Pronunciation and Phonetics

Learning proper pronunciation can be done without much knowledge of phonetics, actually. A basic knowledge, however, helps to make pronunciation clearer and thus facilitates the process of learning how to speak a foreign language properly.

eAmbalam introduces a phonetic chart which is based on Dhevanagari script. The sounds of vowels and consonants and other speech sounds in Sanskrit and the languages which have completely or mostly borrowed from it can be covered with the help of the chart. A few other sounds common to some languages in this group and outside are also put in. Unique sounds of some languages are specified too.

Diacritical marks are used to aid perfect pronunciation. World over, these marks have been created and propagated by scholars to make understanding of the differences in speech sounds in different languages better. Team eAmbalam also has created a phonetic chart which helps even first timers to pronounce words accurately.

Our Phonetic chart is unique, comprehensive, learner friendly and is divided into four columns wherein:
  • In the first column, the letter is written with the associated diacritical mark.
  • In the second column, an example is given in Dhevanagari language containing the letter.
  • In the third column, an example is given in English, which contains the sound closes to the letter or instructions in few cases, to facilitate better understanding.
  • In the fourth column, an audio button is placed with the help of which you can hear the actual pronunciation of the letter.
An open minded approach with the above introduction and guidelines will definitely enable the user to understand the speech sounds of any language and pronounce it like a native, which is eAmbalam’s aim in this exercise.

Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English
A or a Aḍavu Arise
Ā or ā Ānanda Vast
I or i Indhira Sing
Ī or ī Īśha Meal
U or u U ṣhā Good
Ū or ū Ū rdhhva Boost
R or r Riṣh i Try
Ṛ or ṛ Ni ṛ uti Grr!
Lr or lr   Pronounce L and R together.
E or e Eka Ate
AI or ai Aikya Sight
O or o Ojas Robe
AU or au Audh ā rya Now
A M or am Śhiva m Drum
A HA or aha R ā ma ha Aha!
Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English

Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English
KA or ka Kavi Car
KHA or kha Khalu Mark -Him
GA or ga Gamana Gut
GHA or gha Ghata Ugh!
Ṅ A or ṅa Tura ṅ ga Ring
CHA or ca Chakra Chart
CHHA or cha Chhandas Branch
JA or ja Jagath Jug
JHA or jha Jhallari Fudge
NYA or nya Gnyana Knew
Ṭ A or ṭ Ṭ anka Top
ṬHA or ṭha Pāṭha Pothole
ḌA or da Ḍ amaruka Dog
Ḍ HA or ḍ ha Mūḍ ha Madhouse
Ṇ A or ṇ a Ga ṇ a Wander
THA or tha Thanu Health
THHA or thha Athha Theater
DHA or dha Dha śha This
DHHA or dhha Dhhana m Dha with an additional H sound
NA or na Namask ā raha Nut
PA or pa   Path ā ka Past
PHA or pha Phala m P with a H sound
BA or ba Bandhhu Ball
BHA or bha Bhadra Abhor
MA or ma Manas Money
YA or ya Yama Yummy
RA or ra Rajas Rub
LA or la Lath ā Lust
VA or WA, va /wa A śh va or A śhwa Water/Valour
ŚHA or śha Śhakthi Shutter
ṢHA or ṣ ha Ṣh a ṇ mukha Shunt
SA or sa Sarasvatī Sun
HA or ha Hari Hum
Ḷ A or ḷ a Ar āḷ a Bold
KṢHA or k ṣ ha Ak ṣh i Try to pronounce Ka, Sa & Ha – all at one time.
Extra Vowels in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada & Malayalam Scripts    
É or é Éṇi Angel
Ō or ō Ō m Ō M
ZHA Exclusive to Tamil & Malayalam Fold the tip of your tongue backwards and try to pronounce it with the aid of the audio button.
Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English

Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Name of the Temple

  • Shrī Padhmanābhaswāmi Temple


  • East Fort, in Thiruvananthapuram - the capital city of Keraḷa
How to reach there?
  • By Air: Thiruvananthapuram International Airport is the nearest airport to reach Shrī Padmanābhaswāmi Temple. The airport is just 7 km west from the temple.
  • By Train: Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station is the nearest railway station, just 1 km away from Shrī Padmanābhaswāmi Temple.
  • By Road: Shrī Padmanābhaswāmi Temple can easily be accessed by road being its ideal location near the Thiruvananthapuram City Bus Station in East Fort, Thiruvananthapuram. The inter-state highway, National Highway 47 connects Thiruvananthapuram to all major cities and nearby states including Kollam, Erṇākuḷam (Kochi), Thriśhūr, Nagarkovil, Koimbathūr, Kanyākumari, Chennai, and Bengalūru.

Rulers/builders and Time Period

  • The history of Shrī Padhmanābhaswāmi Temple dates back to 8th Century. It is believed that Shrī Padhmanābhaswāmi Temple and its properties were maintained by Eṭṭuvīṭṭil Piḷḷamār – the eight powerful Nāir feudal lords of ancient Travancore.
  • Later His Royal Highness Śhrī Marthāṇḍa Varma Anizham Thiruṇāḷ suppressed the Eṭṭuvīṭṭil Piḷḷais and his cousins and took over the control of the temple. Mārthāṇḍa Varma has done a major renovation to the temple and it is said that the current structure of Shrī Padhmanābhaswāmi Temple was made by the King.


  • Lord Viṣhṇu is enshrined here in the Ananthaśhayanam posture (in eternal sleep of yoganidhrā), lying on Śhrī Anantha, the hooded snake.

