway, National Highway 47 (NH 47) connects Thiruvananthapuram to all major cities and nearby states including Kollam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Nagercoil, Coimbatore, Kanyakumari, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore.
Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station is the nearest railway station, just 1 km away from Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station is one of the major railway stations in Kerala, managed by Southern Railways.
Thiruvananthapuram International Airport, around 4 km from the city center, is the nearest airport.
Last edited by ajithv; July 11th, 2011 at 08:06 PM.
|July 5th, 2011, 03:20 PM||#2|
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Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram, the richest Temple/Relegious Centre in the World.
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Watch from 1:16 to 1:27
Last edited by ajithv; July 11th, 2011 at 08:07 PM.
|July 7th, 2011, 10:00 AM||#5|
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Treasure likely to cross Rs. 5 lakh crore, says (?) CP Nair
From Makkal TV
From ABN Telugu
Last edited by ajithv; July 7th, 2011 at 03:06 PM.
|July 7th, 2011, 10:09 AM||#6|
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Flow of Devotees to Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple,Trivandrum
News Reader says "300" , The Reporter says "3000"
|July 23rd, 2011, 08:37 PM||#7|
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the devotees count has increased not because of their love for god. Most are coming to gather more news about the treasure or coming as a tourist.
|July 7th, 2011, 02:50 PM||#12|
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Likes (Received): 326
Last edited by ajithv; July 7th, 2011 at 02:55 PM.
|July 11th, 2011, 04:39 PM||#15|
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Hi...sorry to disturb...could someone change the spelling of Relegious to RELIGIOUS in the topic heading
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