A hundred thousand lights at Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple

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As if Thiruvananthapuram’s Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple wasn’t splendid enough, once every six years, the temple ramps up the wow-factor with 1 lakh lights from oil lamps (lakshadeepam). There are lights wherever you look; speak about blindingly beautiful. It all began in the 18th century in a ceremony initiated by Travancore King Marthanda Varma. The lamps are lit at the culmination of Murajapam, a ritual of the chanting of verses from the Rigveda, Yajurveda and Samaveda over 56 days.

Vedic scholars come from all over the country to participate in the festival, which also includes cultural events. Devotees and vedic enthusiasts gather to have a glimpse of the event and worship the reclining Lord Padmanabha, the principal deity, adorned with traditional gold ornaments. The images of Lord Padmanabha, Lord Narasimha and Lord Krishna are taken out on Garudavahana (the mythological eagle which is the vehicle of Lord Vishnu) in a grand procession. The ritual is managed by a trust run by the royal family in Thiruvananthapuram.

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