Padmanabhapuram located in the present state of Tamil Nadu was the then capital of the erstwhile kingdom of Travancore. The kingdom of Travancore had unified with the free Bharat to become a part of the country. Today a commoner will know Thiruvananthapuram easily than the Padmanabhapuram. Thiruvananthapuram is the capital of the modern state Kerala. During the British rule the city was known by the name Trivandrum. Like any other city of Bharat this city also has a long history.
The city had been named after the name of the presiding deity of this kshetra Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy. The kings of Travancore wish to be known as custodians of the State ruled by Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy. They had surrendered themselves to Sri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy as a dutiful servant.
Anizham Thirunal Veerabaala Marthanda Varma (1706–7th Jul 1758) popularly known as Marthanda Varma, was king of Travancore from 1729 until his death in 1758. He is known for beating the kings of European armed forces at the 1741 Battle of Colachel against the Dutch. He was instrumental in expanding the Travancore kingdom from the conventional domain of the kingdom.
The rise of modern Thiruvananthapuram began with accession of Marthanda Varma in 1729 as the founding ruler of the princely state of Travancore (Thiruvithamkoor in the local vernacular). During his reign Marthanda Varma had shifted the capital of the kingdom from Padmanabhapuram to Thiruvananthapuram in the year 1745.
From then on the city Thiruvananthapuram had seen expansions in all fields like art, culture, education, armed training etc.
Without mention of Nair brigade the success story of Marthanda Varma will be incomplete. Nairs were a warrior community in the region. The Nair Brigade was the army of the erstwhile kingdom of Travancore and were responsible for the security of Travancore kingdom. King Marthanda Varma's personal bodyguards were called 'Thiruvithamkoor Nair Pattalam' (Travancore Nair Army).
As maker of modern Trancancore Sri Marthanda Varma had modernized the army of the kingdom in which Nair brigade played a good part. He defeated the Dutch commanders to help modernizing the warfare. With this Marthanda Varma continued expansion of territory with this army and annexed all the princely states right up to Kochi in 1746.
Later years Nair Brigade succeeded in defending the kingdom against the invading army of Tipu Sultan of Mysore in A.D. 1791. In the war near the Nedumkotta, Tippu Sultan had lost his sword in the war with the Nairs of Travancore. The Travancore army was reorganised as the Travancore Nair Brigade in 1818
The Travancore army was officially referred as the Travancore Nair Brigade in 1818. In the early days, only Nairs were admitted into this brigade. Later, the unit was expanded and several sub units were formed even with non-Nairs. The name Nair Brigade remained unchanged. The army was involved in many services during peace time.
When the capital of Travancore kingdom was shifted from Padmanabhapuram to Thiruvananthapuram by King Marthada Varma, the Nair Brigade also shifted. Initially, the headquarters was shifted from the old capital to the new. Then it was shifted to Kollam and later brought back to Thiruvananthapuram. The place where their HQ was in Thiruvananthapuram is known today by the name ‘pallayam/Palayam’. ‘Pallayam’ in Malayalam means ‘cantonment’.
The building which was the Headquarters of the Nair Brigade of Travancore located in Pallayam/Palayam is now Legislative Museum of Kerala.
When the Nair Brigade shifted from Padmanabhapuram to Thiruvananthapuram, they had brought some deity of worship along with them to the new capital. One such deity is Sri Hanuman Swamy brought by them.
The area where the early cantonment was located is known as Pallayam/Palayam. Presently the cantonment had been shifted elsewhere. But the name Pallayam/Palayam for the area remained and now it is heart of the city. Kerala state Legislature assembly, and Legislature member’s hostel, main secretariat etc are the main attraction of Pallayam/Palayam today. With the shifting of cantonment elsewhere the HQ of Nair Brigade also shifted, but if one thing remains there in Pallayam/Palayam it is the small temple built by the army men for Lord Sri Hanuman Swamy.
The small temple where the Lord was placed and worshiped by the warriors of Marthanda Verma today stands where it was, but with some expansion. The temple is east facing. An arch with a mortar art work showing Sri Hanuman Swamy worshiping Sri Rama and Sri Sita on the top welcomes the devotees. A peepal tree stands in place of conventional flag post. A sign board announces that the temple is managed by Travancore Devaswom Board. As one enters, a huge long verandah with offices on either side is seen. At the end an open space with a grand punnai tree in the center is seen in front of the main temple. The main temple has two entrance and two huge tall lamps stands in front of both the entrance.
As one enters the door, there are ‘thinnai’ [platform] on either side of the path leading to main temple. Devotees are seen sitting and reciting Sri Ramayanam, Sri Vishnu, Sri Hanumath Sahasranamams. There is a banyan tree at the end of the left side of the platform with lot of falls[vizhuthu] giving shade to the entire open space between end of platform and the main sannathi.
On the right side of the sannathi there is punnai tree, branch of which is touching the main sannathi of Sri Hanuman Swamy. The wonder about this tree is that a Hanuman figure is formed naturally, which is also worshiped by the devotees.
Now there are two main sannathis of the temple. On the left side sannathi Sri Ganesha is installed and on the right side sannathi one can see Sri Hanuman Swamy.
Sri Hanuman Swamy is seen in the standing posture. The deity is very unique and at the first sight itself it enthralls us. Devotee’s eyes rivets at the fascinating beauty of the five feet tall Sri Hanuman Swamy. The pleasant looking face is slightly seen tilted leftward and a silver crown is seen on His head. The glowing eyes are pouring out ‘karuna’ [kindness] on the devotees. In His ears He is wearing ‘Kundalam’. He is seen with ‘gorapal’ [petruding teeth] as in the case of Narasimha Swamy, but it is pertinent to note it adds pleasantness to the face. On His neck few ornaments are seen. His right hand is showing ‘abhya mudra’ and bestowing blessings to the devotees. Lord’s left hand is resting on the left thigh. A mace had been placed near His left thigh. There is a small knife on His hip belt. Tail is near His feet, with a small curve.
Lord who gave courage to the entire brigade, Sri Hanuman Swamy of this kshetra is sure to boost our courage and bestow enough of daringness to face the challenges in the life.
Ed [Sep 2015]
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SRI HANUMAN THINKS DIFFERENTLY, THINKS FAST, THINKS AHEAD AND ACTS FOR SURE.
Our salutations to this Hanuman who always brings subham - everything that is good - for His devotees and eliminates the bad and the evil. He removes even the traces of bad thoughts and deeds from His devotees. i.e He makes them pure in words, thought and deed.