Located in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) half a km from the railway station is the 5000 year old Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Divya Desam, where the gigantic Lord Anantha Padmanabhan is seen in a Bhujanga Sayana Kolam. There is reference in Bhagavatha Puranam of the visit to Syaananthapuram (Thiruvananthapuram) of Balarama and his stay here.
Deity : Anantha Padmanabhaswamy East Facing Bhujanga Sayana Kolam Thaayar : Hari Lakshmi Theertham : Padmatheertham
Divakara Muni was a great Vishnu Bhaktha. While at ‘Aanarthadesa’, he performed deep tapas. One day Maha Vishnu appeared before the sage as a lovely child. The charming child attracted the attention of the sage. He requested the God-child to stay with him. The child made his stay conditional. Accordingly, the Sanyasi should treat him with respect. On failing to do so, he would vanish at once. This was accepted and the child stayed with him. The hermit gave him great care and tolerated the childish pranks. One day, when the sanyasi was in deep meditation at his prayers, the child 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, caught a glimpse of the child disappearing into a huge ‘Ilappa’ tree. Immediately the tree fell into the ground and it assumed the form of Sree Maha Vishnu. The divine form had its head at ‘Thiruvallam’(a place about 3 miles from East Fort at where the Temple of Sree Padmanabha Swamy is located) and its feet at ‘Trippapur’ (5 miles away towards the north). Overawed by the majesty and the size of the divine form, which manifested before him, the Sanyasi prayed to the Lord to condense Himself in size so that he could behold Him. There upon the image of the Lord shrank to a size, three times the length of the Sanyasy’s Yoga Dand. His prayers had been granted. He immediately offered a raw mango in a coconut shell(still this offering continues).
Another generally accepted version about the origin of the Temple relates it to the famous Namboothiri sanyasi Vilvamangalathu Swamiyar, whose name is linked with the histories of several temples in Southern India. This Swamiyar was also a Vishnu bhaktha. The legend is almost identical with that of Divakara Muni referred above. It is said that, when Sree Maha Vishnu presented himself in the Ananthasayana rupa (in the form of reclining on Anantha) before the sage at Ananthankaadu, the latter had nothing worthwhile to offer Him. From a mango tree standing nearby he plucked a few unripe mangoes and placed them in a coconut shell lying there and in all humility offered it as ‘nivedyam’ to the Lord. Even today salted mango forms a major offering. The original coconut shell has been encased in gold. It has also been the practice in the Temple for the past several centuries that the morning ‘pushpanjali’ is to be performed by a Namboothiri Brahmin sanyasi (designated Pushpanjaly Swamiyar) specially commissioned for this purpose. These traditional customs coupled with the fact that the Pushpanjali 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 measures of credence to the theory that this Temple was founded by Vilvamangalathu Swamiyar. On the other hand the legend of the Divakara Muni can be substantiated by the presence of a large number of Tulu Brahmins. Besides being represented in the ‘Yogam’, the Namboothiri Brahmins also have a position of eminence in the rituals and ceremonies of theTtemple . The Tantries(high priests) have always been from the Tharananalloor family belonging to this community. It is also believed that the small Sree Krishna Swamy Temple, located near the Western Swamiyar Madham (residence of one of the two Pushpanjali Swamiyars of the Temple) has been built over the Samadhi of Vilvamangalathu Swamiyar.
It is said that Cheraman Nayanar laid the foundation for this temple. After the poojas had stopped in the 17th Century AD and a subsequent fire at the temple led to the destruction of all the idols except the moolavar idol.
