The Padmanabhaswamy Temple, situated right in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram is where a thousand historic legends, secrets and treasures have been put at rest, for centuries. It is hard to say what makes the temple more mystic, the divinity in the air or its historical and cultural importance.
Over the last couple of years, the fame of Padmabhaswamy Temple has even got the attention of the international media. This was after the news of the discovery of the historic treasures got out. The vast amount of gold, silver, stones and other antiques were then found after uncovering two of the six such hidden, underground vaults in the temple.
Padmanabhaswamy Temple now also holds the record of being the richest Hindu temple in the world. The news of the treasure attracted flocks of tourists into the city, which was named after the lord residing in the temple himself. Tourists world over has been queuing up to get a glimpse of the majestic temple.
Even for a lay man, the architecture and engravings inside the temple are mesmerizing and awe-inspiring. The temple stands as one of the finest depictions of Dravidian architecture and its mastery of the “Gopuram”.
And not to mention, the history is even more interesting. The story goes that Lord Vishnu once took the form of a small child – Padmanabhan and went on to live with his one of his devotees. There was but one condition- He was never to scold the child.
But the child one day interrupted the hermit’s meditation, and the angry Sadhu chided him. The child at this point tells the hermit to look for him at “Ananthankaadu” and disappears. This is when the hermit realizes that the child was no one other than his own Lord Vishnu.
The story goes on to say that the Sadhu began to first give offerings there. He first offered the child a ripe mango in a coconut shell, a customary way of offering for the deity that is still present in the temple today. Except, some believe that the first coconut shell that was first used, has now been entirely replicated with gold.
Such are the stories that surround the temple. Both intriguing and magical. The story goes that at the request of his devotee, Lord Vishnu appears in an eternal yogic sleep posture so that his devotee could go round him and pay his respects.
The main deity, Lord Vishnu is 18 feet long, in the eternal sleeping posture. The Padmabhaswamy Temple was constructed by the Chera Kings, the temple fell later under the guardianship of their descendents -the Royalty of Travancore. Even today the Raja of Travancore is the guardian of the temple and all its treasures.
The story behind how the temple amassed such wealth is an interesting one. The royal family used to donate vast amounts of gold after weighing members of the family on their birthdays and special days to the temple. Also, the loot and other gatherings which the King gained after slaying revolting commanders under him, was donated as well.
After this, in the 18th century the deity was made the owner of the wealth, while the King remained as his guardian. The wealth that was amassed through centuries lay untouched in the vaults, according to reports.
It is also said that the temple was partially destroyed by a fire in 1686. Apparently, it took more than 90 years for the King Anizham Thirunnal Marthandavarma to rebuild the temple.
The temple stands as an epitome to the time, the loots, the plunder, culture, history and most importantly the devotion that it witnessed over time.
Many even argue that the temple came about in the beginning of Kaliyuga, around 5000 years ago.
Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple Darshan Timings
Morning Darshan Timing
Nirmalya Darshanam : 03.30 am to 04.45 am
06.30 am to 07.00 am
08.30 am to 10.00 am
10.30 am to 11.10 am
11.45 am to 12.00 Noon
Padmanabha Swamy Temple Darshan Timings – Evening
05.00 pm to 06.15 pm
06.45 pm to 07.20 pm
Needless to say, Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is a major historic relic that should not be missed. More importantly every person, should experience the trance which the temple lures you into once you are inside it. . .