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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple

This is a Vishnu Temple In Trivandrum. The Lord is Padmanabha He sleeps on the couch Of Serpent, Adishesha. O Lord Hari! I bow before Thee I will sing Thy name In holy company. I shall do Thy will. Cut off my mortal bonds. Open the way to Thy feet. Thou art my life-breath. Thou art my soul. Thou art vigilant, While I sleep.

Om Namo Narayanaya
Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is one of the most famous Lord Vishnu Temples in Kerala, South India. Also known as Sree Ananda Padmanabhaswamy Temple, this Mahavishnu Temple is located inside East Fort, in Thiruvananthapuram - the capital city of Kerala, India. Lord Vishnu is enshrined here in the Anananthasayanam posture (in eternal sleep of yognidra), lying on Sri Anantha, the hooded snake. According to traditions, Sree Padmanabhaswamy Kshetram is believed to have been worshipped by Chandra (Moon God) and Lord Indra (the head of the Devas).

Importance of the Idol 
The idol of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is made up of 12008 salagramams that compose the reclining lord. They are special because they are from Nepal, from the banks of river Gandhaki and they were brought to the temple with all pomp and gaiety on elephant top. On top of them "Katusarkara Yogam", Navaratnams, a special Ayurvedic mix, was used to give a plaster. Followers believe that the Lord has personally come in disguise and had saved many times the Travancore Kingdom from the clutches of enemies.




The foundation of the present gopuram was laid in 1566. The temple has a 100-foot, seven-tier gopuram. 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. This corridor extends from the eastern side into the sanctum sanctorum. An eighty-foot flag-staff stands in front of the main entry from the 'prakaram' (corridor). The ground floor under the gopuram (main entrance in the eastern side) is known as the 'Nataka Sala' where the famous temple art Kathakali was staged in the night during the ten-day uthsavam (festival) conducted twice a year, during the Malayalam months of Meenam and Thulam.


Sree Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams of Lord Vishnu. Divya Desams are the holiest abodes of the Lord Mahavishnu that are mentioned in the works of the Tamil Azhvars (saints). 


It is believed that Sri Padmanabhaswamy Kshetram & its properties were controlled by Ettuveeil Pillamar under the guidance of Ettara Yogam in older times. But these Ettuveetil Pillamars & their cousins were defeated by King Marthanda Varma, who was the Maharaja of Travancore state. After that King Marthanda Varma made the last renovation of the temple & he took a pledge that he & his descendants would serve as the Padmanabha Dasa (servants of the Lord Padmanabha). Before the re-organisation of the states, the state emblem of Travancore was dextral conch-shell or valampiri Shanku, which was the royal insignia of Lord Vishnu. The present gopuram of this temple was laid foundation in the year 1566. Most people who have visited this temple are familiar with the fact that this temple stands by the side of Padma Theertham. There is a corridor in this temple which consists of 365 & at the same time one quarter sculptures granite stone pillars. During meenam & thulam, a ten day festival is conducted twice a year, in which Kathakali is staged during the night time in Nataka Sala. An important feature which is unique to Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple is that it has the idols of Lord Vishnu in all three different postures namely standing, sitting or reclining. That means the idols in the standing door is in the standing posture, the idols for festival processions are in the sitting posture & the idols inside the sanctum sanctorum are in the reclined position. The nivedyams or offerings of this temple include retna payasam, meni thula payasam, otta thula payasam, rice & jaggery pudding in ghee, paal payasam, pal manga, uppu manga(unripe mango soaked in brine water) etc. 

Rules & Timings

It should be noted that only Hindus are allowed to enter the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple located in Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala. Dress code is very important for this temple. Lockers are available here. No men as well as women are allowed to wear dresses that display both legs separately. Also note that men are not allowed to wear the clothes above the waist. Devotees are permitted to take the hand bags inside the temple but camers or cell phones are not permitted.

Darshan times

Before noon: 3:30- 4.45, 6:30- 7:00, 8:30- 10:00, 10:30- 11:00, 11:45-12:00
Afternoon: 5:00- 6:15, 6:45-7:20


756455Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple, the popular temple is associated with certain festivals like Alpashy festival, Painkuni festival, Navaratri festival, Laksha deepam etc. Among these festivals, the Navaratri festival is an annual festival associated with Sri Padmanabhaswami temple. During this festival, every year the famous swathi music festival is held & usually this festival lasts for about 9 days. The Kuthira Malika Palace located in front of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple is having major importance during this festival. This is because the idols of Durga, Murugan & Saraswati are brought to this palace as a procession during the Navarathri festival. Laksha Deepam (hundred thousand lamps) is considered as the biggest festival of Sri Padmanabhaswami Temple. It should be noted that this festival commences once in 6 years & chanting of prayers as well as recitation of three vedas is done for about 56 days prior to this Laksha Deepam. As the name indicates hundred thousand oil lamps are lit in during these festivals. The Painkuni Festival as well as the Alpashy Festival lasts for ten days each. It is important to note that among the Alpashy Festival & the Painkuni Festival, the former is in October/November & the latter is in March/April.

