Located in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is a shrine devoted to Lord Vishnu. This hallowed place is one of the wealthiest temples in India. Its assets belong to Lord Padmanabhaswamy, and are controlled by a trust run by the Royal family of Travancore. The temple has a heavy treasury which is estimated at some 32,000 crores. The monumental items in the sanctuary are worth 1.2 trillion (US$22 billion), making it the richest temple in the world.
The brilliantly constructed sanctorum is one of the 108 sacred ‘Divya Desams’ in India. Divya Desams are the enshrinements of Lord Vishnu. The presiding deity of this temple, Lord Vishnu is seen reclining on Anantha, the hooded Serpent. The revered idol is embedded with 12,008 salagramams, which were specially brought from the banks of River Gandhakari, Nepal. The 18 ft long statue of Lord Vishnu can be viewed from three different doors of the Temple.
The architecture is a fine synthesis of Kerala and Dravidian styles. Its structure is primarily made out of stone and bronze. The richness of the holy place is emulated in its awe inspiring interiors that are adorned with ornate paintings and fabulous murals. Adding to its glory is the ‘adhwaja stamba’ (flag post) which is about 80 ft high and is covered with gold plated copper sheets. Apart from the main shrine, there are also sub structures like, the ‘Bali Peeda Mandapam’ and ‘Mukha Mandapam’. These are halls, decorated with beautiful sculptures of various Hindu deities. Another marveling feature is the ‘Navagraha Mandapa’, the ceiling of which is laid with the navagrahas or the nine planets. The ornamental corridor to the East features sculptured granite-stone pillars which are festooned with resplendent carvings.
Sree Padmanbhaswamy Temple is stringent in its ways. The chaste place is open to Hindus only. Visitors need to be in a strict dress code to enter this pious place. Men should be in ‘dhotis’ and women should come clad in ‘sarees’. The worship hours are as under;
03:30 a.m. to 04:45 a.m. (Nirmalya Darshanam)
06:30 a.m. to 07:00 a.m.
8.30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
10:30 a.m. to 11:10 a.m.
11:45 a.m. to 12:00 Noon
05:00 p.m. to 06:15 p.m.
06:45 p.m. to 07:20 p.m.