'Fortunate is one who has the opportunity to have darshan of the Sleeping Lord at Thiru Anantha Puram'- NamAzhvaar in his Thiruvoimozhi Praise
பேசுமின் கூச்சம் இன்றி, பெரிய நீர் வேலை சூழ்ந்து
வாசமே கமழும் சோலை வயல் அணி அனந்தபுரம்
நேசம் செய்து உரைகின்ரானை நெறிமையால் மலர்கள் தூவி
பூசனை செய்கின்றார்கள் புன்னையும் செய்தவாறே
Located in the heart of Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) half a km from the railway station is the 5000 year old Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Divya Desam, where the gigantic Lord Anantha Padmanabhan is seen in a Bhujanga Sayana Kolam.
There is reference in Bhagavatha Puranam of the visit to Syaananthapuram (Thiruvananthapuram) of Balarama and his stay here.
Wanting a darshan of Lord Vishnu, a Tulu Sage from Mangalore undertook penance. Pleased with his prayers, the Lord appeared before him as a small handsome child. Impressed with the child, the sage requested the child to stay with him.
Agreeing to the condition that the sage would not get angry on any count, the child lived along with the Sage. One day, while the sage was performing his pooja, the child picked up the sacred saligrama stone and began to play with it.
Angered at this gesture of the child, the sage lost his cool prompting the child to leave the place. The sage finally located the child under a tree near the Arabian Sea.
To his delight, the Lord appeared before the sage not as a child but in a gigantic form that did not stop growing. Unable to see the full form of the Lord, the sage requested to provide darshan in a form that he can see.
Lord to be seen through 3 different openings
Giving the huge size of the Sleeping Anantha Padmanabhaswamy, one is able to have the full darshan of the Lord from three different openings- Head from the Southern side, the body from another opening and the leg from a third entrance.
Please with the dedication of the Tulu sage, Anantha Padmanabhaswamy wanted the Tulu Brahmins to perform the pooja at this temple.
Another story goes that a Namboodari Brahmin, who found himself without an offering to the Lord, picked up a few mangoes from the tree and offered them to the Lord on a coconut shell. In memory of this event, the Lord is today offered mangoes on a golden coconut shell.
While the pooja service is performed by the Tulu Brahmins, the administration of the temple is by the Namboodaries.
Ramanuja's Visit and Absence of Garuda
Ramanuja made trips to Divya Desams such as Thiruvattaru and ThiruvanParisaram. From Anantha Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Garuda carried him fast that same night back to Thirukurungkudi. And to Ramanuja’s surprise, he was on top of the Thirukurungudi rock at the blink of an eye.
As a result of this event, it is believed that one does not find Garuda in the Anantha Padmanabhaswamy temple.
It is said that Cheraman Nayanar laid the foundation for this temple. After the poojas had stopped in the 17th Century AD and a subsequent fire at the temple led to the destruction of all the idols except the moolavar idol, Raja Marthanda Varma is credited with the complete renovation of the temple in the 18th Century AD. He used 12000 Sacred Saligrama Stones to reinstall a new Moolavar deity.
NamAzhvaar’s Thiruvoimozhi Praise
In his Thiruvoimozhi verses, NamAzhvaar refers to the sleeping posture atop the Serpant Lord. He also makes a mention of this place ( Thiru Anantha Puram) in every verse. The moment one visits the Lord who resides on Adisesha at Thiru Anantha Puram, all our problems will vanish. He goes on to praise him saying that even Lord Yama will stay away from us.
கெடும் இடர் ஆய் எல்லாம், கேசவா, என்ன நாளும்
கொடுவினை செய்யும் கூற்றின்
தமர்களும் குறுககில்லார்விடம் உடை அரவில் பள்ளி விரும்பினான்
சுரும்பு அலற்றும், தடம் உடை வயல்
அனந்தபுரநகர் புகுத்தும் இன்றே
Moolavar : Anantha Padmanabhaswamy, East Facing Bhujanga Sayana Kolam
Thaayar : Hari Lakshmi
Time : 4am-1230pm and 5pm-730pm
Contact : 0471 2450233
Azhvaar : NamAzhvaar (Thiruvoimozhi 11 Paasurams)
How to reach
There are several express trains and buses from across the country to Thiruvananthapuram.
The temple is half a kilometre from the Trivandrum Central Railway Station.
One can reach the temple from the State bus stand by auto(Rs.20/-)