Sree Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram City, the capital City of Kerala State in India is an old temple. This temple is one of the most important Vaishnava temples (Temples where the main deity is Lord Vishnu or his incarnations or his different forms) in India. Among the Vaishnava temples, 108 temples known as 108 Divya Desams (sthalams – holiest abodes) are most sacred. Sree Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple is one of the 108. This temple is also famous as the same is one of the seven Parasurama Kshetras (Temples consecrated by Lord Parasurama – one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu).
- Even though the temple has references in epics and Puranas, the original of the temple is still unknown. The determination of when and why by whom the original idol of Sree Padmanabha was constructed is still unknown No reliable historical documents or other sources are available on this topic.
In the Sree Kovil of this temple the Lord Vishnu is in Ananthasayanam (Anantha = unending – without end; Sayanam (lying – reclining) posture with his head pointing towards the south, facing east. He is not reclining, resting or sleeping but is in a deep trance (yoga nidra – deep meditation). It is a form of keeping the mind empty or full concentration. The Lord’s right-hand hangs over a Shiva Linemen installed on the ground. The goddess Lakshmi (Sridevi) goddess of wealth or prosperity and Bhudevi goddess of the earth, the two consorts of the Lord stand by his side in attendance to serve him. From the navel of the Lord, a lotus is blooming. In the lotus, the god Brahman (the creator) is seated.
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- No Abhishekam (washing) is done to this idol. Abhishekam is performed to another idol meant for the purpose. This arrangement is to prevent damage to the original idol of Salagramams and kadu sarkara yoga (a mixture of raw jaggery and herbs). The deity is worshiped with flowers. These worshiped flowers are removed using the feathers of peacocks again to prevent damage to the idol.
- Ornaments and valuables reportedly worth a whopping Rs one lakh crore have already been recovered from the secret cellars of the temple. Now the big questions are, who should control all this wealth. Such assets are typically meant to be used by administrators to operate temples and provide services to the poor, but they have often become the subject of heated disputes and controversies. Kerala Government officials say that the state would not seek control of the temple or its treasure, a step that some activists have recommended. “The treasure is donated to the temple from disciples and believers; it’s the property of the temple,” an official said. “It has nothing to do with the state.”
- The valuables are believed to have been accumulated in the temple over several thousands of years, having been donated to the Deity, and subsequently stored in the Temple, by various Dynasties, such as the Cheras, the Pandyas, the Travancore Royal Family, the Kolathiris, the Pallavas, the Cholas and many other Kings in the recorded history of both South India and beyond, and from the rulers and traders of Mesopotamia, Jerusalem, Greece, Rome, and later from the various colonial powers from Europe, and other countries. It is believed to have been deposited at the temple by the royal family of the princely state of Travancore, which acceded to India when the country became independent in 1947. Some of the vaults under the temple have not been opened for nearly 150 years.
- Methan Mani is a clock tower which stands next to the Padmanabha Swamy Temple. It is said to have been installed in the 1840s during the reign of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma. The clock is constructed from Mahogany by an artisan called Kulathooran.There is also a history that the clock was installed to commemorate the successful repulsion of Invasion of Travancore by Tippu Sultan.
The temple is built in an intricate fusion of the indigenous Kerala style and the Dravidian style (kovil) of architecture associated with the temples located in the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu, featuring high walls, and a 16th-century Gopuram. While the Moolasthanam of the temple is the Ananthapuram Temple in Kumbala in Kasargod District, architecturally to some extent, the temple is a replica of the Adikesava Perumal temple located in Thiruvattar, Kanyakumari District.
- The equinox said to happen twice, once in spring and once in autumn. The event occurs once on 20th or 21st March and 22nd or 23rd September each year and both days have equal length of the day and the night. The sun goes down along the middle portion of Gopuram of Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple on the equinox.The Temple Gopuram is so well constructed that on Equinox sun passes exactly through the middle of Gopuram passing through all the doors. An engineering marvel indeed !!
- The centuries-old Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala on its way to becoming the richest shrine in India. Ornaments and valuables reportedly worth a whopping Rs one lakh crore have already been recovered from the secret cellars of the temple. A staggering $22 billion (Rs 90,000 crore) worth of gold, jewels and statues have been unearthed from the 16th century Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala, so far. The treasure trove is believed to be the most significant find of its kind in India.
- It is a marvelous and fantastic architectural work on stone. This is also known as Aayiramkaal Mandapam and Sapthaswara Mandapam. It is supported by 28 balustrades of pillars. The pillars on the four corners can produce musical notes when tapped. The pillars are adorned with exquisitely carved figures in half and full relief. The way this mandapam is made at that time is appreciable. The time that had no electricity any petrol, diesel or any modern tools gave birth to such a beautiful piece of art is unbelievable.
- The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple has six vaults named A, B, C, D, E and F. Vaults C-F haven been opened periodically, while A was opened in 2011 upon Supreme Court’s orders. According to a The Hindu report, Vault B – the vault that is currently under discussion in the Supreme Court – was also opened on that occasion but access was blocked by a thick metal door resembling that of a strong room.
- Among the six kallaras or chambers in the Temple, Bharatakkon Kallara (Chamber B) is very closely associated with Sri Padmanabhaswamy. It is not a part of the Temple Treasury. The holy Chamber houses a Srichakram, an idol of Sri Padmanabha and many valuables meant to enhance the potency of the Principal Deity. While the rest of the vaults are at least opened eight times in a year, the main vault is Vault B. This chamber is being considered by the Trust members and other learned astrologers of India, as a highly mysterious, sacred and risky and dangerous to unveil it. The chamber B is considered to be fixed to the secret chamber with the ‘naga bandham’ or ‘naga bandam’ ‘mantras’ by the then ‘sidda purashas’ who lived during the reign of king marthandavarma in the 16th century.
- It is said that a door of such a secret vault can be opened by a highly erudite ‘sadhu’ or ‘mantrikas’ who are familiar with the knowledge of extricating ‘naga bandham’ or ‘naga pasam’ by chanting a ‘garuda mantra’; so except in this way, the door can’t be opened by any means by anyone. If any human attempts are made with human-made technology to open the mysterious Chamber-B other than by chanting highly sacred, and powerful ‘GARUDA MANTRAS’ by a highly sacred ‘SADHUS’ or ‘MANTRIKAS,’ catastrophes are likely to occur in and around the Temple premises or throughout India. It is said that chanting the Garuda Mantra by a powerful ‘SADHU’ or ‘YOGI’ proceeds to automatically open the door and no human effort is needed to open it in any other way. Legend is that Vedic Astrologers of India tried to open the door, once but they were unable to do so. It is said that If this mantra is chanted correctly by some Sadhu, only then will the door open. Else, mighty serpents guarding the entrance will wreak havoc on those who try to open the door.