Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple, located inside the East Fort in Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala, temple is dedicated to Lord Padmanabha, a form of Vishnu. The name of this city Thiruvananthapuram is itself derived from the name of the presiding deity enshrined in this holy temple. The temple has Vishnu enshrined in Anananthasayanam posture which is in eternal sleep of Yognidra. The massive idol of the deity measures 18 feet in length and is covered with gold and other precious stones. The idol is viewed through three different doors. The head and torso is visible through the first opening. The midriff and hands are visible through the second door and the feet are visible through the third door.

The temple is made beautifully with an amalgamation of Hindu and Kerala architecture. The temple is spread over a vast area and is an important worship of Hindus in Kerala. The temple has a seven-tier gopuram and a tank, named Padma Theertham which means the lotus spring. The temple with a corridor of 365 and one-quarter sculptured granite-stone pillars has exquisite and beautiful carvings. There is an eighty-foot flag-staff erected in front of the main entry from the prakaram or corridor.

The temple has been renovated by King Marthanda Varma, Maharaja of the erstwhile princely state of Travancore. He dedicated his kingdom to the deity, and pledged that he and his descendants would serve the kingdom as Padmanabha Dasa, meaning the servants of the Lord Padmanabha. Thus, Sri Padmanabha assumed the title Perumal, the Emperor. The British Government also saluted the Lord with 21 Gun Salute, which was continued by the Indian Army until the abolition by the Govt. of India. Even today Sri Padmanabha is still regarded as National Deity of Travancore.

The temple is famous for its Arattu festival, which is till date headed by the royal family of Travancore. The procession is worth seeing as it is a grand spectacle of beautifully decorated elephants and musicians chanting Lord's name. The whole temple is beautifully decorated and the city of Trivandrum comes alive during the temple procession. People from all over come here to take part and cheer during the festival. Grand feasts are prepared in the temple and the food never seems to go out of stock. It is a beautiful temple and should be visited if you happen to travel to Trivandrum.

The temple is quite strict and allows entry only to Hindus.