Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala


Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is situated inside the Fort of Thiruvananthapuram. Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is the state temple of erstwhile Travancore. The main deity of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is Lord Vishnu, who according to the Hindu mythology is the supreme power which controls this universe. The capital city got its name Thiruananthapuram or the place where Lord Vishnu reclines on the sacred serpent Anantha, from this temple. The idol inside the sanctum santorum is in the form of the Lord reclining on the Holy Serpent Anantha. It is an 18 feet long imposing figure built with Salagrama stones brought from Nepal and it is covered with gold and precious stones. The temple has an imposing seven tier gopuram covered with beautiful stone carvings. The temple has a broad corridor with 324 sculptured pillars and a 80 feet high golden flag staff. The walls of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple are covered with interesting mural paintings depicting mythical stories. The Kulasekharamandapam, the main platform inside the temple is beautiful and regal. The entire architectural style followed in this temple is a mixture of Dravidian and Kerala styles. Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in its present form is built by Maharaja Marthanda Varma (1729-1758), one of the most powerful rulers of Travancore. The work on the temple was started in 1731. In 1750, the Maharaja dedicated his kingdom to Lord Padmanabha, the presiding deity of the kingdom and assumed the title Padmanabhadasa or the servant of Lord Padmanabha. From that day onwards the rulers of Travancore carry out all their princely and spiritual duties as the servants of the Lord.

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is considered as one among the seven Parasurama shetras in Kerala and one among the 108 sacred temples in India dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The ancient texts of Padma purana and Skanda purana have mentions about this temple.


History of Temple

The history of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple dates back to 8th century. It is one of the 108 sacred Vishnu temples or Divya Desams in India. Divya Desams are the holiest abodes of the Lord Vishnu that are mentioned in the works of the Tamil Azhvars (saints). The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Vishnu, reclining on Anantha, the hooded Serpent.

Marthanda Varma, the noted among Travancore kings did a major renovation to the temple and it resulted in the present day structure of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple. It was Marthanda Varma who introduced the Murajapam and Bhadra Deepam festivals in the temple. Murajapam, which literally means continuous chanting of prayers, is still conducted in the temple once in six years.

In 1750, Marthanda Varma dedicated the kingdom of Travancore to Lord Padmanabha. Marthanda Varma vowed that the royal family will rule the state on behalf of Lord and he and his descendants would serve the kingdom as Padmanabha Dasa or the Servant of Lord Padmanabha. Since then the name of every Travancore King was preceded by the title Padmanabha Dasa. The donation of the kingdom of Travancore to Padmanabhaswamy was known as Thripadidanam. The current head of the Travancore Royal Family is Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma.

Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala takes its name from the presiding deity of the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple, who is also known as Anantha (one who reclines on the Serpent Ananatha). The word ‘Thiruvananthapuram’ literally means – the land of Sree Anantha Padmanabhaswamy.

Architecture of Temple

The temple architecture stands out for its work in stone and bronze. The temple interiors are adorned by beautiful paintings and murals. Some of them are that of the life-size images of Lord Vishnu in the reclining posture, Narasimha Swamy (half-lion, half man incarnation of Lord Vishnu), Lord Ganapati and Gaja Lakshmi. Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple has a dhwaja stamba (flag post) that is about 80 ft high and is covered with gold plated copper sheets.

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple also has some interesting structural features in the form of Bali Peeda Mandapam and Mukha Mandapam. These are halls, decorated with beautiful sculptures of various Hindu deities. Another structure that captures attention here is the Navagraha Mandapa the ceiling of which displays the navagrahas (the nine planets).

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. There is a ground floor below under the main entrance in the eastern side, which is known as the nataka sala, where Kerala’s classical art form – the Kathakali is performed during the annual ten-day festival at the temple, held during the Malayalam months of Meenam and Thulam.


Festivals at Temple

The temple has very special rituals. Two festivals are celebrated every year, one in March-April and the second one in September-October. 56 day long Murajapam or uninterrupted recitation of prayers is conducted once in six years and once in twelve years the festival of a million lamps or the Lakshadeepam is conducted. The temple is still given the status of the state temple and for the festivals divisions of the armed and mounted police will accompany the deity for the arattu or the holy bathing. Their band also play the songs written by Maharaja Swathi Thirunal.

Swathi Thirunal had a very special relationship with Lord Padmanabha and the temple. His life was an offering to the Lord. All his songs carry the stamp of total dedication to Padmanabha. The most beautiful of his songs are on Lord Vishnu. “Vande Sada Padmanabham………….Always I worship thee Padmanabha, Thine is the hue of the water-laden clouds, Thy feet are the celestial Mandara blossoms to those who bow to them, Always I worship thee, my Lord” – Swathi Thirunal wrote.