In the year 1729 the great ruler Marthanda Varma became the king of Travancore. He took the steps to renovate the Temple. In 1730 the idol was again moved to ‘Balalaya’ prior to the renovation and reconstruction of the sanctum sanctorum. It took two years for completion. The old wooden idol was replaced by the one that we see today. Made of highly complex amalgam known as Katusarkarayogam, it contains 12008 Salagrams within it. Most of what is seen today within the walls of the temple were constructed. It is recorded that 4000 sculptors, 6000 labourers and 100 elephants worked for a period of 6 months to finish the construction of the sreebalippura (the oblong corridor). This magnificent rectangular corridor built of solid stones protects the Deities during seeveli on rainy days. The gopuram for which the foundation had been laid in 1566, was built during this period. Similarly the flag-staff in front of the main shrine was also erected at this time. Teak wood of required size was brought from the forest for this purpose and transported to the Temple in such a way that no part of the wood touched the ground. The pole was then covered completely with gold sheets. The renovation of the Temple tank, the Padmatheertham, including the flight steps and its completion in the form we see it today was also undertaken during this great ruler’s time.
In 1758, during the reign of Sree Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma, the fabulous Kulasekhara Mandapam was build. It is a marvelous and fantastic architectural work on stone. It is also known as Aayiramkal Mandapam and Sapthaswara Mandapam. It is supported by 28 balustrades of pillars. The pillars on the four corners can produce musical notes when taped. In 1820 a very big mural mirroring the Ananthasayanam, which is termed as the biggest in the temple murals of Kerala, was drawn during the period of Rani Goury Parvathi Bayi.
Among the rulers of the erstwhile Travancore Maharaja Sree Chithira Thirunal Rama Varma ranks as one among the most illustrious royal personalities, who ruled in his dual capacity as Dasa and Ruler. He ruled as a Sage among Kings. The Kshethra Praveshan Vilambram or the Temple Entry Proclamation was in 1936 which was the epoch-making event of the Maharaja’s religious and political life. This Proclamation, issued on the eve of his twenty forth birthday, has been considered by evaluators as the most socially progressive and religiously liberal ordinance enacted in India. It was a revolutionary and courageous action initiated for the first time in the country towards the eradication of untouchability. The rest of India followed his footsteps.
Nammazhwar has sung 11 Verses in Praise of Sree Anantha Padmanabha Swamy
பேசுமின் கூச்சம் இன்றி, பெரிய நீர் வேலை சூழ்ந்து வாசமே கமழும் சோலை வயல் அணி அனந்தபுரம் நேசம் செய்து உரைகின்ரானை நெறிமையால் மலர்கள் தூவி பூசனை செய்கின்றார்கள் புன்னையும் செய்தவாறே
Fortunate is one who has the opportunity to have darshan of the Sleeping Lord at Thiru Anantha Puram'- NamAzhvaar in his Thiruvoimozhi Praise
கெடும் இடர் ஆய் எல்லாம், கேசவா, என்ன நாளும் கொடுவினை செய்யும் கூற்றின் தமர்களும் குறுககில்லார்விடம் உடை அரவில் பள்ளி விரும்பினான் சுரும்பு அலற்றும், தடம் உடை வயல் அனந்தபுரநகர் புகுத்தும் இன்றே
NamAzhvaar refers to the sleeping posture atop the Serpant Lord. He also makes a mention of this place ( Thiru Anantha Puram) in every verse. The moment one visits the Lord who resides on Adisesha at Thiru Anantha Puram, all our problems will vanish. He goes on to praise him saying that even Lord Yama will stay away from us.
- 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
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
Do's & Dont's
- Entry is restricted to those who profess the Hindu religion.
- The dress code for men is Dhoti with or without Angavastra.It is the custom for male worshipers going near the sanctum – sanctorum by tying their Angavastrams around their waist.
- The dress codes for ladies are Sarees, Dhoties or Pavadas with blouse or other coverings as appropriate to their age. Salvar and Commies 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.
Dhothis are available for sale outside the Temple Premises
How To Reach & Stay
There are several express trains and buses from across the country to Thiruvananthapuram.The temple is half a kilometre from the Trivandrum Central Railway Station.
Lot of stay options are available across all budget Range
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