The Padmanabhaswamy Temple- Richest temple in the world

Padmanabhaswamy Temple- Richest temple in the world

Padmanabhaswamy Temple is the wealthiest temple of the world with an asset base worth Rs 1 Lakh Crore. It is Hindu temple located in Thiruvananthapuram, capital of the state Kerala, India. The temple is one of the 108 principal Divya Desams in Vaishnavism. Ancient Text like Vishnu Purana, Brahma Purana, Matsya Purana, Varaha Purana, Skanda Purana Padma Purana, Vayu Purana and Bhagavata Purana have mentioned this temple.

Know about the temple carved with one stone

Origin Of Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Padmanabhaswamy temple at night

This temple was built in the beginning of Kali Yuga which was 5,000 years ago. According to Historians, the temple dates back to the 8th century but the present structure was built in the 18th century by the then Travancore Maharaja Marthanda Varma. The temple was initially made of wood but later it was constructed with granite. Many historians and scholars have the opinion that one of the names that the Temple had, “The Golden Temple”, was in cognisance of the Temple being already unimaginably wealthy by that point. 

Parasurama purified and venerated the idol of Sree Padmanabhaswamy in Dvapara Yuga. 

The Idol of the Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Padmanabhaswamy Temple Idol

There is an interesting story regarding the origin of the sacred idol of the Padmanabhaswamy. 

The principal deity Padmanabhaswamy (Vishnu) is revered in the “Anantha Shayana” posture, the eternal yogic sleep on the infinite serpent Adi Shesha. 

The origin of the principal idol of the Temple relates to the legendary sage Vilvamangalathu Swamiyar. Sage prayed to Lord Vishnu for his darshan.

The Lord is came 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.

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 glad. 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 iluppai tree. The tree fell down and became Anantha Sayana Moorti.

But the edifice that the Lord assumed was of an extraordinarily large size, with His head at Thiruvattar, body at Thiruvananthapuram, and lotus-feet at Thrippadapuram, 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. The Lord took the form of the idol that is present in the Temple.

Vaults of the temple

The temple management authorities were aware of the existence of at least six vaults. They were build underground, all around, and to the west of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. For documentation purposes, these vaults have been given names ( A, B, C, D, E and F). Subsequently, two additional subterranean vaults have been discovered, and they have been designated as Vault G and Vault H.

Inspection of Mysterious Vault B

Padmanabhaswamy temple Vault B

Vault B has not been opened. The Supreme-Court-appointed committee-members, based on the 2014 amicus curiae and audit reports, cited instances of irregularities and mismanagement in the affairs of the temple. They opened the metal-grille door to Vault B and discovered a sturdy wooden door just behind it. They opened this door as well, and encountered a third door made of iron, which was jammed shut. The observers tried to force their way in but failed. So they decided to hire a professional locksmith to open or remove the door gently.

Then in mid-July, before the locksmith came, the royal family got an injunction from the Supreme Court against opening vault B. Apparently, this was promulgated after a 4-day private decision-making process, based on astrology in 2011. Finally in July 2020, the Supreme Court refused to give permission to open the vault, as it was an issue involving religious sentiments.

Architecture of the temple

Padmanabhaswamy temple archietecture

Architecture of the temple is an imaginative amalgam of the Dravidian and Kerala architectural styles. If the structure of the sanctum sanctorum, the Dhwaja Sthambham and the Chuttambalam characterize the Kerala style, the influence of the neighboring Tamil country is visible elsewhere — the wall of the sanctum of the Sree Krishna shrine has Tamil Vattezhuthu inscriptions dating to 1375 CE; the gopuram over the eastern entrance has hundreds of stucco figures, reflecting the Vijayanagara style of architecture; the stunning sculptures in the Kulasekhara mandapam and on the pillars of the rectangular prakara are by sculptors of the Madurai Nayaka period and in the vimana over the sanctum. It is a daring, dramatic fusion. This befits a temple where the presiding deity, Vishnu, reclines on a snake, in a rare depiction.

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