After nearly 300 years, the ancient Anantha Padmanabhaswamy temple in Senthalai gets a facelift. Samprokshanam is slated for February 9.

Renovation work is on in full swing at the ancient Anantha Padmanabhaswamy temple in Senthalai, located on the Southern banks of Kudamurutti (a tributary of the Cauvery), a temple where one finds an interesting combination of two divya desam deities.

The lord of Thiru Ananthapuram Divya Desam, Anantha Padmanabha Swamy, seen in a sleeping posture there, provides darshan here to devotees in a sitting posture without Adisesha. The nine-foot tall moolavar is seen with a conch and chakra, a saligrama on his lap and Sri and Bhoo Devi on either side. The Thayar of Badrinath Divya Desam, Parimala Valli Thayar, is seen here in a separate sannidhi.

Both the idols date back to several centuries and are exemplary works of art, creating a devotional feeling in those who visit the temple here. Eighth century AD inscriptions suggest that Senthalai was a prosperous village with the presence of a Siva temple.

Legend has it that once Lord Anantha Padmanabhan felt thirsty and requested Adisesha to get water. Adisesha went searching and finally scratched the surface to have water pouring out in full force. Delighted, he ran back to offer the water to the thirsty Lord only to find Him providing darshan in Padmasana posture. Hence, one finds the Lord here without Adisesha. In memory of this event, the sacred water here is named after Adisesha as ‘Ananthan Theertham.’

People in the village say that there have been several instances in the last 40-50 years, when they have found snakes curled up atop the deity for a whole day!

A special feature is the Bala Anjaneya idol. Just one and a half feet high, it is seen in the Maha Mandapa. In the Ramayana, Anjaneya’s strength and commitment to Lord Rama is put to test while he goes air borne in search of Sita. Half way through his journey, he is stopped by the Naga maiden Surasa who wants to eat him for lunch. She asks Anjaneya to enter her mouth. Anjaneya, who is in great hurry to reach Lanka, grows in size. The lady too widens her mouth to suit his size. The, all of a sudden, the son of Vayu reduces his body size and before she realises what is happening, he enters the asura’s mouth and comes out and resumed his normal shape. Hanuman says he has fulfilled her wish and then seeks her blessings to find Sita.

It is believed that in memory of this episode, Lord Hanuman is seen here in a tiny standing posture in a separate sannidhi.

There is a separate sannidhi for Nagas. Belief is that those who offer sincere prayers here will be liberated from Naga Dosham.

Renovation Initiatives

The Anantha Padmanabhaswamy temple was in a dilapidated condition. Renovation has now begun after over 300 years. The three-tier Rajagopuram and the vimanam are being fully refurbished. Inside the maha mandapa and artha mandapa, granite flooring is being laid out. The Madapalli, which was in bad shape with a falling roof, is being completely rebuilt. Plans are afoot to install sculptures of Dasavatharam. Cement work in the prakara still remains to be completed.

The centuries-old Garuda Vahana, Horse Vahana and Hanumantha Vahana have been repaired b and will be ready to carry the Lord in procession after the samprokshanam.

Samprokshanam is slated for February 9. Those interested in supporting the renovation may contact: 04362 287288/ 94422 93006.