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Padmanabhaswamy Temple

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Padmanabha Swamy Temple
at Thiruvananthapuram, Capital of Kerala State, India
Reflecting in Padmatheertha, the temple pond, on a rainy day.

 

The temple is of later Chola architecture with one high rise Gopuram.This temple is the abode of Lord Mahavishnu, depicted as Sri Padmanabha the Ishtadevata of the Royal family of Travancore.

 

History: LORD ANANTHA PADMANABHA is the reigning deity of Thiruvananthapuram. The origin of the temple goes back to a famous sage called Divakara Muni who hailed from Lottal in Gujarat situated on the banks of the Sindhu river. On the decline of the city, people moved to Dwaraka and further into the south ushering in the revival of the Krishna cult of worship.

 

Marthanda Varma, the founded the Travancore Kingdom through annexation of many small kingdoms. To absolve himself of the sins of war, in a spectacular ceremony in 1750 surrendered the kingdom to the presiding deity of the temple, and received it back as a fiefdom and ruled the state as Sri Padmanabha Dasa, a servant of Lord Padmanabha. All his successors too adopted this custom. The present structure of the temple dates back to the period of Martanda Varma, who made several renovations and built the eastern gopuram, which was completed in 1798.

 

The Dwajasthambham (flagstaff) is enclosed in a gold casing. The Kulasekhara mandapam near it has fine sculptures pertaining to the 17th century. The prakaram, has 324 columns, and has two rows of granite pillars with images of a Deepalakshmi. There are images of yalis (mythological animal), with  stone balls in their mouths which cannot be taken out.

 

Apart from the main deity, there are figures of the sages Markandeya and Bhrigu, the two goddesses, Lakshmidevi and Bhoomidevi. The other idols are Narada, Garuda, Thumburu and the seven sages and the Sanakadi quartette. The important deities in the temple are Narasimha, Krishna and Rama.

Several festivals are celebrated with great pomp and splender.  Lakshadeepam (Festival of One Lakh lamps) is celebrated on the first day of the Makaram month of the Kerala calendar. The practice was started by Raja Marthanda Varma. It is celebrated once in six years at the end of a period of Mura Japam (that runs for 56 days) by various learned Namboodiris and Brahmins representing the four Vedas. The Mura Japam commences with a Ganapathy Homam and an opening of Muzhakappu. For the important special night, Vahanas, including the Seeveli Anantha Vahana, are used. Kamalam is used on the third and fifth, Indra on the fourth and the sixth and Garuda on the seventh.


 

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