Architecture & Culture and Architectural Styles

Topics: Hinduism

The following sample essay tells all about architecture and culture as well as architectural styles. Read the introduction, body and conclusion of the essay, scroll down.

The temple, constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, is glorified in the Divya Prabandha, the early medieval Tamil literature canon of the Tamil Alvar saints (6th-9th centuries CE), with structural additions to it made throughout the 16th century CE, when its ornate Gopuram was constructed. The most recent renovations to the temple occurred in the 18th century CE.

The temple features heavily in Akilam five series of the Akilathirattu Ammanai corpus, the holy text of the Ayyavazhi belief system.

Services were provided to the local community with the temple’s revenue. The temple gave its name to Kerala’s state capital Thiruvananthapuram. ‘Thiru’ ‘Anantha’ ‘Puram’ means Sacred Abode of Lord Anantha Padmanabha. The principal deity, Padmanabhaswamy, is enshrined in the “Anantha-sayanam” posture (in the eternal sleep of Yoga-nidra on the serpent Ananta). The Travancore Kings regarded themselves as ‘Padmanabha-dasa’ (Servant of Lord Padmanabha).

History In ealier years[when?  Padmanabhaswamy Temple and its properties were controlled by eight powerful Nair feudal lords known as Ettuveetil Pillamar (Lords of the Eight Houses), under the guidance of the Council of Eight and a Half. In a battle of succession in the 18th century, King Anizham Thirunal Valiya Marthanda Varma, the ruler traditionally regarded as the founder of Travancore, successfully suppressed the Ettuveetil Pillais and his cousins following the discovery of conspiracies the Lords were involved in against the Royal House of Travancore.

Get quality help now

Proficient in: Hinduism

4.7 (657)

“ Really polite, and a great writer! Task done as described and better, responded to all my questions promptly too! ”

+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

The last major renovation of the Padmanabhaswamy temple was also done by Marthanda Varma.

On January 3, 1750, Anizham Thirunal “surrendered” the kingdom of Travancore to Padmanabha, the deity at the temple, and pledged that he and his descendants would “serve” the kingdom asPadmanabha Dasa. Since then, the name of every Travancore King was preceded by the title Padmanabha Dasa, while the female members of the Royal family were called Padmanabha Sevinis. The donation of the Kingdom to Sree Padmanabhaswamy was known as Thripadidanam and afterwards the Maharaja was known as Sree Padmanabha Dasa Vanchipala Varma Kulashekara Kireetapati.

By surrendering the kingdom to Lord Padmanabha, the whole Travancore state became the property of Sree Padmanabhaswamy. The temple The history of the temple dates back to the 8th Century CE, when Thiruvananthapuram was ruled by the Chera Dynasty. The Divya Prabandhacanon of literature by the Alvars glorifies this shrine as one of 11 Divya Desams in Kerala. It is said that there are references to this temple in four puranas; namely Brahma, Vayu, Varaha, Padma. The 8th century Alvar poet Nammalvar created four slokas and one phalasruthi about this temple. Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple Padmanabhaswamy Temple stands at a place considered one of the seven Parasurama Kshetras; texts including the Puranas, particularly theSkanda Purana and Padma Purana, have references to this shrine. Entrance of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple The two annual festivals of the Padmanabhaswamy Temple culminate in a grand procession, in which the three deities (Padmanabha, Narasimha andKrishna) are carried on flower-deck and aesthetically decorated Garuda Vahanas to Shankumugham Beach, for “arattu” (sacramental ablution).

The arattu days are declared as local public holidays in Thiruvanathapuram. [edit]Gopuram The foundation of the present gopuram was laid in 1566.  The temple has a 100-foot, seven-tier gopuram made in the Pandyan style. The temple stands by the side of a tank, named Padma Theertham (meaning the lotus spring). The temple has a corridor with 365 and one-quarter sculptured granite-stone pillars with elaborate carvings. This corridor extends from the eastern side into the sanctum sanctorum. An eighty-foot flag-staff stands in front of the main entry from the ‘prakaram’ (corridor).

