Kerala is truly ‘God’s Own Country’ with its vast treasure trove of natural beauty, historical monuments, amazing cuisine and delightful traditions. It’s on the global map as a major tourist destination too, both for foreigners as well as from other parts of India.
Trivandrum, the coastal capital city of Kerala offers you great historical, art and architectural beauty. The Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple located in the heart of the city within the East Fort area is one such example. It is the richest temple in the world with a wealth of around $1 trillion.
Its architectural design is an intricate fusion of the Kerala and Dravidian styles of temple building. The origins of this temple are literally untraceable as there are no historical documents available to date its antiquity. There are some scholars, and historians that place the timing to around 5000 BC, on the first day of Kali Yuga.
The current structure of the temple has been added to over the centuries with the towering Gopuram (gateway) having been added in the 16th century. The temple has nine gateways, with three entrances have double-storied ‘Padippuras’ built in the typical Kerala style. The main Gopuram on the eastern side can be seen from far and wide and is 7-storied high and built in the typical Dravidian style. It has numerous intricately carved sculptures adorning it and the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu can be seen depicted in the first level. This glorious Gopuram also has an underground level where traditional dances are performed during temple festivals.
The temple is a magnificent edifice of architectural beauty that worked into stone and bronze and also includes ancient mural paintings and wooden carvings. The presiding deity here is Lord Vishnu reclining on ‘Anantha’, a hooded serpent. It is an 18-feet long idol covered in 36kg of gold plating. It can be viewed through three small doorways, with the head showing through the first doorway, the hands through the second and the feet through the last doorway.
Some interesting places to see include the ‘Bali Peeda Mandapam’ and ‘Mukha Mandapam’, halls with beautiful sculptures of various deities. The ‘Navagraha Mandapam’ has a ceiling depicting the heavenly bodies. There is also a corridor with 365 exquisitely carved granite pillars extending from the eastern entrance.
Admiring this great work of art can take a whole day and you need to come prepared to stay-over. Raviz hotels offer you great options in Kovalam as well as in Kollam. Getting to Trivandrum is easy as it has an airport; the city also has three railway stations and is well-connected by highways.