Situated in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, South India, Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The principal deity, Padmanabhaswamy, is enshrined in the ‘Anantha-sayanam’ yogic posture (in the eternal sleep of Yoga-Nidra on the serpent god Anantha).
The idol of the Lord contains 12,008 shaligram-silas brought from the Gandaki river in Nepal, and is made of a unique amalgam known as ‘Katusarkara Yogam’. This mix is made of divine earth brought from various parts of the country and a combination of various ayurvedic compounds. In the idol of the Lord, Brahma is depicted as rising from his navel and Siva is under his right hand. Two consorts of Vishnu, Sridevi, the Goddess of Prosperity, and Bhudevi, the Goddess of Earth, are by his side.
The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, which is a Mahakshethra, is one of the 108 Divya Desams in India. Legend has it that the temple was built on the first day of Kali Yuga at least five thousand years ago. According to the epics, it is believed that Balarama had visited the temple and bathed in the temple pond before giving offerings. Most of the facts and legends associated with the temple are known through the book titled ‘Anantasayana mahatmya’. According to it, a Tulu Brahmin named Divakara Muni consecrated the temple.
A glorious event in the history of the Temple and Travancore was Thrippadidanam. On 3rd January, 1750 Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma, surrendered the kingdom of Travancore to Padmanabhaswamy and pledged that he and his descendants would be vassals of the deity and would serve the kingdom as Padmanabhadasa (Servant of Lord Padmanabha). This event known as Thrippadidanam, has conferred supreme over lordship on Sree Padmanabha Swamy in the entire country.
Lavishness of gold in the Temple
The idol of Lord Sree Padmanabha Swamy is covered almost entirely in gold by a “Thanka Anki” or golden dress. The Ottakkal (or single store) Mandapam in front of the main Sreekovil is covered in gold. The flag mast of Sree Padmanabha Swamy is also covered in gold. Further, the Nivedyamcalled Navaratna payasam for the Peruthiru amrith pooja is offered to the lord in Gold Vessels.
Treasures in the Vaults
Situated on seven acres in the midst of the city, the temple, built in an intricate fusion of indigenous Kerala style and Tamil style, is an architectural marvel. The eastern entrance is dominated by the glorious gopuram, built in traditional Dravidian architectural style.
The temple, which had been known all over the country as a Mahakshetra, shot into prominence for its treasures, following the opening of the hidden vaults of the temple on 27 June 2011, consequent on an order of the Supreme Court of India in SLP (C) 11295 of 2011. Of the six vaults numbered as A to F, the B vault has not been ordered to be opened by the Hon’ble Supreme Court so far. The valuables in the form of ornaments and artifacts in gold and precious stones have since been inventoried and kept under safe custody and special security. The Supreme Court has not ordered to evaluate the valuables. However, based on unofficial sources the Guinness Book of records has named the temple as the world’s richest Hindu temple.
According to the orders of the Supreme Court of India, repairs, conservation and renovation of the roofs of the Sreekovils of Sree Padmanabha Swamy, of the sub shrine of Sree Narasimha Moorthy and the flagmast of Thiruvambadi Sree Krishna Swamy has been carried out with teak wood brought from Nilambur and other Forest Depots.
Earnest Appeal to devotees for Donation
To preserve its cultural and historical significance, the temple administration currently plans to cover the roof of ‘Sreekovil’ of Sree Padmanabha Swamy in gold. As per the tradition, devotees fund renovations of the temple. Devotees have already offered enough gold for covering the ‘thazhika kudam’.
The gold in the temple vault can’t be used for this purpose because of its archaeological importance, heritage values and ritualistic aspects.
Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple Administration is humbly requesting all devotees of Lord Sree Padmanabha Swamy to wholeheartedly support and be a part of this noble initiative to gold plate the sree kovil by donating 10gm or multiples of 24 Carrot gold coin/gold bar or Rs 40,000/- for one unit to finish the Gold covering of the roof of Sree Kovil of Lord Sree Padmanabha Swamy by October 30, 2019.
As per the calculation by the administration, the total cost for the project would be Rs.9 crore. The money collected shall be accounted under the “Sreekovil gold covering fund”. The names of the individuals and institutions that make offerings would be displayed on a ‘Wall of Fame’ in the temple premises.
The “Sreekovil Gold covering” shall be a shining golden event ever to be remembered in the history of the Temple. The devotees are earnestly requested to make generous contributon in gold or in money to the noble purpose of “Sreekovil Gold Covering” and enjoy the divine blessings of Lord Sree Padmanabha Swamy.