The ground floor under the gopuram (main entrance in the eastern side) is known as the ‘Nataka Sala’ where the famous temple art Kathakali was staged in the night during the ten-day uthsavam (festival) conducted twice a year, during the Malayalam months of Meenam and Thulam. This article may contain wording that merely promotes the subject without imparting verifiable information. Please remove or replace such wording, unless you can cite independent sources that support the characterization. In the Sreekovil, Vishnu is depicted in a reclining position over the serpent Anantha or Adi Sesha. The serpent has his face pointed inwards (signifying contemplation). The Lord’s right hand hangs over Shiva. Sridevi, the Goddess of Prosperity and Bhudevi the Goddess of the Earth, two consorts of Vishnu stand by his side and the god Brahma emerges on a lotus, which emanates from the navel of Vishnu. The idol is said to be made from 12008 Saligram. These Saligram are from the banks of the Gandaki River in Nepal, and it is believed that they were brought with much ceremony on elephants.

The idol is covered with, “Katusarkara yogam”, a special ayurvedic mix, was used to make a plaster which keeps the deity clean. The daily worship is with flowers and for the abhishekam, special deities are used. The flowers have always been removed using peacock feathers fearing damage to the katusarkara.  The platform in front of vimanam and where the deity rests are both carved out of a single stone and hence called “Ottakkal Mandapam”. In order to perform darshan and puja, one has to climb on to the Mandapam.

The deity is visible through three doors – Face of the Lord and Siva Linga underneath his hand in the first door, Brahma seated on lotus emanating from the Lord’s navel along with the “Utsava moorthi” and deities of Lord Vishnu, Sridevi and Bhudevi in the second door and the Lord’s feet in the third door. Only the King of Travancore may perform Namaskaram, or bow prostrate on the “Ottakkal Mandapam”. It is traditionally held that anybody who bows prostrates on the mandapam has surrendered all that he/she possesses to the deity.

Since the ruler has already done that, he/she is permitted to bow on this mandapam. There are other important shrines inside the temple for Hindu deities Sri Narasimha, Sri Krishna, Sri Ayyappa, Sri Ganesha and Sri Hanuman. Many other small shrines like Kshetrapalan (who guards the temple), Vishwaksena and Sri Garuda are also present. The approach road to Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple Legend There are many legends regarding the origin of the temple. One such legend says that Vilvamangalathu Swamiyar alias Divakara Muni prayed to Krishna for his darshan.

Krishna came in disguise as a small, mischievous boy. The boy swallowed the Saligrama which was kept in Puja. The Sage became enraged at this and chased the boy until the boy hid himself behind a tree. The tree fell down and became Vishnu in Anantha Shayanam (reclining posture on Anantha the serpent) – but when he did so, he was of an extraordinarily large size. The Sage, recognizing that the tree was Vishnu, pleaded that because of the huge form the lord had manifested before him he could not either have a mind fulfilling darshan or circumambulate him.

He then asked the Lord to shrink to a smaller proportion – thrice the length of his staff. Immediately, the idol shrank, and the Lord instructed the sage that he should be worshipped through three doors. These doors are now the doors in the temple through which the idol may be viewed. Through the first door, the worship is offered to Shiva; through the second entrance to Brahma on the Lord’s lotus navel, and through the third is Vishnu’s feet, which are said to lead to salvation.  Another story tells of a pulaya couple seeing Vishnu in the form of a child.

The child took morsels of rice from the hands of the couple. Also it is believed that Divakaramuni, when he saw the deity, took the first food item he saw which was an unripe Mango on a coconut shell as an offering plate and performed primary pooja. To this day, the naivedyam or offering of unripe mango is offered to the deity here in the same coconut shell that Divakara Muni offered his prasadam to the Lord. Millions of devotees believe that the Lord has personally come in disguise and had saved the Travancore Kingdom from enemy attack on multiple occasions. Naivedyam or offering to Perumal Apart from the usual rice offering various other items are offered including Retna Payasam or offering of Payasam in a Gem studded Golden Vessel, Meni Thula Payasam or the Delicious Rice and Jaggery Pudding entirely made in Ghee, Pal Manga, Otta Thula Payasam, Panthranu Kalam Payasam, and Paal Payasam (Milk and Rice Pudding) which is very famous. During Thursdays, special Panakam is offered to the Lord Narasimha. Unni Appam, Mothakam, Aval with sugar is also offered to the Lord. citation needed] But the most important Nivedyam in this Temple is the Uppu Manga (unripe mango soaked in brine water) which is offered in a gold covered chiratta or coconut shell. This coconut shell is more than 1200 years old. The Great Sage Vilwamangalathu Divakara Acharyar offered an unripe mango in this very same coconut shell and it is still preserved. Darshan, sevas and festivals NarasimhaSwamy & PadmanabhaSwamy after coming from Shankumuka Beach during Aarat Festival There are many festivals related to this temple.