Do’s and Dont’s

  • Entry at Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is restricted to those who profess the Hindu religion.
  • There is a special dress code. The dress code for men is Dhoti with or without Angavastra. The dress codes for women are Sarees, Dhoties or Pavadas with blouse or other coverings as appropriate to their age. Salvar sets and other modern dresses are not allowed. Young girls below 12 years may wear gowns. No other types of dress should not be worn or taken inside the temple.
  • The men should fasten their Angavastrams around their waist.
  • Follow the procedures and timings of the Temple and wait till your turn comes for darshan.
  • Worshipers should not sit or prostrate or place any articles on the Ottakkal Mandapam.
  • Umbrellas, slippers, cameras, mobile phones, and any other type of electronic equipments and weapons are not permitted inside the Temple.
  • Photography is strictly prohibited in the Temple premises.
  • Respect the customs and usages of the Temple.
  • Bath and wear clean clothes before entering the Temple.
  • Do not smoke or spit inside the Temple.
  • Do not use or carry pan masala and such other things inside the Temple.
  • Do not throw away the prasadam and theertham received from the Temple. Handle them with respect.
  • Do not enter the Temple or Temple premises after consuming liquor and non-vegetarian food.
  • Do not commit any activities of violence or quarrel inside the Temple.
  • Carrying much jewellery and money will be at the risk of the bearer.

Darshana Timings at Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Morning :-

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

Evening :-

05.00 pm to 06.15 pm
06.45 pm to 07.20 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.

Treasure found at Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Recently eveyone heard about the priceless wealth found in secret chambers of Anantha Padmanabhaswamy temple, in Tiruvananthapuram, Kerala. Now it’s one of the richest temples in the world  and considered wealthier than Sri Thirumala Venkateswara Swamy temple in Andhra Pradesh. There was a public outcry when the current descendent of the erstwhile Kingdom attempted to retain the control of the temple by citing the special law. Many argued that the wealth belonged to the people now.  A review of the temple’s underground vaults was undertaken by a seven-member panel appointed by the Supreme Court of India estimated 1,00,000 crores  Rupees worth. Considering that the committee takes in to account its value based on ancient and historical facts the value of the treasure will be approximately ten times to the value estimated right now. Treasure includes ancient gold chains, diamonds, rubies and precious stones, silver vessels, and gold statues the value of which is humanly impossible to evaluate in terms of money.

According to the locals the Travancore kings stored immense riches within the thick stone walls and vaults of the temple.  Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is controlled by a trust run by the descendants of the Travancore royal family since Independence. The kingdom of Travancore merged with the princely state of Cochin after 1947. It eventually became the present-day state of Kerala. The inspection of the temple began after India’s Supreme Court appointed a seven-member panel to enter and assess the value of the objects stored in its cellars,including  the two chambers last thought to have been opened about 150 years ago.

The valuables have an estimated preliminary worth of over 500 billion rupees ($10.49 billion) catapulting the temple into the league of India’s richest temples. There are 6 cellars in the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple that were marked from A to B. Among them the cellars A and B are not opened for past 150 years. Other cellars were containing precious items for festivals, daily poojas etc.The detailed list of Treasures found in Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple are 1 Lakh Gold Coins, Rare Priceless Gems, Precious Diamonds like Indraneelam, Belgium Diamonds, Emeralds, Rubies, 1200 Sarappoli Gold Chains,Gold Crowns like Kulashekharaperumal Crown which was used by Kings of Travancore, KashuMala (Necklaces),400 Gold Necklaces with Marathakam stone,More than 2000 Gold ornaments,Gold Plates (Swarna Thalika),Gold Chains of up to 3 and 10.5 kg and of about 18 ft also,Golden Idol of Padmanabha Swamy,Swarna(Gold) Dhanuss (old gold coins) , Swarna(Gold) Pathakams,4 Feet tall Golden statue of Lord Vishnu studded with precious emeralds,Gold Staffs, Golden Utensils,Golden Umbrellas (Thankakuda), 2500 Gold Pots, Gold Varpu, Uruli (Big Utensil),Gold Kazhuthu Kudam, Kazhuthukootam,KhadikaThadi, Kumbheeyam,Silver Moola Pattika, Gold, Silver Nilavilakku,Gold Kindi, Silver, Gold Dharakidaram,Kudumudi, Narayam, God Shiva Idols made of Gold, Serpents idols in Gold,Golden rings, Gold Thali Unearthed a rich and glorious past in Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram.

Location of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Located inside the East Fort in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of the State of Kerala in India is the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is a blend of the Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture.

For more details / information about Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple , one can contact on below given numbers

The Executive Officer
Mathilakom Office, West Nada , Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple Fort, Thiruvananthapuram – 695023.

Phone : 0471 2450233(Office) ,  0471 2466830(Temple)  , 0471 2464606 (Information/Help line)
Fax: 0471 2450233

Official website of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple