Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple


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About and History of Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple

Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple is situated in the middle of the capital city of Kerala-Trivandrum. It is also possibly one of the very few temples in Kerala with a RajaGopuram of 7 tiers.

It is believed that the great Saint Vilwa Mangalathu Swamiyar, with whom Lord Krishna was always there, once irritated Lord Krishna due to his pride. Lord Krishna disappeared from there.  When the Swamiyar prayed, Lord Krishna told him in his dream to find him in Anathan Kadu. After many days of arduous search, Swamiyar reached a place called Ananthan Kadu. There he sat near a big stone and later realized that it was the Lord himself. There was nothing with him to offer to the Lord. So he approached a poor family nearby and took from them 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 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)

As per the legends, Lord Vishnu appeared before sage Vilwamangalam as an orphan kid. The sage felt pity and allowed him to stay at the temple. He took his help in the daily activities of the temple. One day, Vilwamangalam acted harshly on the kid, who then ran away towards the forest. But, Vilwamangalam soon realized that the boy was Lord Vishnu himself. So, he went to find him. He followed him inside a cave, which led to present-day Thiruvananthapuram. The boy then disappeared into a mahua tree. The tree fell and took the shape of Lord Vishnu lying on the thousand hooded serpents (Adi Shesha).

The size of Lord Vishnu in this Ananthasayanam posture extended up to 8 miles, and sage Vilwamangalam requested him to condense to a smaller size. Lord shrank, but still, the sage couldn’t see him completely. Trees obstructed his view, and he could see Lord Anantha in three parts – the face, the stomach area, and the feet.

The doors of Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram) show the large idol in the same way as the sage saw the lord.

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Although the exact date of the temple’s construction isn’t known, the earliest mention of the temple dates to the 9th century.

Later, during the 15th century, the roof of the sanctum sanctorum was repaired, as mentioned in the palm leaf records. The Ottakkal Mandapam on the premises was built at about the same time. And around the mid-17th century, King Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma ordered major renovations to the temple.

The sanctum sanctorum was reconstructed, and the old idol was replaced by a statue made of 12,008 shaligram stones and various herbs, collectively called katu-sharkara. By 1739, the work on the statue was completed. The king also built the stone corridor, the gate, and the flagstaff.

Then, in 1750, he dedicated his kingdom to the lord, in the Thrippadidanam ceremony.

In 1758, the pillared outdoor hall – Karthika Mandapam, was built by king Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma. And in 1820, during the time of queen Gowri Parvathi Bayi, the large Anantha Shyana mural was drawn.

Another major event in Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple history was recorded in 1936, during the reign of Chithira Thirunal Rama Varma. He outlined the Kshethra Praveshan Vilambram (or Temple Entry Proclamation) to allow every Hindu caste and creed in the temple.

Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple

Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple

The architecture of Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple

It stands out for the detailed work in stone and bronze. The architecture is a fusion of Dravidian architectural style and Kerala style, and the temple resembles the Adi Kesava Perumal temple of Thiruvattar. Even the deities look similar, lying in a reclining posture.

The magnificent seven-tier high gopuram, carved with elaborate designs, is the first structure you will notice. The large corridor inside is supported by beautifully carved stone pillars and sculptures of various Hindu deities. Beautiful murals also adorn the walls and ceilings in various parts of the temple.

Inside the sanctum, Sri Padmanabha reclines on Adi Shesha whose hoods form an umbrella over his head. The sanctum has three doors from which you can look at the reclining 18-foot idol of Lord Padmanabha.

Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple

Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple Treasure

It is the richest temple in the world. The Padmanabhaswamy Temple trust, headed by the royal family of Travancore, looks after the assets.

The treasure is a collection of valuable objects accumulated over several thousands of years. It includes coins, statues, ornaments, and many other precious artifacts, donated by rulers and traders from around the world.

The list includes kings from South Indian kingdoms like the Cheras, the Pandyas, and the Pallavas, rulers from Greece, Jerusalem, Rome, and other traders who came to visit the temple. Donations also poured in from various colonial powers of Europe.

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And because of its wealth, the temple has also been referred to as the Golden Temple in various kinds of literature.

The palm leaves records tell a lot about the Padmanabhaswamy Temple treasure, and the gold and precious stones donated to the temple.

Gold has been mined in and around Trivandrum for thousands of years. And the area has also been a center of trade. So, the gold came to the temple as offerings from the devotees. Many royal families in Southern India too stored their wealth in the temple vaults for safekeeping.