The major festivals are bi-annual. The Alpashy festival which is in October/November and the Painkuni festival which is in March/April, lasts for 10 days each. These festivals culminate with the Aarat (holy bath) procession to the Shankumugham Beach. The word Aaratrefers to the purificatory immersion of the deities of the temple in sea. This event takes place in the evening. The King of Travancore escorts the Aaratprocession by foot. The festival idols “Utsava Vigrahas” of Sri Padmanabhaswamy, Krishna and Narasimha are given a ritual bath in the sea, after the prescribed pujas.

After this ceremony, the idols are taken back to the temple in a procession that is lit by traditional torches, marking the conclusion of the festival. A major annual festival related to Padmanabha temple is the Navaratri festival. The idols of Saraswati, Durga, and Murugan are brought to the kuthira malikapalace in front of Padmanabha temple as a procession. This festival lasts for 9 days. The famous Swathi music festival is held every year during this festival. Big Idol of Pandavas displayed during Panguni festival The biggest festival in this temple is laksha deepam, which means hundred thousand (or one lakh) lamps.

This festival is unique and commences once in 6 years. Prior to this festival, chanting of prayers and recitation of three vedas is done for 51 days. On the festival time, hundred thousand oil lamps are lit in and around the temple premises. The next laksha deepam is slated on January 2014 Temple Tower during LakshaDeepam Festival The temple is not a part of Travancore Devaswom Board. Its control rests with a trust headed by the Maharaja of Travancore. Darshan times are (before noon) (after noon)

In line with the Temple Entry Proclamation, only those who profess the Hindu faith are permitted entry to the temple. Devotees have to strictly follow the dress code. Men should remove clothes above waist and deposit in the locker room. No one is permitted to wear dress that displays both legs separately, implying the prohibition of trousers for men and women. Dhotis can be borrowed at the locker room for Rs. 15. Dhotis can be worn over pants or churidhar. No cell phones or cameras are permitted inside the temple. Cell phones must be deposited in the locker room after taking it out of the bag for Rs. 15 a piece.

Hand bags are permitted inside. Compositions Nammalvar had sung in praise of Lord Padmanabha Swamy. Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma wrote many songs on Sri Padmanabha. Most of these songs have the word Padmanabha in them. Temple assets | Wikinews has related news:Hidden treasure worth billions of dollars discovered in Indian temple The temple and its assets belong to Lord Padmanabhaswamy, and are controlled by a trust run by the Royal family. The royals consider themselves Padmanabhadasas i servants of Padmanabhaswamy.  There had been an earlier inventory of at least one vault on Sunday, December 6, 1931. A vault was opened in the presence of Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, then the Maharaja of the state of Travancore. Among the contents found were gold and silver coins stored in a “granary like thing,” four brass chests of coins, over 300 gold pots, and a six-chambered wooden chest containing jewels decorated with diamonds, rubies, emeralds and other precious stones. Four coffers were removed and taken to the palace treasury for counting and valuation.  The Kerala High Court ordered the temple and its assets be managed by the State on January 31, 2011. As trustees of the temple, the royals have challenged the Kerala Govt. ‘s decision. The lower court’s ruling was set aside by the Supreme Court of India. The Supreme Court directed utmost security in and around the temple and asked the Central Valuation Institute of Lucknow for an inventory valuation.  In June 2011, the Supreme Court directed the authorities from the fire services and archeology department to open the secret (sanctum sanctorum) chambers of the temple for inspection of the items kept inside.