Architecture Style

  • The foundation of the present gopuram was laid in 1566. The temple has a 100-foot, seven-tier gopuram made in the Pāṇḍyan style. The temple stands by the side of a tank, named Padhma Thīrtham (meaning the lotus spring).
  • The temple has a corridor with 365 and one-quarter sculptured granite-stone pillars with elaborate carvings which stands out to be an ultimate testimonial for the Viśhwakarma sthapathis in sculpting this architectural masterpiece. This corridor extends from the eastern side into the sanctum sanctorum. An eighty-foot flag-staff stands in front of the main entry from the prakāram(closed precincts of a temple).
  • Inside the Temple, there are two other important shrines, Thekkeḍom and Thiruvambāḍi, for the Deities, Śhrī Yoga Narasimha and Śhrī Kriṣhṇa respectively.
  • Thiruvambāḍi shrine has its own namaskāra manḍapam, bali stones and flag mast. The granite idol of the Lord of Thiruvambāḍi was brought from Gujarat by seventy two families of Vruṣhṇi Vamsa Kṣhathriyas. As these Vruṣhṇies belong to the lineage of Lord Kriṣhṇa, they are known as Kriṣhṇan vakakkar. The two-armed granite idol, with one hand holding the whip and the other resting on the left thigh holding the conch close to it, is in standing posture.
  • There are also shrines for Śhrī  Rāma  accompanied by Sīthā,  Lakṣhmaṇa  and  Hanumān , Viśhwaksena (the Nirmālyadhāri of Viṣhṇu and Remover of Obstacles),  Vyāsa ,  Gaṇapathi ,  Śhāstha  and Kshethrapāla (who guards the temple). Grand idols of Garuḍa and Hanumān stand with folded hands in the Valiya balikkal area.

Special Reference to Fine Arts

  • On Ekādaśhi days the Lord is dressed and decorated as Mohini.
  • The ground floor under the gopuram (main entrance in the eastern side) is known as the 'Nataka Sala' where the famous temple art Kathakaḷi was staged in the night during the ten-day uthsavam (festival) conducted twice a year, during the Malayāḷam months of Mīnam and Thulām.
  • Mārthāṇḍa Varma who introduced the Murajapam and Bhhadhra Dhīpam festival in the temple. Murajapam, which literally means continuous chanting of prayers, is still conducted in the temple once in 6 years. Murajapam is performed when 12 Bhhadhradhīpams are completed.
  • Swāthi Music Festival in Trivandrum or Swāthi Sangīthothsavam in Thiruvananthapuram is the annual music festival held in memory of erstwhile Mahārāja Swāthi Thiruṇāḷ Rāma Varma.

Other Special Features

  • Śhrī Anantha Padhmanābhaswāmi Temple is one of the 108 Dhivya Deśhams of Lord Vishnu. Dhivya Dheśhams are the holiest abodes of the Lord Mahāviṣhṇu that are mentioned in the works of the Tamil Āzhvars (saints).
  • Shrī Padhmanābhaswāmi Temple is also one of the seven Paraśhurāma kṣhethras in Keraḷa. A major annual festival related to Padmanābha temple is the Navarāthri festival.
  • The idols of Saraswathi Amman, Mun Udittha Naṅgai (Parāśhakthi who appeared before Saraswathi, Lakṣhmi and Pārvathi to help them identify their husbands who had been transformed into infants by the power of chastity of Anasūya) and Kumāra Swāmi (Murugan) are brought to the Kuthira māliga palace in front of Padhmanābha temple as a procession.
  • This festival lasts for 9 days. The famous Swāthi music festival is held every year during this festival.
  • The biggest festival in this temple is lakṣha dhīpam, which means hundred thousand (or one lakh) lamps. This festival is unique and commences once in 6 years. Prior to this festival, chanting of prayers and recitation of three Vedhas is done for 56 days. On the last day, hundred thousand oil lamps are lit in and around the temple premises. The next lakṣha dhīpam is slated in January 2014.

Any Other/Remarks

  • After the death of Marthanda Varma in 1758, all the succeeding Kings of Travancore took great care in continuing the daily pūjās and ceremonies of Shrī Padhmanābhaswāmi Temple intact and also ruled the kingdom as Padhmanābha dhāsa.
  • The successors of Marthanda Varma were Dharma Rāja, Balarāma Varma, Gauri Lakṣhmi Bāi, Gauri Pārvathi Bāi, Swāthi Thiruṇāḷ, Uthram Thiruṇāḷ, Āyilyam Thiruṇāḷ, Viśhākham Thiruṇāḷ, Mūlam Thiruṇāḷ, Sethu Lakṣhmi Bāi, and Chitthira Thiruṇāḷ.
  • The present head of the Travancore Royal Family, Shrī Uthrāḍam Thirunāḷ Marthāṇḍa Varma also keeps the words of Marthāṇḍa Varma and is very loyal to Shrī Padhmanābhaswāmi Temple and maintains the temple rituals and ceremonies.

Special Reference to Performing Arts:

  • References to Shrī Padhmanābhaswāmi Temple said to be in the Brahma Purāṇa, Padhma Purāṇa, Varāha Purāṇa, and Vāyu Purāṇa.
  • References to the temple can also be found in the Dhivya Prabandha canon of literature written by Tamil Āzhvārs. Āzhvārs are the Tamil Saint poets who lived between the sixth and ninth centuries AD. One of the twelve Āzhvārs, Nammāzhvār (8th Century) had created four śhlokas and one phalaśhruthi about Shrī Padhmanābhaswāmi Temple.
  • Swāthi Thirunāḷ Rāma Varma composed many songs in praise of Shrī Padhmanābhaswāmi; most of them have the word Padhmanābha in them.



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