The location of Padmanabhaswamy Temple is in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala. Its architecture follows Dravidian style. The main idol of this shrine is Lord Vishnu, lolling on Anantha, the hooded Serpent. It lies under the category of 108 holy Vishnu temples or Divya Desams in India. Non-Hindus are not allowed to take the entry into the temple. It is compulsory for the devotees to follow the dress code. The dress code of men is mundu or dhoti without any kind of shirt and the dress code of women is sari, mundum neriyathum (set-mundu), skirt and blouse, or half sari. At present times pants and churidaars are allowed for the suitability of yatris.The temple’s halls are adorned with the carvings of Hindu idols. Beautiful paintings have adorned the interior of the shrine.
One can reach this temple by mean of three approaches. They are: Bus, Train and Airplane. The bus stand lies at Thampanoor in Trivandrum and the temple is located at a distance of 1 km from this bus stand which is covered up by mean of auto-rickshaw with fare of Rs 15-Rs 20/=. In Thampoor there is Central Railway Station which is also 1 km away from the temple. One can reach the temple by mean of auto-rickshaw. After reaching Trivandrum Airport one can reach East Fort (Kizhakkekotta) by mean of local bus, auto or taxi.
Security And Some Tips
All sorts of security arrangements are done for protection of the shrine. Rs.1.54 crore has been authorized for purchasing modern cameras so as to empower temple’s security. More than 50 CCTV cameras are installed in the temple premises. There are 200 policemen which are sanctioned for guarding the temple. There are four metal detectors in the shrine in order to avoid the entry of unwanted element like gun; knife and bomb etc. For the purpose of security cellphones are not allowed in the temple. Yatri should not carry cash and ornaments with them. They should place their luggage at a safe and secure place.
When To Visit
The best time to visit the temple is during sunrise. It is opened all the days of the week. It is also opened on public holidays. The timings are: 8.30 AM – 7.30 PM. Pets are not allowed in the temple premises. People from distant places visit the temple.
What To See And Do
For getting the close look of the deity, a ticket has to be purchased at nominal price for archana. Around the time of 7-8 AM a part of the time is set aside for majestic families for their visit to the shrine. There is a sacred tank near the temple called Padma Theertham which means ‘lotus spring’. Upper shawl should be taken off by the men at the time of offering prayer and getting blessed by the idol. First yatri have to go to gopuram and for that he/she has to cross steep stairs and climbing of each storey provide several views of the city. The inner shrine comprises three doors through which head, middle and feet of the idol can be seen. Inside the temple premises there is mandapa. The idol of the Lord Vishnu is dipped into “Katusarkara yogam”, a special ayurvedic mix, which act as a plaster and keep the idol hygienic. Puja is performed daily by offering flowers. Sugar and jiggery is stored to make payasam which is distributed as Prasad. After having Darshan and Prasad the yatri take an exit from exit gate.
Where to Stay
There are many hotels near Padmanabhaswamy Temple to have stay and other services. These hotels are: Classic Avenue, KTDC Chaithram Trivandrum, The Capital – Trivandrum City, Hycinth by Sparsa, The Residency Tower, Hotel Pankaj and Hotel Town Tower etc. These hotels provide luxury.
Where Else to Stay
There are also cheap hotels and mid-range hotels available in the city so as to have stay at reasonable prices. People of mid-income level use to stay there.
There are many festivals which are celebrated here with great joy and enjoyment. These festivals are: Alpashy (October/November) and Painkuni (March/April). These festivals are concluded with the Aarattu (sacred bath).
There are many visiting places near this temple. These places are: Kuthiramalika Palace Museum, Lighthouse Beach, Shri Chitra Art Gallery, Natural History Museum, Shanghumugham Beach, Zoological Gardens & Museums, Puthe Maliga Palace Museum, Chacha Nehru Children Memorial, Kanteswaram Temple, Ramya Theatre, Gandhi Park and East Fort etc.
Yatris should have personal diary with them in order to trace the whole visit in a written form so as to remember the happy moments. Yatris should enter the shrine in the prescribed dress code. They also should have travel guide in order to have the complete knowledge of the visit. They should contain the first aid.
Thus, a time to god devotion is the holy visit to Padmanabhaswamy Temple.