Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple at Chennai. Tamil Nadu
The Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple is situated near the bus stand in Adyar, in Chennai the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu. The 50-year-old temple was built by the Adyar Hind Religious Society on a plot of land that was donated the Maharaja of Travancore His Highness Sri Padmanabha Daasa.
Influence religion and culture
As per the request of Lord Vishnu, there were three doors made to enable the darshan of the Lord. The three doors of the Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple represent life, birth and death. You can get a glimpse of Lord Vishnu’s face through the first door that stands for “Sthithi” or preservation and protection for the soul provided by Lord Vishnu. Through the second door, you can have a darshan of Lord Brahma, who is seated on a Lotus that originates from the navel of Lord Vishnu. It stands for “Shrishti” or creation. Lord Brahma is the creator whose form is seen through the second door. The third door is used to get a view of the lord’s feet. It is the wish of every person that the Lord will allow his soul a place at his feet after death.
The presiding deity
The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Vishnu, who is surrounded by 33 crore demigods and goddesses inside the sanctum sanctorum. The temple and its deity are replica of the original Vishnu temple at Trivandrum. Here, the presiding deity Lord Vishnu is the centerpiece of attraction. On either side of the presiding deity sit his two consorts. Other gods and goddesses are standing behind Lord Vishnu’s reclining figure. The right hand of the Lord hovers over a Shiva Lingam that depicts protection of the Lord provided for everyone.
Details of idol
The idol of Lord Vishnu lies on the coiled body of the holy serpent Adisesha. The Lord is reclining in the posture of the Anatha Sayanam or eternal sleep on the coils of Adisesha, who has five head on five hoods. Each hood represents one of the Panchabhootas or the five elements which are Earth, Fire, Wind Water and Space. A lotus rises from the navel of the reclining idol on which Lord Brahma is seated. The right hand of the Lord rests on a Shiva Lingam while the images of the lord’s two consorts Goddess Bhoodevi and Goddess Sridevi are seated in front of the idol.
Other nearby shrines
The temple complex has quite a few shrines other than the main shrine of the presiding deity. These shrines are dedicated to various Gods and Goddesses namely Goddess Durga, Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Garuda, Lord Sudharshana, Lord Anjayena, Lord Narshimha and Lord Vinayagar. There is also a shrine dedicated to the Navagrahas or nine planets inside the temple complex.
Rituals and worship
Lord Vishnu is worshipped in this temple by thousands of people who come here every year. The main theme of the puja consists of three stages that a person has in his life. Devotees worship the face of the Lord, which symbolizes Birth, through the first door. They worship life or the image of Brahma through the second door. The third door stands for salvation that can be obtained by finding a place at the feet of the Lord. These three periods in the life of a man are mainly worshipped here. Only people belonging to the Hindu faith are allowed to enter the temple premises. People are not allowed to smoke or chew betel leaves inside the temple complex.
Special festivals and events
The special occasions or festivals connected to this temple are Srivaikuntha Ekadasi, Brahmotsavam and Navarathri. The Srivaikuntha Ekadeshi is held during the months of December or January. This festival is also called Moksha Ekadeshi as the worship done during this period can help you achieve moksha or salvation. Devotees celebrate Brahmotsavam with much fanfare during the months of February and March. The festival begins with the worship of Lord Ganesh. The festival lasts for ten days when Lord Vishnu is taken out in processions through the streets. Navaratri is celebrated for nine days the months of September-October. Nava means nine and Ratri mean nights. As the name signifies, the festival is held for nine days and nights to commemorate the killing of Mahishashura by Goddess Durga. It is the greatest festival to be held with pomp and glory every tear. Other festivals comprise of Abhishekam, Rathotsavam, Sathanrayana, and many more that are held throughout the year.
Pilgrimage and tourism
Devotees from all over the country come to this temple to get the blessings of Lord Vishnu. They worship the Lord and the three aspects through the three doors and receive his blessings. Tourists from various countries and other parts of India also visit this temple to pray and worship The Supreme God.
Temple puja timings
As per the schedule set down in the Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple Timings, the temple is opened to the public at 6.00 a.m. every morning and is finally closed after 9.00 p.m. After opening the temple in the morning, the first puja that is performed is Pratha Kala at 7.00 a.m. After this, the Deepaarathanis is performed at 8.00 a.m. that is followed by the Utchi Kalam at 11.30 a.m. The recess in the afternoon is at 12.00 p.m. when the doors of the temple are closed. The temple again opens at 4.40 p.m. after which the Sayaratcha puja is held at 6.30 p.m. This is followed by Deeparathanai at 7.00 p.m. and Thertha Prasadam at 7.15 p.m. The temple closes at 9.00 in the evening for the final time.