Padamanabha Swamy Temple

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By P.R.Ramachander


This great temple is situated in the middle of the capital city of Kerala-Trivandrum or officially as Thiruvanathapuram. It is also possibly one of the very few temples in Kerala with a Raja Gopuram of 7 tiers. It is believed that the great Saint Vilwa Mangalathu Swamiyar, a great devotee of Lord Krishna and who could always see Lord Krishna, once irritated Him because of his pride and immediately thereafter he stopped showing Himself to the Swamiyar. The remorseful Swamiyar prayed to Lord Krishna who appeared in his dreams and was told that the Swamiyar can fin Him at Anathan Kadu. After many days of arduous search, Swamiyar finally reached a place called Ananthan Kadu. There he sat near a big stone and then he realized that it was the Lord himself. He had nothing with him to offer to the Lord and hence he approached a poor family near by and took from them some tender mango pickled in salt and offered it to the Lord. This tradition of offering tender pickled mango is being continued till this time. It is also believed that this is a one of the temples established by Lord Parasurama. It became dilapidated by non use and was later found by Vilwamangalathu Swamiyar.

The God in this temple is Lord Padmanabha reclining on his serpent bed Anantha. It is believed that this statue was made by using 10008 salagramas (holy stones taken from the Gandaki river of Nepal). King Marthanda Verma of the Travancore dynasty [resented the entire Kingdom of Travancore to this lord and took the title of Padmanabha dasa, (servant of Padmanabha) A recent story is that when the idol which had a coating of a mixture of a tar like substance was being cleaned, a portion of tar came off and revealed pure gold. It was then realized that during the raid of Tippu in the 18th century, in order to protect the golden idol it was covered with this tar like substance called 'chandu' in Malayalam.

The temple opens at 3,30 AM and the timings when devotees can see the Lord are from 3.30 AM -4.45., 6.30 AM-7.00., 8.30AM-10.00., 10.30AM-11.00., 11.45AM-12.00; and in the after noon 5.00-6.15 and 6.45-7.20. Only Hindus are permitted inside the temple. There are several festivals in the temple. Ganesh Chathurthi, Ashtami Rohini and the festival in thulam and Meenam months are famous. Once in 12 years there is a 'laksha deepa'(hundred thousand lamps) observed in this temple. This is accompanied by recitation of Vedas by Namboothiri Brahmins called Mura Japam.

Apart from the tender mango mentioned earlier, Milk kheer is offered as offering in a coconut shell daily.Other naivedyams are Unni appam, aval etc.]