The rich, vibrant and ceremonial Painkuni festival of Padmanabhaswamy temple

It’s the best time to visit the Kerala capital, Thiruvananthapuram, as the Padmanabhaswamy temple here is celebrating the annual 10-day Painkuni festival. As part of the Painkuni festival, the main entrance of the temple at East Fort, is adorned with the fibre glass figures of Pancha Pandavas (the five Pandavas mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. According to religious beliefs, and traditions, the figures are put up at the eastern gate of the temple in order to appease Indra, also known as the God of Rain.

The eighth day of the festival (April 17, 2019) has significance in the sense that ‘Valiya Kanikka’ is offered. During the night Sreebali, the priest offers the first Kanikka (offering to the lord) followed by the Valia Thampuran (the eldest male member of the Royal Family). Once the member from the royal family offers the kanikka, devotees will also offer the kanikka.

The ninth day of the festival is called Pallivetta (royal hunt). As the ruler of the land, the Swamy ventures to hunt down and annihilate all the ills. In a temporarily erected grove, the royal family member, who is considered as the representative of the Lord, aims an arrow on a tender coconut which symbolizes evil.

On the tenth day is the Aarat (procession to the beach to have holy bath). The priests will carry the vehicles of the lord and after two circumambulations inside the temple by around 4.30 pm, all the vehicles will be taken out through the west entrance of the temple. The Valiya Thampuran and other male members of the royal family escort the deities with swords and shields. There will be devotees on each side of the road to have a glance of the Padmanabhaswamy on the procession’s way to the Shanghumugham beach to have the holy bath. When the procession exits through the western gate of the temple, 1001 maroons are burst. The procession reaches the Sanghumugham beach by around 6.30 pm and after the special pujas by the chief priest, the head of the royal family and the priest will take a holy dip in the sea with the idol. After this ritual, the ceremonial flag is lowered at the temple. On the day of the aarat procession on April 19, devotees can enter the temple between 8.30 amd and 10 am.

The nearest railway station is Thiruvananthapuram Central, while the nearest airport is Trivandrum International Airport, for those who are interested to witness this ceremonial festivities.

For more details on the timings and dress code of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, click on the link here:  https://tourismnewslive.com/2019/04/12/trivandrum-diaries-padmanabhaswamy-temple-and-kuthiramalika/