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KERALA TOURISM NEWSLETTER

ISSUE: 216

AUGUST 2011

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, one of the 108 sacred Vishnu temples or Divya Desams in India, displays a supreme blend of Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture. Located at East Fort, in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, the temple is also known by the name Sree Ananda Padmanabhaswamy Temple, for the presiding deity Lord Vishnu is seen reclining on Anantha, the hooded Serpent. The word Thiruvananthapuram literally means the land of Sree Anantha Padmanabhaswamy.

Mentioned in the Divya Prabandha canon of literature written by Tamil Alwars (saints) the temple has a long history that dates back to the 8th century. Ettuveetil Pillamar - the eight powerful Nair feudal lords of ancient Travancore maintained the temple and its properties from whose hands Sree Marthanda Varma Anizham Thirunal, the great king of Travancore seized it. The present day structure was the result of a renovation work done by him. Following this in 1750, Marthanda Varma dedicated the kingdom of Travancore to Lord Padmanabha placed his sword in front of the Lord and vowed that the royal family will rule the state on behalf of Lord. From then onwards he and his descendants were known by the name Padmanabha Dasa or the servant of Lord Padmanabha.

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is renowned for its architectural and sculptural splendour. Fascinating work of art in stone and bronze, mural paintings, and wood carvings all display the charisma of Dravidian style of architecture. Padma Theertham, the holy tank, beside which the temple stands with all its grandeur, set the divine aura for the temple. The entrance tower, which is about 10-0 feet high, is bedecked with numerous stone carvings. The idol of Lord Vishnu is composed of 12008 salagramams or round boulders brought from the Himalayas.

Recently, the temple acquired much fame following the discovery of a treasure trove, inside the secret vaults worth billions. The temple has secret vaults opening of which revealed a treasure trove with inestimably precious objects like a Gold idol of Lord Vishnu studded with precious stones, thousands of ancient gold coins, ornaments, golden elephant statues, footwear, umbrellas and much more.

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