Sri Ananta Padmanabha temple is one of the most prominent temples of India. It is considered as one of the 108 Vaishnava temples (divya sthanam), one of the seven moksha sthalas and one of the six Narayana sthalas. Lord Balarama, Lord Nityananda and Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu visited this temple. The temple is located inside the east fort in the city of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India. It is the holiest abodes of Lord Vishnu. The main deity, Sri Padmanabhaswamy, is a form of Vishnu in Anantha sayanam posture (in yogic eternal sleep of yoga-nidra). This is an ancient temple and the city of Thiruvananthapuram derives its name from the name of the presiding Deity enshrined in the temple. This city is also called Syanandoora puram.
Inside the temple altar, Lord Vishnu is in a reclining position over Ananta Shesha. He is enjoying the aroma emanating from the lotus held in His left hand, and His right hand is blessing Lord Siva. There are three doors through which we can have the darshan – the Lord’s face, then His Navel and His lotus feet. Through the first door, the worship is offered to Siva; through the second entrance Brahma prays to Lord Vishnu from his lotus navel, and through the third door is Lord Vishnu’s lotus feet, which are the only shelter and suitable means for a devotee of Lord by which one can cross over the ocean of material existence. Sri Devi and Bhu Devi, the two consorts of Lord Vishnu stand by His side and Lord Brahma is seen on a lotus, which emanates from the navel of Vishnu. Sages Bhrigu, Markandeya and assembly of celestials like Narada etc. are also present.
Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple is considered as one of the seven Parasurama Kshetras. Texts including the Puranas, particularly the Skanda Purana,Padma Purana, Vayu Purana, Varaha Purana and Brahmanda Purana have references to this holy site. In the Padma Purana, there is reference to the temple of Ananta sayanam, where the Lord Vishnu is having his yoga-nidra. In the Skanda Purana, Sethu Mahatmya, Brahmakhanda Chapter-52, verses 102 to 105 indicates the most important places of pilgrimages which include the Ananta Padmanabha Swamy temple. It is also mentioned in the Srimad-Bhagavatam canto 10 chapter 79 that Lord Balarama visited “Syanandoorapuram” in the course of His pilgrimage. An entire chapter named Anantapura Mahatmyam in Brahmanda Purana is dedicated to this temple.
Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came here to Sri Ananta Padmanabha temple during His South India tour as mentioned in Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya Lila 9.241-242. Lord spent two to three days before the beautiful darshan of Sri Ananta Padmanabha Swamy in chanting and dancing to the kirtan of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Here, Lord Vishnu gave darshan to sages like Divakar Muni and Bilvamangala Thakur.