The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, renowned for its architectural grandeur, attracts crowds from around the world to witness a unique natural phenomenon. On the days of the equinox, sunlight passes through all five windows of the temple’s towering gopuram at sunset, creating a spectacular visual display.

Historical and Architectural Significance

The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple gained international fame in June 2011 when a treasure of immense value was discovered in its vaults. However, even before this discovery, the temple was a significant pilgrimage center known for its architectural brilliance.

The Equinox Phenomenon

The equinoxes, occurring around March 21st and September 22nd each year, are days when day and night are of equal duration. On these days, the sun rises exactly in the east and sets exactly in the west. At the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, this alignment results in a breathtaking sight: as the sun sets, its rays pass sequentially through the five windows of the 100-feet tall gopuram.

Engineering Precision

The construction of the temple’s gopuram showcases exceptional scientific calculation and geometrical precision. The structure is built at right angles to the exact east-west line, allowing the setting sun to align perfectly with the windows during the equinox. This alignment demonstrates the advanced engineering skills and astronomical knowledge of the temple’s architects.

The Spectacle Unfolds

During the equinox, the setting sun first appears in the top window of the gopuram, positioned exactly at the center. As it continues to set, it moves down to the second, third, fourth, and finally the fifth window, creating a magical sequence of illumination. This phenomenon only occurs twice a year, attracting numerous visitors eager to witness the stunning display.

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Source / Image Credit : Sajith Rajendran Photography , anand mahindra