Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple is located in Kerala’s capital city of Thiruvananthapuram. Infact it’s the temple which gave the capital city it’s name. ‘Thiru’ ‘Anantha’ ‘Puram’ means Sacred Abode of Bhagwan Anantha Padmanabha.
While the historians can’t determine with any exactitude the sources as to when or by whom the original Sree Padmanabhaswamy idol was created, the temple has references in various Hindu texts including the Puranas, Srimad Bhagavatha etc. The Temple has been referred to in the (only recorded) Sangam Period of Tamil literature between 500 B.C and 300 A.D several times.
The Principal Deity, Padmanabhaswamy, is enshrined in the “Anantha-sayanam” posture (in the eternal sleep of Yoga-nidra on the serpent Anantha). The idol of Sree Padmanabhaswamy is seen reclined on the mighty five hooded serpent Anantha. Anantha (or the endless) spreads its hoods above the head of the Idol. The three coils represent the three characteristics of mankind Sattva, Rajas and Tamas and its five hoods indicate the Panchendriyas(five senses) or the five elements(Panchabhootas). From the navel of the Lord emerges a lotus on which Lord Brahma, the Creator, is seated. Just below the stretched right arm of the Lord is the Shiva Linga of the Destroyer. Brahma, Vishnu (Padmanabha) and Shiva represent the ‘Srushti (Creation), Stithi (Existance) and Samharam (Destruction).
The sanctum sanctorum has three entrances representing the three stages of times. It is only through those doors that we can observe the Deity.
The Maharajah of Travancore bears the title, “Sree Padmanabhadasa’ (Servant of Bhagwan Padmanabha).