Lord Vishnu

Temple History

Adikesava Perumal Temple has been in existence for circa two and half thousand years. It is one of the 108 Vaishnava temples, Divya Desam, in India. However, during recent past its significance has become understated. The Deity is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Ananthasayanam, as Lord Adikesava he is in recumbent pose (Yoganidra), with eyes closed dreaming of manifesting the universe whilst reclining on the coiled body of the Serpent King, Adiseshan, who is a symbol for the beginning of time.

According to the Puranas, Lord Brahma performed a Yaga without Saraswathi Devi, as a result of Saraswathi’s anger two asuras, Kesan and Kesi emerged out of the sacrificial fire, these asuras troubled the Three Worlds. The Devas approached Vishnu for a solution. Following an almighty battle Lord Mahavishnu in the form of Kesava, Perumal defeated Kesan, and then to secure him Adiseshan coiled around him. This is how Lord Kesava Perumal became known as ‘Adi Kesavan’. The second asura Kesi, who had seen her brother Kesan defeated, wanted revenge and with her friend, Kothai they both took the form of rivers and surrounded the temple with the intention of submerging it. Bhoomi Devi (the earth Goddess) raised the temple away from the waters, and today the temple is surrounded by the rivers Parali and Kotha and stands at a height of 55 feet from ground level. The Puranas say ‘the rivers’ repented and were forgiven, then Perumal had a dip in Moovaatru Mukham, the place where the rivers joined with the Arabian sea and even today, during Painguni Utsavam, Perumal comes on a golden Garuda for a dip in the river, re-enacting the Shapa Vimochana incident.

Thiruvattar Temple is orbited by a protective necklace of Shivalingams, and in March, during Mahasivarathri, pilgrims visit these shrines chanting ‘Govinda’, Lord Vishnu’s name. The famous Shivalaya Ottam is said to be only complete when the devotees end their trip in the Perumal temple.

Typically a temple is built around a gigantic single block Mandapam stone on which the Vigraham/ idol is placed. The earthly representation of Adikesava is constructed as the human body, ?a Karungali wood framework forms his skeleton, a concoction of coconut husks adheres to the skeleton representing the nervous systems and 16,008 strategic Shaligrama stones from Nepal replicate his organs and his human form. His skin has seven applications of Kadusharkara Kalkam polished to perfection. His visions of evolution from fish to horseman are manifested in stone on the southern wall of the Ottakkal Mandapam; the last two avatars, Buddha and Kalki are being repaired and will soon return to the northern wall. The daily poojas are performed in the Archana Vigrahas and the daily Abhishekas (bathing) of the Lord takes place at the Ottakal Mandapam. Inside the Sanctum Santorum are the symbols of the Sun, Moon and manifestations of the Discus and Mace, Vishnu’s weapons. ?These ancient carvings according to Purana wisdom demonstrate the cosmic science of Hindus. Artistic wooden carvings are all around the temple and there are infinite geographical, architectural, astrological, historical and literal references to the divinity of the idol.

The Royal Family of Travancore have a long association with Thiruvattar. Previously nearby Padmanabhapuram was the capital of the erstwhile State of Travancore and the Maharajas of Travancore were the sole persons permitted to prostrate in prayer on the Ottakal Mandapam. Adikesava Perumal is believed to be Anantha Padmanabha’s elder brother, the two idols recline is such a way that they actually face each other all the way from to Thiruvattar to Thiruvananthapuram.


Additional Information

Vaikunta Ekadesi is celebrated with pomp and glory. Paal Payasam (Milk Kheer), Aval and Appam are delicious prasadams at this temple. The pujas are done in the same manner as that of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple, Thiruvananthapuram.

The temple is 35 km from Thiruvananthapuram Airport. It is 6 km from the railway station Kuzhithurai and it is 450 m Thiruvattar Bus Station
  • 5.00 to 12.00, 17.00 to 20.00
  • Contact Person: Temple commitee member
  • Contact Number: 04652 241270