The Shri Padmanabhaswamy Ustav in Thiruvananthapuram. The ancestor of the former rulers of Travancore, who had their capital in Thiruvananthapuram, was the astute warrior-king Marthanda Varma. he claimed he ruled on behalf of the real monarch, the idol of lord Padmanabhaswamy installed in the capital's most important temple.
The temple festival, or Utsav, lasts for 10 days. On the last day the idol is taken out of the temple in a procession led by two elephants with drummers proclaiming the arrival of the lrd. behind them, with a drawn sword, walks the main who would have been the ruler had the days of kingship not ceased. Six other elephants follow and armed guards march through the streets lined with spectators.
After the ceremonial purification bath of the idol in the Arabian Sea, the procession with all the trappings of royality, illuminated by flaming torches, winds its way back to the temple. An interesting feature of this festival is the all-night performance of the dance-drama, Kathakali.