Treasure worth Rs 1 lakh crore

A week after the stock-taking process began at the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala, two more vaults will be opened on Monday. The estimated value of the treasure found at the temple is estimated to be over Rs 1 lakh crore. 

Now there are apprehensions about the safety of the priceless wealth found inside the temple chambers. The Centre is expected to provide security forces to guard the temple premises following the discovery. The temple, one of the oldest in Kerala, may soon turn out to be one of the India's richest.A seven-member Supreme Court-appointed team is taking stock at the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram.The chambers are believed to contain priceless gold and silver ornaments. The chambers had been kept shut for the last 130 years but were finally opened on June 27 following a Supreme Court order.One of the chambers believed to have remained shut for nearly a century revealed precious jewels, stones, ornaments and metal lamps of rare heritage and antique values when it was opened and examined on Thursday.
The inner recess of this chamber was believed to have previously been opened during the reign of Travancore ruler Sree Visakham Tirunal about 130 years back The opening of the first four chambers showed that three of them housed gold ornaments, vessels, jewels and precious stones worth hundreds of crores of rupees. It also had gold chains, diamond-studded bracelets, a crown and a golden bow. The temple, built in 18th century by King Marthanda Varma of the Travancore royal lineage, is run by a trust under control of the royal house and Lord Padmanabha is the family deity of Travancore Royal house.
The Supreme Court appointed committee consists of two former Kerala High Court judges. The actual worth of the treasure will only be revealed in a report to the Supreme Court.The apex court had issued orders on a private petition, which sought measures for greater transparency and accountability in management of the temple.


  1. 'Temple treasure belongs to Travancore royals'
    Kanchipuram: The huge treasures found in Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram were the 'exclusive property' of Travancore royal family that dedicated their kingdom to the presiding deity of the temple, Kanchi Sankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi said on Monday.

    "For long the erstwhile royal family was the custodian of the temple and they dedicted their kingdom to Lord Sree Padmanabhaswamy.The treasures were offerings made by erstwhile rulers to the temple, hence the recoveries belonged to the royal family", he told PTI.

    "However, the treasures should be kept in the temple cellars itself", he said.
    'Temple treasure belongs to Travancore royals'
    The cellars of the temple, closed for several decades, were ordered to be opened by the Supreme Court to prepare inventory while considering a private petition recently.

    The deity of Padmanabha Swami Temple is the family deity of Travancore royal family. Members of the erstwhile royal family had dedicated their kingdom to the deity and pledged that they will live as servants of Padmanabha. The Shrine is run by a trust floated by the Travnacore royal house.

    Vast collection of gold, silver, precious stones and priceless jewellery were discovered in the cellars of the temple while preparing the inventory.


  2. Padmanabhaswamy treasure is temple property

    Ever since the discovery of invaluable treasures in the vaults of Sri Padmanabha Swami Temple at Thiruvananthapuram, the secularists of various hues—atheists and Marxists—have been pleading for its transfer for public purpose like poverty alleviation programme. Apparently, either they have all missed the import and significance of these priceless findings or they think that Hindu temples are easy targets for such outright confiscation of what millions of devotees over centuries have donated as a demonstration of their faith.

    Once you concede that these treasures have come from the devotees across centuries, there is no other rational explanation—the demand for confiscation is dishonest and an outright insult to their faith. Even Jesus Christ had said, when a Roman coin was shown to him, that one should give to God what is God’s and to Caesar what is Caesar’s, thereby keeping the assets of the two apart. This is the basis of public trust which succeeding generations should respect if society is to have any meaning.

    Considering that such vast treasures stated to be worth Rs 1.50 lakh crore or more (antique values have still to be accounted for) were safely kept away from predators for such a long period through turbulent times, it is a tribute to the Travancore Royal family that they did not succumb to the temptation of appropriating at least some of it. The presence of treasure was never a secret. Most likely its extent and vast spread was not known.

