The Padmanabhaswamy temple is a Hindu temple located in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala India. The name of the city of Thiruvananthapuram in Tamil translates to “The City of Lord Ananta”, (The City Of Lord Vishnu) referring to the deity of the Padmanabhaswamy temple.
- The temple is built in an intricate fusion of the Chera style and the Dravidian style of architecture, featuring high walls, and a 16th-century gopura.
- While the Ananthapura temple at Kumbla in Kasaragod is considered the original seat of the deity (“Moolasthanam”), architecturally to some extent, the temple is a replica of the Adikesava Perumal temple in Thiruvattar.
- The principal deity Padmanabhaswamy (Vishnu) is enshrined in the “Anantha Shayana” posture, the eternal yogic sleep on the infinite serpent Adi Shesha. Padmanabhaswamy is the tutelary deity of the royal family of Travancore.
Padmanabhaswamy Temple History
- The Ananthapuram temple in Kasaragod is believed to be the original seat of Padmanabhaswamy (“Moolasthanam”).
- It is believed that Parasurama purified and venerated the idol of Sree Padmanabhaswamy in Dvapara Yuga ( In Hinduism, is the third and best of the four yugas (world ages) in a Yuga Cycle, preceded by Treta Yuga and followed by Kali Yuga)
- Parasurama entrusted ‘Kshethra karyam’ (Administration of the Temple) with seven Potti families – Koopakkara Potti, Vanchiyoor Athiyara Potti, Kollur Athiyara Potti, Muttavila Potti, Karuva Potti, Neythasseri Potti and Sreekaryathu Potti. King Adithya Vikrama of Vanchi (Venad) was directed by Parasurama to do ‘Paripalanam’ (Protection) of the Temple. Parasurama gave the Tantram of the Temple to Tharananallur Namboothiripad. This legend is narrated in detail in ‘Kerala Mahathmyam’ which forms part of ‘Brahmanda Puranam’.
Another version regarding the consecration of the Main Idol of the Temple
- Vilvamangalathu Swamiyar, who resided near Ananthapuram Temple in Kasaragod District, prayed to Lord Vishnu for his darshan or “auspicious sight”. The Lord is believed to have come in the guise of a little boy who was mischievous. The boy defiled the Idol which was kept for Puja. The sage became enraged at this and chased away the boy who disappeared before him. Realizing the boy was no ordinary mortal, the sage wept for forgiveness and asked for another darshan as a sign. He heard a voice say “If you want to see me come to the Anathavana (the unending forest or ananthakadu). After a long search, when he was walking on the banks of the Laccadive Sea, he heard a pulaya lady warning her child that she would throw him in Ananthankadu. The moment the Swami heard the word Ananthankadu he was delighted. He proceeded to Ananthankadu based on the directions of the lady of whom he enquired. The Sage reached Ananthankadu searching for the boy. There he saw the boy merging into an Iluppa tree (Indian Butter Tree). The tree fell down and became Anantha Sayana Moorti (Vishnu reclining on the celestial snake Anantha). But the edifice that the Lord assumed was of an extraordinarily large size, with His head at Thiruvattar near Thuckalay Tamil Nadu, Body or Udal at Thiruvananthapuram, and lotus-feet at Thrippadapuram near Kulathoor and Technopark (Thrippappur), making him some eight miles in length. The Sage requested the Lord to shrink to a smaller proportion that would be thrice the length of his staff. Immediately the Lord shrank to the form of the Idol that is seen at present in the Temple. But even then many Iluppa trees obstructed a complete vision of the Lord. The Sage saw the Lord in three parts – thirumukham, thiruvudal and thrippadam. Swami prayed to Padmanabha to be forgiven. The Swami offered Rice Kanji and Uppumanga (salted mango pieces) in a coconut shell to the Perumal which he obtained from the pulaya woman. The spot where the Sage had darsan of the Lord belonged to Koopakkara Potti and Karuva Potti. With the assistance of the reigning King and some Brahmin households a Temple was constructed. The Ananthankadu Nagaraja Temple still exists to the north west of the Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The Samadhi (final resting place) of the Swamiyar exists to the west of the Padmanabhaswamy Temple. A Krishna Temple was built over the Samadhi. This Temple, known as Vilvamangalam Sri Krishna Swami Temple, belongs to Thrissur Naduvil Madhom.
