Venue: Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple
Location: East Fort
Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple has got its own significance when it comes to the history of Travancore (erstwhile princely state in south Kerala). Closely associated with the Royal Family of Travancore, the history of the temple dates back to centuries.
One of the main annual festivals of Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple is the Painkuni Festival. It starts with kodiyettu - the hoisting of the ceremonial flag. The festival is celebrated in the months of March/April. During the Painkuni Festival, huge fibre glass figures of the Pandavas (the five sons of Pandu in the Indian epic Mahabharata) will be placed at the eastern entrance to the temple. As per belief, the figures are put up to propitiate Indra, the Rain God.
Painkuni is a ten-day festival in which special rituals are offered every day. On the ninth day, the head of the Travancore Royal Family performs the palli vetta (royal hunt) ritual, near the Vettakorumakan Temple in the Fort area. The festival ends with the aarattu procession to the Shanghumugham Beach for the ritual immersion of the idols in the sea. The male members of Royal Family of Travancore, including the king, will escort the deities in the procession.
In Kerala, festival dates are decided in accordance with the Malayalam calendar and the local traditions and customs. We have calculated the festival dates based on these. But there can be changes in the dates according the customs and rituals associated with each place of worship. As such, these should be considered only as approximate dates and have to be confirmed with the local authorities.