Admire this beautiful Hindu temple complex, which is renowned for its Dravidian architecture, elaborate murals and shrines to Vishnu.
Padmanabhaswami Temple is a major spiritual center for Hindus. With millions of dollars’ worth of gold and treasures within its walls, it is also one of the richest temples in India. The complex is open only to practicing Hindus wearing traditional dress, although the beauty of the buildings may be enjoyed from the outside by anyone. If you are a member of the Hindu faith, wander through holy halls and shrines and admire the many carvings and statues of deities and idols.
Padmanabhaswami Temple has been referenced by Tamil manuscripts as far back as the 5th century, although its more modern structures were not built until 1729. There are nine entrances, aligning with the Hindu concept of the human body having nine orifices.
Go to the main shrine, the sanctum sanctorum, and study the series of murals on its outer walls. They depict the different reincarnations of Vishnu as well as scenes from scriptures. The longest of these murals stretches an impressive 18 feet (5.5 meters). Inside the shrine, experience the peaceful aura of a statue of Padmanabha. The Hindu sage is seen in a contemplative pose, sitting atop the serpent Anantha.
Nearby, the Thekkedom shrine pays tribute to the deity Ugra Narasimha. Inspect the idols that stand watch around the chambers then view the sacred stones of the adjacent Thiruvambadi Sree Krishnaswamy Temple.
Non-Hindu visitors can admire the stunning gopuram, a seven-tiered pyramid structure that rises up approximately 115 feet (35 meters). Its ornate carvings, granite pillars and whitewashed façade are typical of Pandyan dynasty architecture. At the top of the tower are seven golden domes.
Walk through the thoroughfare in front of the gopuram, which is lined with silk salesmen and snack stalls. Enjoy an afternoon break here with a cup of Indian-style tea and some fried banana chips.
Padmanabhaswami Temple is situated in the East Fort area of Thiruvananthapuram, a short walk from Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station. The temple is open daily and is free to enter.