South India is very well known for its natural beauty, but south India is also well known for its culture, faith, and religious activities. Along with North India, the Hindu empire flourished in South India. Due to this, numerous grand temples are seen here. If we go deep into history, it is known that many big Hindu kings of South India had built many attractive temples during their reign. The temples of South India look very beautiful, and the work done on this temple is not seen anywhere in the whole world. In this article, we will talk about one such temple of South India, which is very beautiful, the Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram, dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
Padmanabhaswamy Temple is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala in India. This temple is situated in the centre of East Port, the commercial hub of Thiruvananthapuram.This temple is one of the most important Vaishnava temples in India.
Vaishnava temples have 108 temples known as Divya Desam and are considered the most sacred ones. Padmanabhaswamy Temple is also one of the 108 temples of Divya Desam. So, Lord Vishnu is worshiped in this temple, and in other words, Padmanabhaswamy Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The Arabian Sea is very close to this temple, where twice every year, the idol of Lord Padmanabhaswamy is given a ritual bath.
History of Padmanabhaswamy Temple
This temple is considered the richest religious site in the whole world, or, in simple words, this temple is the richest in the world. This grand Padmanabhaswamy temple was renovated in the 18th century AD by Maharaja Marthanda Varma of the Travancore region.
The history of this temple is considered very old. Some historians find the history of this temple in the songs of the Tamil Vaishnavite saint Nammalvar of the 9th Century; the other historians also find the history of this temple in Silappathikaram or Silappatikaram written in the Sangam age.
The Mythology of the Padmanabhaswamy temple
According to local legends, the establishment of this temple is strongly influenced by the saint Vilwamangalam Swamiyar. It is said that Vilvamangalam Swamiyar was a great saint. He used to worship the shaligram stone every day and also used to do meditation every day to see the Vishvarupa (Virat form) of Lord Vishnu. So that Lord Vishnu would be pleased with his meditation and show his Vishvarupa to him.
But every day when he used to meditate, a child used to bother him. One day Vilwamangalam Swamiyar angrily grabs that child. But as soon as Swamiyar tries to open his eyes, the child tells him that he is Lord Vishnu, and if he wants to see the vast form of Lord Vishnu, then he should follow him towards Anantha Kadu forest. Following the child's instructions, Vilwamangalam Swamiyar begins walking toward the forest, and after walking for some time, the sage reaches that forest, and he sees a mahua tree.
After some time, that Mahua tree falls, and Lord Vishnu emerges from it. Then the sage sees the vast form of Lord Vishnu, and it is said that when the Maharaja of Travancore comes to know about this, he orders to build a temple on it, and it is believed that the inner part of the idol of Lord Vishnu in this temple is made from the same Mahua tree. In the 18th Century, this temple was renovated by Maharaja Marthanda Varma.
This temple is one of the few Malayali temples where you get the unique synthesis of Tamil Dravidian architecture and local Chera, i.e., Kerala-style architecture. This temple has beautiful architecture as well. The main shrine is constructed so that all three gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, can be seen. The idol of Lord Vishnu located in this temple is also different from the rest. Inside the temple, Lord Vishnu is seen lying on Sheshnaag. His right hand is touching a Shiva Linga. A lotus emerges from his navel, on which Lord Brahma can be seen sitting. For this reason, this temple and shrine are named Padma Nabha Swamy.
Its three doors make this temple even more attractive. Sheshnaag, Lord Vishnu, and Shiva Linga are visible from the first door. Lord Brahma is visible from the second door sitting on the lotus, and from the third door, the feet of Lord Vishnu are visible. Apart from this, a huge golden gopuram built at the temple entrance adds to the external beauty of this temple.
The world's richest religious site
It is said that Padmanabhaswamy Temple is the richest religious site globally. No temple in the world has as much wealth as this temple. Padmanabhaswamy Temple has been in the news recently because of the huge wealth found in its Vaults. Six vaults have been unearthed in this temple till now, some of which have been opened and some have not; out of the vaults that are opened under the supervision of the Supreme Court, gold and items worth about 1 lakh crore rupees have been found. Due to this discovery, this temple has become one of the richest religious sites globally.
Controversies surrounding Padmanabhaswamy temple
There are a total of six vaults in Padmanabhaswamy Temple, out of which five vaults have been opened to date, but in these six vaults, there is one vault that has not been opened to date. And the Controversy surrounding the Padmanabhaswamy temple is due to this vault. Some people believe that the vault that has not been opened till now should be opened, and others believe the opposite.
There are six vaults in this temple from A to F. Vaults named A and F are opened when required because the utensils used for the temple rituals are kept there. Gold and Silver Jewellery are kept in vaults S and D and used when required. And when under the supervision of the supreme court, vault A was opened by the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee, it was found that there was a treasure of about 1 lakh crores rupees. The Travancore Royal Family has been looking after this temple for centuries. But to date, vault B has not been opened. It is believed that there is more treasure in Vault B alone than the treasure found in this temple so far. On the door of Vault B, there is a figure of a ferocious snake and a warning that if it is opened, the consequences will be very bad. The Supreme Court has also banned the opening of this vault.
How to Reach
Padmanabhaswamy Temple is located in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. Thiruvananthapuram is one of the few major cities in Kerala and across India; due to this, Thiruvananthapuram is well-connected all-over India by road, rail, and air, and you can easily come through these three mediums to Thiruvananthapuram. If we talk about the distance of Thiruvananthapuram from Bangalore, then it is about 680 kilometers. If we talk about the first option, then it is by road. Thiruvananthapuram is well connected by road to several major cities. You can easily reach Thiruvananthapuram by bus, car, taxi, or bike.
If we talk about the second option, it is by rail, i.e., train. If you want to come to Thiruvananthapuram by train, direct train is available from all the major cities of India. Thiruvananthapuram Central, formerly known as Trivandrum Central, is the largest or main railway station in Thiruvananthapuram. And the third option is by air. Thiruvananthapuram International Airport is an airport in Thiruvananthapuram, which is well connected to all the different parts of India and outside India. So, with these mediums, you can easily reach Thiruvananthapuram.
Padmanabhaswamy Temple is located in Kerala, India. It is considered one of the oldest and most mysterious Hindu temples globally. This temple is not only the richest in the world; it is also one of the most beautiful temples in the world. This temple attracts tourists from all over the world. Padmanabhaswamy Temple is a must-see temple. It is worth visiting this temple once.