Difference between revisions of "Padmanābha Temple"

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<small>By Swami Harshananda</small>
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Padmanābha Temple
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Temples and places of worship, especially those connected with the lives of great saints or miraculous incidents, have been an integral part of Hindu religion
 +
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and culture. Places associated with such temples, soon become important centres of pilgrimage, attracting thousands of devotees every year especially on special occasions.
 +
 +
One such place in the extremity of South India is the Padmanābha Temple of Tiruvanantapuram (or Trivandrum), the Capital of the Kerala State. It is a Viṣṇu temple with the image in the śayāna or reclining posture, resting on the great serpent Ananta (or Seṣa). Hence, it is also known as the Anantaśayana Temple. Since the image of Viṣṇu has padma or lotus with Brahmā (the creator) seated on it, he is also known as Padmanābha or Padmanābhasvāmi (one who has the lotus in his navel).
 +
 +
Considered one among the 108 Viṣṇu temples sacred to the followers of the Viṣṇu cult, it has been praised by Nammālvār, the last of the Alvārs (in his Tiruvāymoli). (See ĀLVĀRS.) Since he is assigned to the 9th century A. D., this temple must be considered as much older than that period.
 +
 +
There are several local legends that describe how this temple came into being. The Lord is said to have revealed Himself in this form to the sage Divākaramuni who was an ardent devotee of Kṛṣṇa.
 +
 +
According to another version, the revelation came to the sage Vilvamaṅgal (known as Vilvamañgalattu Svāmiyār in Malayālam language) who saw the Lord in a place in a forest, where a big tree collapsed, giving rise to the vision.
 +
 +
It is reasonable to believe that though the temple is quite ancient, it must have undergone several renovations and changes.
 +
 +
The temple seems to have been connected with several royal dynasties like the Ay dynasty (300 B. C.), the Cera kings (of Tamil Nadu and Kerala) and the rulers of Venad (in Kerala).
 +
 +
The most significant event in the history of this temple is the total surrender of the kingdom to the Lord Padmanābha by the famous king Mārtāṇḍa Varma (during his rule in A. D. 1729-1758), who assumed the title ‘Padmanābhadāsa’ and started ruling as the Lord’s servant. He is said to have reconstructed the temple including the replacement of the old idol made of wood, with a new one fashioned out of 1200 Śālagrāmas (round stone-emblems of Viṣṇu).
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 +
The temple faces east and is spread out over an area of 2.8 hectares (7 acres). It is enclosed on all sides by a high granite wall, the height ranging from 4.5 to 6.0 metres (15 to 20 ft.).
 +
 +
The garbhagṛha (sanctum sanctorum) is a rectangle measuring 7.2 metres (24 ft.) in length, 5.4 metres (18 ft.) in width and
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 +
12 metres (40 ft.) in height.
 +
 +
The reclining image of Lord Padmanābha is 5.4 metres (18 ft.) in length. It is facing east, with the head to the south and the feet to the north. From the nābhi or navel, rises a padma or lotus on which is a small figure of Brahmā, the four faced creator of the world. The serpent Ananta (or Śeṣa) has five hoods and three coils, the latter forming the bed for the Lord and the former acting as a protective umbrella.
 +
 +
The posture is Yogaśayana and the idol itself is classed among the Uttama-yoga-murtis.
 +
 +
Since the outer part of the image is
 +
 +
made of wood of certain medicinal trees and a mixture called katusarkarayoga, ceremonial bathing with water is never performed.
 +
 +
There are three main doors for the sanctum, to see the image, the three giving a view of the head or the face, the navel and the feet.
 +
 +
Other important structures and features of this temple-complex are: dhvaja-stambha (wooden flagstaff covered with gold plates and 24 metres or 80 ft. in height); temples or shrines of other deities like Rāmasvāmi, Narasimhasvāmi, Viṣvak-sena, Gaṇapati, Śiva, and Sāstā (Ayyappa); Srībalipura (a long paved corridor running all round, with 324 pillars and a covered roof); the Oṭṭakkal-maṇṭapa, a pavilion made of one huge stone; the Kulaśekhara maṇṭapa containing several beautifully sculptured images; mural paintings inside the sanctum and many other features.
 +
 +
When one presses his ear against the northern outer wall of the sanctum, he hears the ‘sounds of waves,’ believed to be those of the kṣīrasamudra (the ocean of milk) on which the Lord is resting!
 +
 +
The temple has four chief priests called ‘nambies’. They are assisted by 24 pottis or assistant priests.
 +
 +
Daily rituals start at 3:30 A.M. and come to a close by late night. There are also quite a few monthly, bi-annual and annual rites.
 +
 +
The most important and spectacular festival is the Murajapam, followed by the Laksadīpam. It is celebrated once in six years and is spread over 56 days. During the latter festival, the entire gopuram (tower) and other parts of the temple are lighted with oil lamps giving a magnificent
 +
 +
view of the gopuram in the waters of the temple-tank.
 +
 +
This festival, as is conducted now, is said to be only a faint shadow of the original grand festival, the last of which was held in A. D. 1960.
 +
 +
See also ANANTAŚAYANA.
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 +
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==References==
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{{reflist}}
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* The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore
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== OLD CONTENT ==
 
