Padmanabhapuram located in the present state of Tamil Nadu was the then capital of the erstwhile kingdom of Travancore. The rise of modern Thiruvananthapuram began with its accession by Marthanda Varma in 1729 as the founding ruler of the princely state of Travancore (Thiruvithamkoor in the local vernacular). During the reign of Marthanda Varma in the year 1745 the capital of the kingdom was shifted from Padmanabhapuram to Thiruvananthapuram. From then on the city Thiruvananthapuram had seen expansions in all fields like art, culture, education, armed training etc.
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.
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 was responsible for the security of Travancore kingdom. As maker of modern Travancore 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. 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 renamed as the Travancore Nair Brigade in 1818.
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. It is well known that army soldiers get inspiration by worshipping Lord Sri Hanuman. Sri Hanuman Swamy at Pallayam was worshipped by the army then brigade personnels is now popular among the present devotees as “OTC Hanuman Swamy temple”. We had carried an article about this temple in "Sri Hanuman Swamy Temple OTC Pallayam, Thiruvananthapuram", for full details may kindly click the link.
As the city was expanding so also the brigade, with the time the brigade was to be moved out of pallayam. It was decided to move the brigade to a new location Pangode, which is located east of pallayam. Accordingly the garrison was shifted to the new location at Pangode in the year 1935. As a matter of practice, it was decided to establish a new place of worship there. Members of garrison wanted Sri Hauman Swamy who was under worship at pallayam to be moved along with them to Pangode. However, there was enormous resistance from the locals. Subsequently after the thanthric advice, Sri Hanuman Swamy was not moved from pallayam, but instead a painting depicting all the features of the Lord was taken for worship at Pangode. Subsequently, an idol of Lord Hanuman Swamy worshipped at the Fort Area by the troops of Nair Brigade was shifted to Pangode and installed.
Originally when the brigade moved to Pangode, the ‘place of worship’ [Sri Hanuman Swamy ambalam] was located just outside the main gate of the HQ91 Infantry Brigade. After the establishment of War Memorial adjacent to Sri Hanuman Swamy Temple complex, the Lord expressed through a Deva Prashna to shift the idols to another suitable place. Search for the suitable location within the brigade complex was done and it was zeroed down to the present location close to Station Work Shop EME facing the Thirumala-PTP Nagar road in 2001.
Lt.Gen AK Chopra colonel of the Madras regiment laid the foundation for the new Sri Hanuman Swamy temple on 17th November 2006. From 30th June 2011, all religious ceremonies for shifting of idols to the new complex were conducted. And on 10th July 2011 the punar pradishtai [re-installation] of idols were conducted. On 13th July 2011 Kumbabishekam was conducted.
There are five main idols – Sri Hanuman Swamy, Sri Siva, Sri Vishnu, Sri Ganapathy and Sri Nagaraja in the temple complex. Kindly note that all these deities are main deities and there is no “upa-devatha” in this temple. While Sri Ganapathy and Sri Nagaraja pridishta was done in 1988, Sri Siva of this temple is much old. The history of Lord Siva traces back to a period of 175 years. In one of the annual exercises around 1836 of the Nair Brigade at Aaruvaamozhi (Aramboli, presently in Kanyakumari district) they found an idol of Lord Siva under a peepul tree. The troops used to worship this idol whenever they were on duty there. By 1840 AD, they took this idol to the garrison at Cantonment. In 1940 this idol of Lord Siva was shifted to Pangode. As stated earlier Sri Hanuman Swamy idol was under worship at the Fort Area by the troops of Nair Brigade before brought here.
Presently this temple and Pazhavangadi Ganapathy are under the same administration.
A rare mixture of the rural and the urban, Pangode is located midway between Vazhuthacaud and Thirumala in Thiruvananthapuram. Sri Hanuman Swami temple although located within the military complex, still general public can easily access the temple and offer their prayers. This temple typically resembles the architecture of Kerala temples. With lots of trees and plants around, the temple provides a sense of having arrived kadalivanam of Swami. On entering the temple, an idol of Hanuman swami to our left welcomes us. Before entering the temple, people worship and do circumambulation [pradakshina] for this particular idol and then enter the temple. This cool open space, dharshan of this particular idol and silence in the atmosphere itself will calm the mind and prepare the devotee for a peaceful experience.
Proceeding further we enter main Ambalam and can have a darshan of Moolavar Hanuman swami in the main sannidhi straight away. The temple has a serene atmosphere as that of an ashram conducive for dyanam and prayer. Thursdays are very special in this temple rather than Tuesdays and Saturdays. The moment we step inside the temple we are carried away by the tranquil atmosphere. One could feel the power of Swami.
He is in standing posture with right hand showing abhaya mudra and left hand rests in hip. A copper mace is placed beside him. Tail is above the head with a bell. Swami is always smeared with butter. His eyes are directly looking at the devotee and His kataksham falls directly on the devotee.
Lord who had boosted the strength and courage to great warriors of Army of yester years is giving the same to the present warriors of the day. Have darshan of the Lord who sure to revitalize the mind with fresh noble positive thoughts and reenergize yourself for the new challenges in life.
Ed: January 2023
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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.