Also, during the reign of queen Gowri Lakshmi Bayi, many temples in Kerala were bought under royal governance. And the ornaments and other valuables of those temples were stored in the vaults of Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The Kingdom of Travancore also provided refuge to many rulers who then donated their valuables to Lord Padmanabha.

Shrines inside Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple

It is regarded as a Maha-kshetram (Great Temple) because of its architectural magnificence, historical importance, spiritual significance, and several other reasons.

Inside the main shrine, the 18-foot katu-sharkara idol of Lord Padmanabha (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) rests on the serpent Adi Shesha (also known as Anantha Shesha). The idol is made up of 12,008 saligramas and can be viewed through the three doors of the sanctum.

Through the first door, can be seen the face and upper body of the deity. The right-hand rests over a Shiva Lingam. The idol is surrounded by Lakshmi Devi (the Goddess of Prosperity) and Bhu Devi (the Goddess of Earth). And the presence of Shiva within the sanctum sanctorum adds to the sanctity of this Maha-kshetram dedicated to Vishnu.

Images of Lord Shiva adorning the walls in many other parts of the temple. The second door of the shrine provides a glimpse of Lord Brahma, on a lotus flower, emerging from the navel of the deity. And from the third door, can be seen the feet of Lord Padmanabha.

Along with the shrine of Lord Padmanabha, the temple complex has shrines for several other deities. Can find one dedicated to Narasimha, a part-lion and a part-man avatar of Vishnu. Another important shrine is built in the honor of Parthasarathi – Lord Krishna in the role of a charioteer. Lord Krishna himself is another avatar of Lord Vishnu.

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Also, the Padmanabhaswamy Temple has shrines of Lord Ganesha (the elephant God), Lord Rama, accompanied by Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman, and Sastha (the God of teaching) among others.

The temple premises also have a separate Thiruvambadi Sree Krishnaswamy Temple. It has got a standalone flagstaff and its rites and rituals.

Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple pond

Padmatheertham is a sacred pond on the eastern side of the temple. It is one of the many sacred water bodies in the state and among the oldest ponds in the city. Eight of the mandapams within the temple complex are in the Padmatheertham pond.

Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple


Padmanabhaswamy Temple has nine entrances, indicating the nine orifices of the human body. And there’s a seven-storey high gopuram built on the eastern entrance. This 100-foot-high entrance tower is constructed in the Pandyan style popular among the temples in South India. The 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu are depicted on this gopuram, and on the top, you’ll see seven golden domes.

“Only Hindus are permitted inside the temple.”

Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple

Timings to visit

03:30 AM – 04:45 AM | 06:30 AM – 07:00 AM | 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM | 10:30 AM – 11:00 AM | 11:45 AM – 12:00 PM | 05:00 PM – 06:15 PM | 06:45 PM – 07:20 PM

Festivals celebrated 

  • Ganesh Chathurthi
  • Krishna Ashtami (Ashtami Rohini)
  • Navarathri Pooja
  • Maha Shivarathri
  • Niraputhari
  • Rama Navami
  • Rohini and the festival in Tula
  • Meena masa is famous
  • Once in 12 years, there is A Laksha(hundred thousand) Deepa(lamps) observed in this temple. This is accompanied by recitation of Vedas by Namboothiri

Best Time to Visit

All Hindu Festivals, Purnima falls Every Month.

Entry Fee

  • ₹150 per person for Special Darshan
  • ₹180 per person for Special Darshan with Prashad
  • ₹250, along with pooja thali, is also available.
  • ₹3000 Nirmalyam to Deeparadhana (3.30 AM to 4.45 AM)
  • ₹4000 Nirmalyam to Usha Pooja (3.30 AM to 5.30 AM)
  • ₹5000 Nirmalyam to Pantheeradi Pooja (3.30 AM to 6 AM)
  • ₹12,000 The half-day Nirmalyam to Ucha Pooja can be booked
  • The entry for kids is free.

How to Reach 

By Air: Trivandrum International Airport – 4.3 km

By Train: Thiruvananthapuram Central – 1.9 km, Varkala – 42.7 km, Kollam Junction – 66 km

By Road: Trivandrum – 1km, Thiruvananthapuram bus terminal – 5 km,


Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple, West Nada, Fort, East Fort, Pazhavangadi, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 695023

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