Padmanābha Temple
 
Padmanābha Temple
 
Temples and places of worship, espe¬cially those connected with the lives of great saints or miraculous incidents, have been an integral part of Hindu religion
 
Temples and places of worship, espe¬cially those connected with the lives of great saints or miraculous incidents, have been an integral part of Hindu religion

Revision as of 09:19, 12 October 2014

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Padmanabha Temple, PadmanAbha Temple, Padmanaabha Temple


Padmanābha Temple

Temples and places of worship, especially those connected with the lives of great saints or miraculous incidents, have been an integral part of Hindu religion

and culture. Places associated with such temples, soon become important centres of pilgrimage, attracting thousands of devotees every year especially on special occasions.

One such place in the extremity of South India is the Padmanābha Temple of Tiruvanantapuram (or Trivandrum), the Capital of the Kerala State. It is a Viṣṇu temple with the image in the śayāna or reclining posture, resting on the great serpent Ananta (or Seṣa). Hence, it is also known as the Anantaśayana Temple. Since the image of Viṣṇu has padma or lotus with Brahmā (the creator) seated on it, he is also known as Padmanābha or Padmanābhasvāmi (one who has the lotus in his navel).

Considered one among the 108 Viṣṇu temples sacred to the followers of the Viṣṇu cult, it has been praised by Nammālvār, the last of the Alvārs (in his Tiruvāymoli). (See ĀLVĀRS.) Since he is assigned to the 9th century A. D., this temple must be considered as much older than that period.

There are several local legends that describe how this temple came into being. The Lord is said to have revealed Himself in this form to the sage Divākaramuni who was an ardent devotee of Kṛṣṇa.

According to another version, the revelation came to the sage Vilvamaṅgal (known as Vilvamañgalattu Svāmiyār in Malayālam language) who saw the Lord in a place in a forest, where a big tree collapsed, giving rise to the vision.

It is reasonable to believe that though the temple is quite ancient, it must have undergone several renovations and changes.

The temple seems to have been connected with several royal dynasties like the Ay dynasty (300 B. C.), the Cera kings (of Tamil Nadu and Kerala) and the rulers of Venad (in Kerala).

The most significant event in the history of this temple is the total surrender of the kingdom to the Lord Padmanābha by the famous king Mārtāṇḍa Varma (during his rule in A. D. 1729-1758), who assumed the title ‘Padmanābhadāsa’ and started ruling as the Lord’s servant. He is said to have reconstructed the temple including the replacement of the old idol made of wood, with a new one fashioned out of 1200 Śālagrāmas (round stone-emblems of Viṣṇu).

The temple faces east and is spread out over an area of 2.8 hectares (7 acres). It is enclosed on all sides by a high granite wall, the height ranging from 4.5 to 6.0 metres (15 to 20 ft.).

The garbhagṛha (sanctum sanctorum) is a rectangle measuring 7.2 metres (24 ft.) in length, 5.4 metres (18 ft.) in width and

12 metres (40 ft.) in height.

The reclining image of Lord Padmanābha is 5.4 metres (18 ft.) in length. It is facing east, with the head to the south and the feet to the north. From the nābhi or navel, rises a padma or lotus on which is a small figure of Brahmā, the four faced creator of the world. The serpent Ananta (or Śeṣa) has five hoods and three coils, the latter forming the bed for the Lord and the former acting as a protective umbrella.

The posture is Yogaśayana and the idol itself is classed among the Uttama-yoga-murtis.

Since the outer part of the image is

made of wood of certain medicinal trees and a mixture called katusarkarayoga, ceremonial bathing with water is never performed.

There are three main doors for the sanctum, to see the image, the three giving a view of the head or the face, the navel and the feet.

Other important structures and features of this temple-complex are: dhvaja-stambha (wooden flagstaff covered with gold plates and 24 metres or 80 ft. in height); temples or shrines of other deities like Rāmasvāmi, Narasimhasvāmi, Viṣvak-sena, Gaṇapati, Śiva, and Sāstā (Ayyappa); Srībalipura (a long paved corridor running all round, with 324 pillars and a covered roof); the Oṭṭakkal-maṇṭapa, a pavilion made of one huge stone; the Kulaśekhara maṇṭapa containing several beautifully sculptured images; mural paintings inside the sanctum and many other features.

When one presses his ear against the northern outer wall of the sanctum, he hears the ‘sounds of waves,’ believed to be those of the kṣīrasamudra (the ocean of milk) on which the Lord is resting!

The temple has four chief priests called ‘nambies’. They are assisted by 24 pottis or assistant priests.

Daily rituals start at 3:30 A.M. and come to a close by late night. There are also quite a few monthly, bi-annual and annual rites.