A detailed inventory of the temple assets, consisting of gold, jewels, and other valuables was made. Several 18th century Napoleonic era coins were found, as well as a three-and-a-half feet tall gold idol of Mahavishnu studded with rubies and emeralds, and ceremonial attire for adorning the deity in the form of 16-part gold anki weighing almost 30 kilograms (66 lb) together with gold coconut shells, one studded with rubies and emeralds.  This revelation has solidified the status of the Padmanabhaswamy temple as one of the wealthiest temples in India and with the final estimate of the wealth, it might overtake the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple—hitherto thought to be the wealthiest temple—having some   320 billion (US$7. 14 billion) in gold, coins and other assets.  It is estimated that the value of the monumental items is close to 1. 2 trillion (US$26. 76 billion), making it the richest temple in the world.  If the antique value is taken into account, these assets could be worth ten times the current market price.  The valuables are thought to have been in the temple for hundreds of years, having been put there by traders, pilgrims and royals such as the maharajahs of Travancore, and by offerings of Travancore kings, other royals and ordinary devotees to the deity.  While some Historians have suggested that a major chunk of the stored riches reached the kings in the form of tax, gifts, as well as conquered wealth of states and offerings stocked in the temple for safekeeping. 26] A ferry transported traders, pilgrims and chroniclers across the Gulf of Mannar from the Tenavaram temple, the famously wealthy Vishnu-Shiva temple town emporium to the Chera kingdom via Puttalam of the Jaffna kingdom during the medieval period.  This temple was destroyed in 1587 CE, a few years after the Thiruvananthapuram Padmanabhaswamy temple gopuram was constructed. Morrocan traveller Ibn Batuta visited Tenavaram in the 14th century and described the Vishnu idol here as being made of gold and the size of a man with two large rubies as eyes “that lit up like lanterns during the night.  All people living within the vicinity of the temple and who visited it were fed with monetary endowments that were made to the idol. The temple has 6 vaults (Kallaras), labeled as A to F for book keeping purpose by the Court. While vaults A and B have been unopened over the past 130 years, vaults C to F have been opened from time to time. The two priests of the temple, the ‘Periya Nambi’ and the ‘Thekkedom Nambi’, are the custodians of the four vaults, C to F, which are opened periodically. The Supreme Court had directed that “the existing practices, procedures and rituals” of he temple be followed while opening vaults C to F and using the articles inside. Vaults A and B shall be opened only for the purpose of making an inventory of the articles and then closed. On July 4, 2011 the seven-member expert team which is taking stock of the assets at temple decided to postpone opening of the secret chamber marked ‘B’ till they obtained more expert opinion as preliminary examination of its gates had found the vault to be secured with iron shutters making experts wonder what lay inside.

The royal family said that many legends were attached to the temple and that chamber B has a model of a snake on the main door and opening it could be a bad omen.  Seven-member team will consult with some more experts on July 8, 2011 and a then they may take the final decision on opening of chamber ‘B’.  In late June 2011, a review of the temple’s underground vaults was undertaken by a seven-member panel appointed by the Supreme Court of India to generate an inventory, leading to the enumeration of a vast collection of articles that are traditionally kept under lock and key.

Unofficial estimates on the sixth day of the inventory placed the value of contents at close to 100,000 crore (US$22. 3 billion), making it one of the wealthiest in the world, richer than the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh – by official records considered to be the richest shrine in India.  The precious articles come from the donations that were made by the Royal family and traders, who used to come from other parts of the country and abroad, as offerings to the deity, and were sealed within the thick stone walls and vaults of the temple for over a millennium. The final vault of the temple has an iron door with a picture of snake(a cobra) on it and it has not been opened, due to the belief that a curse befalls those who attempt to open it. Less than a month after the first of the secret vaults was opened, the chief petitioner for opening the vaults, T. P. Sundarrajan died after suffering from a sudden unexplained illness.  This has been dubbed as “The Curse of the Cobra” by the media.

Cite this page

Architecture & Culture and Architectural Styles. (2018, Jul 31). Retrieved from

Architecture & Culture and Architectural Styles
Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7