    For centuries, till today, the king visits the temple like everyone else with his upper torso exposed, underlying his position as the servant of the deity. After the temple visit, the king gets his feet cleaned only to

    ensure that he did not carry even a particle of dust from the temple to his home. That was the scrupulous commitment the Hindu royalty had with referenced to the temple. It is, therefore, in the fitness of things that the newly installed UDF government in Kerala has refused to listen to the Leftist pleas to divert the treasure for purpose other than what the donees themselves wanted. It has also decided to consult the royal family regarding the upkeep

    of the treasure.

    In fact, the title “God’s Own Country” for Kerala comes from the large number of temples and their properties in the state. The Leftist evil influence in the state has seen to it that almost all the temples are deprived of the lands they had and instead depend upon government’s annual grants managed by special statutory

    bodies called Devaswom Boards.

    Not surprisingly, in the environment that the Congress and other ‘secularists’ have created in the country since Independence, the Hindu interests do not count and Hind sensibilities could be trodden down freely, but when it comes to Muslim and Christian sentiments, it is another matter. Any attempt to take over the properties of churches and masjids for better management immediately raises the ante.

    Why is there not a body like Devaswom Board to take over and manage the considerable Church properties? Interestingly, I am told, there is a 60- year-old dispute between two factions of a Christian sect in central Kerala. Even violent incidents have happened in the scuffle for property among these but the state as such has refused to intervene. Why ?

    With the discovery of so much wealth in the Padmanabha temple in Kerala, it is important that this does not go into the hands of the politicians of various hues and what is the temple property remains part of the temple itself. It may cost a fortune to protect this treasure, but it can be met from within, and need not be a burden on the state budget. Many countries do so to preserve their heritage by keeping them open for public viewing and charging a fee to meet the cost. God’s Own Country would only be adding to its tourist attraction by providing public access to this treasure trove for a fee.


  3. Court, commando cover for Kerala's Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple treasure pile

    THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In easy-going, slow-paced Thiruvananthapuram, there is a sudden spring in the general walk of life. After the mind-boggling find of treasures tucked away for centuries in the cellars of the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple here, there is a gust of activity on the security front, with courts and commandos joining the action in coconut country, Kerala.

    The Supreme Court has suggested filming of the temple's abundant treasures in an effort to ensure that the entire inventory of riches is protected, while commandos of the Kerala police, trained by the National Security Guard, are totting all around the coconut tree-lined precincts of the temple. Giving due respect to the contents of the temple vaults that are valued at nearly a trillion rupees, the commandos are brandishing AK-47s and not .303 rifles.


  4. The suggestion to film the contents of the vaults, learnt to be containing ornaments and gold coins as diverse as Venetian, Napoleanic and British, gold ropes that are several feet long, and crowns and pendants studded with bouquets of precious stones, has already led to debate.

    "There has been no tradition of videography in the temple. We have not done any filming so far, and no videography of temple rituals has been done in the past. We need to think about the matter in the light of the Supreme Court observation", administrator of the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple Trust, Jayasekharan Nair told ET.

    The temple is presently run by the trust, which in turn is constituted by the former royal family of Travancore, whose kings ruled the kingdom on behalf of the deity of the temple as Padmanabha dasas, or servants of the deity, Padmanabha.

    Other debates are also progressing on the sidelines. While security may be at the heart of the matter, not all devotees will be happy with the sight of the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple ringed by uniformed commandos outside and their colleagues in civilian attire inside. And some devotees' organisations are worried whether the 16th century temple itself will go into government administration.

    Yet others feel that a commando-fenced temple would be a jarring sight in the picturesque backdrop of the narrow, winding streets of Thiruvananthapuram where the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple with its boat-shaped granite tower has stood for centuries under the benign gaze of a gaggle of coconut trees and nothing else.

    There is pure irony in the situation, too. In coconut country Kerala, there is a crippling dearth of coconut climbers, and there is a standing offer from the state government of a million rupees to anyone who invents a robotic device that can harvest coconuts. Many contestants exhibited their wares last year at a competition held in the outskirts of the city. No contraption passed muster.

    The state government and the courts will be hoping that unlike coconut climbers, commandos will not be hard to come by, given coconut-climbing is not yet part of the mandatory skill sets for commandos at the moment – not even for those guarding what may be the world's richest shrine, in coconut palm-fringed Kerala.

  5. Sri Padmanabhaswamy: The Lord of the rings, necklaces and taxes

    The recovery of treasure worth over Rs5 trillion from the vaults of Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram has stunned the nation.

    Thanks to it, in Kerala’s libraries, sections devoted to Travancore history are seeing some action after decades. Interestingly enough, there are plenty of records on the wealth that was unearthed.