The most important and spectacular festival is the Murajapam, followed by the Laksadīpam. It is celebrated once in six years and is spread over 56 days. During the latter festival, the entire gopuram (tower) and other parts of the temple are lighted with oil lamps giving a magnificent

view of the gopuram in the waters of the temple-tank.

This festival, as is conducted now, is said to be only a faint shadow of the original grand festival, the last of which was held in A. D. 1960.

See also ANANTAŚAYANA.


References

  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

OLD CONTENT

Padmanābha Temple Temples and places of worship, espe¬cially those connected with the lives of great saints or miraculous incidents, have been an integral part of Hindu religion and culture. Places associated with such temples, soon become important centres of pilgrimage, attracting thousands of devotees every year especially on special occasions. One such place in the extremity of South India is the Padmanābha Temple of Tiruvanantapuram (or Trivandrum), the Capital of the Kerala State. It is a Viṣṇu temple with the image in the śayāna or reclining posture, resting on the great serpent Ananta (or Seṣa). Hence, it is also known as the Anantaśayana Temple. Since the image of Viṣṇu has padma or lotus with Brahmā (the creator) seated on it, he is also known as Padmanābha or Padmanābhasvāmi (one who has the lotus in his navel). Considered one among the 108 Viṣṇu temples sacred to the followers of the Viṣṇu cult, it has been praised by Nammālvār, the last of the Alvārs (in his Tiruvāymoli). (See ĀLVĀRS.) Since he is assigned to the 9th century A. D., this temple must be considered as much older than that period. There are several local legends that describe how this temple came into being. The Lord is said to have revealed Himself in this form to the sage Divākaramuni who was an ardent devotee of Kṛṣṇa. According to another version, the revelation came to the sage Vilvamaṅgal (known as Vilvamañgalattu Svāmiyār in Malayālam language) who saw the Lord in a place in a forest, where a big tree collapsed, giving rise to the vision. It is reasonable to believe that though the temple is quite ancient, it must have undergone several renovations and changes. The temple seems to have been connected with several royal dynasties like the Ay dynasty (300 B. C.), the Cera kings (of Tamil Nadu and Kerala) and the rulers of Venad (in Kerala). The most significant event in the history of this temple is the total surrender of the kingdom to the Lord Padmanābha by the famous king Mārtāṇḍa Varma (during his rule in A. D. 1729-1758), who assumed the title ‘Padmanābhadāsa’ and started ruling as the Lord’s servant. He is said to have reconstructed the temple including the replacement of the old idol made of wood, with a new one fashioned out of 1200 Śālagrāmas (round stone- emblems of Viṣṇu). The temple faces east and is spread out over an area of 2.8 hectares (7 acres). It is enclosed on all sides by a high granite wall, the height ranging from 4.5 to 6.0 metres (15 to 20 ft.). The garbhagṛha (sanctum sanctorum) is a rectangle measuring 7.2 metres (24 ft.) in length, 5.4 metres (18 ft.) in width and 12 metres (40 ft.) in height. The reclining image of Lord Padma¬nābha is 5.4 metres (18 ft.) in length. It is facing east, with the head to the south and the feet to the north. From the nābhi or navel, rises a padma or lotus on which is a small figure of Brahmā, the four faced creator of the world. The serpent Ananta (or Śeṣa) has five hoods and three coils, the latter forming the bed for the Lord and the former acting as a protective umbrella. The posture is Yogaśayana and the idol itself is classed among the Uttama- yoga-murtis. Since the outer part of the image is made of wood of certain medicinal trees and a mixture called katusarkarayoga, ceremonial bathing with water is never performed. There are three main doors for the sanctum, to see the image, the three giving a view of the head or the face, the navel and the feet. Other important structures and fea¬tures of this temple-complex are: dhvaja- stambha (wooden flagstaff covered with gold plates and 24 metres or 80 ft. in height); temples or shrines of other deities like Rāmasvāmi, Narasimhasvāmi, Viṣvak- sena, Gaṇapati, Siva, and Sāstā (Ayyappa); Srībalipura (a long paved corridor running all round, with 324 pillars and a covered roof); the Oṭṭakkal-maṇṭapa, a pavilion made of one huge stone; the Kulaśekhara maṇṭapa containing several beautifully sculptured images; mural paintings inside the sanctum and many other features. When one presses his ear against the northern outer wall of the sanctum, he hears the ‘sounds of waves,’ believed to be those of the kṣīrasamudra (the ocean of milk) on which the Lord is resting! The temple has four chief priests called ‘nambies’. They are assisted by 24 pottis or assistant priests. Daily rituals start at 3:30 A.M. and come to a close by late night. There are also quite a few monthly, bi-annual and annual rites. The most important and spectacular festival is the Murajapam, followed by the Laksadīpam. It is celebrated once in six years and is spread over 56 days. During the latter festival, the entire gopuram (tower) and other parts of the temple are lighted with oil lamps giving a magnificent view of the gopuram in the waters of the temple-tank. This festival, as is conducted now, is said to be only a faint shadow of the original grand festival, the last of which was held in A. D. 1960. See also ANANTAŚAYANA.