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Sree Padmanabha Swami Temple

The Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple is veritably the heart of Thiruvananthapuram, an oasis of peace and quiet ensconsced in high walls with elaborate gateways opening out on all four sides. Regarded as one of the 108 Great Vishnu temples, It is supposed to be of pre-Chrisitian era origin and was renovated to the present state of grandeur by the Maharaja Sri Anizham Tirunal Marthanda Varma in the eighteenth century. Since his time, the kingdom of Travancore was ceded to Lord Padmanabha and the rulers became "Padmanabha daasas", servants of Lord Padmanabha and ruled the kingdom in lord's name. Ever since that, the Lord acquired the title "Perumal" meaning Emperor and was the national deity of Travancore Therefore, when you go to the temple, you are also visiting the King of Travancore and hence many customs inside the temple resembles to royal rites and traditions!

Things to note for first-time visitors:

1. Non-Hindus are not allowed in the temple.

2. Pants and salwars/churidars are not allowed in the temple. A mundu can be rented from the temple premises for a nominal amount and ladies can wear it over their salwars while men can give their pants for safekeeping. If you are averse to wearing rented clothes, there are several shops nearby where you can buy a good kasavu mundu on the way to the temple.

3. Cell phones are not allowed in the temple, please respect the temple rules and either don't take them to the temple or leave them in the safekeeping of the temple officials - people have done so and got their belongings back safely. Please do not hide phones in handbags - they are searched thoroughly. Please avoid altercations with the "gaattukar", the official guards of the temple. It' s not becoming to cause altercations before a place of worship. 

4. To get a close look at the deity, it is necessary to take a ticket for Archana - which can be procured for a very nominal amount at the entrance or further into the temple just before entering the inner sanctorum.

5. Around 7-8 a.m., (exact times can be obtained at the temple), some time is reserved for the royal family of Travancore to visit the temple, during which time others are not allowed into the inner sanctorum. One can however, wait in the covered perimeter of the temple and catch a glimpse of members of the royal family as they visit the other temples in the complex

6. Men has to taken off upper shawl, if any, while paying respects to deity as its part of royal rites of Kerala and all must make half bent and retain in same position, untill exit from the main mandapam (Mukamandapam)

 7. The Mukamandapam (Main Mandapam) is part of the one single stone slab, that even includes the original carving of the main deity, hence no-one is allowed to prostrate there as its exclusive reserved for members of royal family. Those who want to do, can down it at Namaskara Mandapam (mandap outside the inner gate) . 

8. For assistance as to customs to follow, etc., always look for the official Palace guards - they wear a small saffron cloth on top of the ubiquitous white mundu carrying a staff and will help with any request or will find someone who can help you.

9. If you wish to get the prasadam of some offerings like palpaayasam, you may have to book it the previous day.

10. Beware of the touts located at the entrance and exit gates, they may force people to buy archana plates and offerings saying it as compulsory factor, which is totally wrong.  

Things to see in the temple complex once you have got a darshan:

1. Go up the main gopuram - be careful, the steps are steep - and get different views of the city as you climb each storey.

2. Look out for the life-size statue of the architect of the renovated temple complex on a pillar on the left side as you enter the covered perimeter.

3. The inner sanctorum has three doors through which the head, middle and feet of the deity can be seen. Take care to gaze into the dimly lighted area and find the features of the huge idol.

4. There is a  mandapa just inside the perimeter that should not be missed - look out for a temple official behind a desk with ticket stubs in front of him.

Location : Sree Padmanabha Swami Temple, Thiruvanathapuram, Kerala, India.

Gods : Sree Padmanabha, Narasimha Swamy and Krishna

Landmark : Situated in capital of the state, it is easy to reach the Padmanabhaswamy Temple by any mode of transport. The Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station is just a kilometer away from the temple and the East Fort is one of the most convenient bus stops in the city. The Trivandrum International airport is about 7km away from the temple.

Festivals :

1. Kalabham festival is observed from 8th to 14th of January with Makara Seeveli and Perunthiramruthu Pooja is done at 8.30 p m.
2. Painguni Utsavam Aaratu during March – April as explained above 10 days.
3. Vishu – On 14th April Vishu Kani Darshan at 5 am.
4. Kalabham – 11th to 16th July – Karkidaka Seeveli and Perunthiramruthu Pooja.
5. Nira Puthari - July- August Pre harvest festival.
6. Thiruvonam – Ona villu charthu – Ona villu during August – September.
7. Vinayaka Chathurthi – during August – September.
8. Sree Krishna jayanthi – Ashtami Rohini – during August – September.
9. Valiya Ganapthi Homam – 12 days during September – October.
10. Navarathri Festival – 9 days festival during September – October.
11. Aipashi Utsavam - 10th day Aaratu during October – November as explained earlier.
12. Swargavathil Ekadasi during December.

Offerings :

Muzhukkappu, Valiyalangaram, Panchamrutham, Ksheerabhishekam, Neivilakku,
Aravana, Unniyappam, Pongal, Ponnum seeveli, One day pooja, Thulabharam.

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