- On 17 January 1750, Anizham Thirunal surrendered the kingdom of Travancore to Padmanabhaswamy, the deity at the temple, and pledged that he and his descendants would be vassals or agents of the deity who would serve the kingdom as Padmanabha Dasa.
- Since then, the name of every Travancore King was preceded by the title Sree Padmanabha Dasa.
- The female members of the royal family were called Sree Padmanabha Sevinis.
- The donation of the king to Padmanabhaswamy was known as Thrippadi-danam.
- The final wishes of Anizham Thirunal on his passing at the age of 53 clearly delineated the historical relationship between the Maharaja and the temple: “That no deviation whatsoever should be made in regard to the dedication of the kingdom to Padmanabhaswamy and that all future territorial acquisitions should be made over to the Devaswom.”
- Inside the Temple, there are two other important shrines, Thekkedom and Thiruvambadi, for the Deities, Ugra Narasimha and Krishna Swami respectively
- The foundation of the present gopuram was laid in 1566. The temple has a 100-foot (30 m), 7-tier gopuram made in the Pandyan style. The temple stands by the side of a tank, named Padma Theertham (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 Vishwakarma sthapathis in sculpting this architectural masterpiece.
Padmanabhaswamy Temple Secrets, and Hidden Treasure
- The temple and its assets belong to Lord Padmanabhaswamy and were for a long time controlled by a trust, headed by the Travancore royal family.
- The temple has six hitherto known vaults (nilavaras), labeled as A to F.
- An Amicus Curie Report by Justice Gopal Subramaniam, in April 2014, has reportedly found two more further subterranean vaults that have been named G and H
- While vault B remains unopened, vaults A, C, D, E, and F were opened along with some of their antechambers.
- Among the reported findings, are a three-and-a-half feet tall solid pure golden idol of Mahavishnu, studded with hundreds of diamonds and rubies and other precious stones. Also found was an 18-foot-long pure gold chain, a gold sheaf weighing 500 kg (1,100 lb), a 36 kg (79 lb) golden veil, 1200 ‘Sarappalli’ gold coin-chains that are encrusted with precious stones, and several sacks filled with golden artifacts, necklaces, diadems, diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, gemstones, and objects made of other precious metals. Ceremonial attire for adorning the deity in the form of 16-part gold anki weighing almost 30 kilograms (66 lb), gold “coconut shells” studded with rubies and emeralds, and several 18th-century Napoleonic era coins were found amongst many other objects. In early 2012, an expert committee had been appointed to investigate these objects, which include lakhs of golden coins of the Roman Empire, that were found in Kottayam, in Kannur District.According to Vinod Rai, the former Comptroller-and-Auditor-General (CAG) of India, who had audited some of the Temple records from 1990, in August 2014, in the already opened vault A, there is an 800 kg (1,800 lb) hoard of gold coins dating to around 200 BCE, each coin priced at over ₹2.7 crores (US$380,000). Also found was a pure golden throne, studded with hundreds of diamonds and other precious stones, meant for the 18-foot-long deity. As per one of the men, who was among those that went inside this Vault A, several of the largest diamonds were as large as a full-grown man’s thumb. According to varying reports, at least three, if not more, of solid gold crowns have been found, studded with diamonds and other precious stones. Some other media reports also mention hundreds of pure gold chairs, thousands of gold pots and jars, among the articles recovered from Vault A and its antechambers.
Even with only the five smaller of the reported eight vaults being opened (the larger three vaults and all their ante-chambers still remaining closed), the treasure found so far, is considered to be by far the largest collection of items of gold and fully precious stones in the recorded history of the world.
Padmanabhaswamy Temple Vault B (B Nilavara)
- Considering the subsequent inflation of the rupee and the increase in the prices of gold and precious stones since in general, the treasure in the unopened vault B alone would be worth at least ₹50 trillion (US$700 billion)(about US$ One Trillion in 2011) in present-day terms, without the cultural value being factored in
- The price of gold in the 1880s, when the inventory and estimate were last updated, was INR 1.8 per gram (The price of gold was about US$18 for an ounce in the 1880s when the dollar was 3.3 to the rupee). In fact, going by these figures, the gold in Vault B could potentially run into many more trillions of dollars even before the cultural or historical value is factored in. The price of gold in the 1880s, when the inventory and estimate were last updated, was INR 1.8 per gram (The price of gold was about US$18 for an ounce in the 1880s when the dollar was 3.3 to the rupee). In fact, going by these figures, the gold in Vault B could potentially run into many more trillions of dollars even before the cultural or historical value is factored in.