The Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Kerala is on its way to get the title of the richest temple in India with an estimated treasure value of more than Rs. 50,000 crores, which is about 70% of the total value. So far Lord Balaji at the Tirumala Tirupati temple was holding the richest position with an estimated value of Rs. 33.44 crores. Thus the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple, where Lord Vishnu is worshipped in reclining posture, will surpass the Tirumala Tirupati Temple and acquire the position of the richest temple in India.
The valuables found in the temple treasure includes thousands of gold coins, necklaces, crowns, jewel and precious stones.
Following the discovery of the treasure hidden in the different vaults of temple, the state government took action to strengthen the security, three-tier, in and around the temple. The reports of the police department suggested for the installation of security alarms, laser facility etc. There would be round-the-clock security around the temple and CCTV cameras would be installed.
The Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple is one of the religious monuments of Trivandrum. It is located in heart of the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) and considered as one of the 108 places of special holiness (Divya Deshams) of Lord Vishnu. Here the Lord Vishnu is worshipped in reclining posture on the Serpent ‘Ananthan’.
Here the sanctum sanctorum has three openings due to the huge size of the Sleeping Anantha Padmanabhaswamy (Lord Vishnu is in his Yogic Sleep). One is able to have the full darshan of the Lord from three different openings- Head from the Southern side, Naval through the second opening and Feet through the third opening. The temple is constructed in seven stories and it has a pond attached to it (Padmatheerthakulam or the Lotus pond) right in front of the temple.
On the outer wall of this building there is a wall clock called ‘Methan Mani’ (Muslim Clock). This clock has the face of a fierce looking demon and on either side of this face there are two goat like forms. When the hours are to be rung, the demon opens his mouth and the goats from either sides hit on the cheeks and the bell rings.
The city got its name, Thiruvananthapuram, from this temple only. It can be explained in Thiru means Sree (a word used show respect to the addressee), Anantha means the great serpent on which Lord Vishnu lies in his Yogic sleep, and Puram means City. So Thiruvananthapuram means the City of Lord Vishnu. In fact, every one believes that the city is belonging to the Sree Padmanabha Swamy.
Entry is allowed to people of all religion. Men should wear mundu (dhoti) but no shirt. Men are allowed to use a shawl to cover their shoulders. Woman can either wear a Sari or Kerala style set mundu. No churidhar or jeans is allowed inside. But at the entrance you can hire mundu to wrap over your dress both for men and women.
No entrance fee is required to visit the temple. No photography is allowed inside the temple. The important festival of the temple is Lakshadeepam. It happens only once in 6 years and for the festival one lakh oil lamps are lit in and around the temple.
It is one of the important tourist places in Kerala and it draws a large number of tourists on daily basis. The visitors include Indians as well as foreigners.
The temple is having a treasure which were kept in the vaults by the then Tranvancore rulers during the emergence of a foreign invasion. Now the question is how it should be used. Since it is belonging to the Lord Vishnu, it is better to protect there itself rather than it is reaching the wrong hands.
Update : July 3, 2011, 2:25 am
Unconfirmed sources said that the total value of the treasure found in the temple has crossed Rs. 90,000 crores. There are two more vaults left out of the 6 vaults marked A to F for stock taking. One of the important discoveries was a precious diamonds and emerald studded 2 feet long ancient idol of Lord Vishnu.
Update : July 4, 2011, 10:57 am
Out of the 6 vaults numbered from A to F, vault B will not be opened soon but vault E is opened today, In E, items required for the daily routine of the temple are kept. The decision to open vault B will be taken in a meeting which is scheduled for the 8th July, 2011.
Update : July 5, 2011, 10:59 am
Kerala Chief Minister Mr. Oommen Chandy has assured that the treasure found inside the vaults of Temple will be kept in the temple itself. The government will bear the cost incurred for securing the wealth in the temple. Regarding the opening of the vault B, the royal family of Travancore says that the opening of that vault would be a bad omen since its door has a model of a snake. The vault which is made of thick steel plates couldn’t be opened yesterday due to the lack of expertise of the committee appointed by the Supreme Court. This vault has been under lock and key for more than a century now.
Update : July 6, 2011, 7:39 am
The Supreme Court has ordered that Rs. 90,000 crores worth of treasure found at a Kerala temple will now be filmed and photographed and also said today that it wants to appoint an expert to suggest ways in which the treasure can be preserved. It will give further directions on Friday on this matter
Update : July 8, 2011, 11:10 am
Supreme Court has postponed the procedure for the opening of vault B to July 14. It was scheduled for today but it is postponed due to the conflicts arised later on that whether the items should be disclosed to the public or not.
Update : July 11, 2011, 5:32 am
The Kerala government said on Sunday that it will not interfere with the treasures discovered in the centuries-old Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in the state capital of Trivandrum.
Update : July 30, 2011, 4:41 am
Additional Director General of Police Venugopal K. Nair, who is currently overseeing the security of the temple, said that the metal detectors placed at the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple are faulty and work on and off.
Update : August 10, 2011, 6:25 pm
3 days ‘Devaprashnam’ at Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple is over and according to the priest is it not advisable to open the Vault B, because it makes the god unhappy. Moreover, it is indicated that lot of secrets, not only the treasure, are hidden deep down the shrine and if it is opened, it will not only adversely affect the prosperity of the devotees but the prosperity of the nation as a whole.
Update : August 12, 2011, 6:27 am
Astrologers, who conducted Devaprashnam to ascertain the will of the God, said god does not want the treasure found at the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple to be taken out of the premises in Thiruvananthapuram. The lord is not pleased with intrusion into the chambers that has already taken place and the astrologers warned that the opening of Vault B will invite the wrath of the God. More over, the Vault B located below the sanctum sanctorum. The astrologers are saying the Vault B is having the Moolavigraham (Idol) and Sree Chakram of the god.
Update : September 22, 2011, 2:12 pm
Supreme Court has postponed the opening of the Vault B to a later date. In its order Supreme Court has said that the it will decide when the vault has to be opened at its own discretion and not in consultation with the priests. Before giving orders to open the Vault B, the already found valuable in the remaining vaults need to be digitally archived. Regarding the security, Supreme Court has said that there is no need of Central force and the State Police will take the charge of the security of the temple.