    The story of how so much wealth flowed into the temple vault begins in the 15th century, when the temple administration was controlled by a closed group, recorded as “ettara yogam” (the council of eight and a half) with eight and a half votes. Of these, eight votes went to seven Pootti (a Brahmin sub-caste) families and one Nair family. The Travancore royals held just half a vote.

    This powerful council of eight and a half divided the Travancore region into eight provinces, and the eight lords of Ettuveetil Pilla, a powerful Nair family, was put in charge of each. These eight Nair feudal lords soon became more influential than even the royal family. They were also notorious for their cruelty. History textbooks say that they conspired against the royals, and tried to kill young Marthanda Varma, who had to run away from the palace, and hide among the branches of a huge jackfruit tree. In exile, Marthanda Varma, with help from neighbouring kings, raised an army, attacked and killed all the eight lords, and became the king of Travancore.

    The king went on to fight and win many civil wars. The losers were fined heavily, and most of the fines collected went into the temple treasury. The wealth of the Travancore kingdom during his rule was found to be almost as much as that of the Bourbon Kings in France around the same period.

    Though an excellent strategist, Marthanda Varma lacked the infrastructure to defend the wealth and his kingdom against attacks, and so had to rely on the faith surrounding the temple. Therefore, in 1750, he ceded his crown at the feet of the deity in an officially recorded event, known as ‘Tripadidanam’. He basically abdicated his throne in favour of Lord Padmanabha, declaring himself and his descendants to be “Padmanabha Dasa”, meaning servants of the Padmanabha who would carry out the God’s commands. Doing so essentially meant the transfer of the kingdom’s wealth to the temple.

    With this brilliant move, Marthanda Varma secured his kingdom from possible attacks by his enemies. The neighbouring kings dared not wage war against Travancore, ruled as it was, by the God himself. Instead, they made generous donations to the temple vaults to mollify Padmanabha.

    Marthanda Varma renovated the temple and built the massive store rooms under the sanctum sanctorum, which became the vault of the kingdom.

    Padmanabha thus became the ruler of the land, and his insignia, “Valampiri Shankhu” (a conch-shell) became the state emblem of Travancore.

    Taken from the masses
    Historical evidence backs the claim that Marthanda Varma was responsible for most of the wealth found in the recent search. True, the bags of gold coins, diamonds, precious stones, 18-feet-long gold necklaces, jewellery weighing many kilograms, and solid-gold statues of gods and goddesses landed in the vault via the king. But in reality, the temple treasury was nourished by the sweat and blood of the masses as well.

    One of the main sources of the royal income was taxes. They were incredibly high for the lower castes, with marriages, childbirth and even death being taxed. Country boats, ploughs, carts, umbrellas, headscarves, why, even a moustache, were taxed. Mothers were allowed to breastfeed their newborns only after they paid the ‘mulakaram’ (breast-tax) to the local lord, who would then grant permission.


  6. .....contd

    It took a small but bloody revolution during the time when the Maathoor Panikkers were the landlords of Kuttanad to stop the breast-tax. The bloodiest story of the protest was of a young woman (name not known) from Cherthala’s Kapunthala family. She breast-fed her child without official sanction and the news reached the ears of the landlord.

    Enraged, he rushed to the Kapunthala house. The young woman faced him fearlessly, irking him further. He ordered her to pay the tax, and she agreed. She went into the house, and returned with her two breasts chopped. She threw them at the feet of the shocked landlord, collapsed and died.

    There is a custom that the members of the royal family follow. As Padmanabhadasas, they consider it their duty to keep the wealth of the deity intact. After every temple visit, they vigorously rub off specks of dust stuck on their feet so that Padmanabha does not lose even a grain of dust that belongs to him! While there’s no disputing the fact that the Travancore kings were zealous custodians of the deity’s wealth, it is undeniable that the loot is coloured not just by faith, but also by defeats, fears, deaths, conquests, and atonements.

  7. Kerala temple petitioner gets eviction notice

    The management of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple, where a treasure trove has been unearthed, has asked the petitioner, who moved court seeking transparency in running the shrine, to vacate the temple premises. Advocate TP Sunderarajan and his nephew TP Anandapadmanabhan have been living
    since the early 1990s in a building on the eastern precincts of the centuries-old temple, administered by the erstwhile royal family of Travancore.

    The modest agra haram, a traditional south Indian Brahmin dwelling, also houses his office, TPS Associates.

    The temple’s executive officer VK Harikumar said Sunderarajan and three other tenants had not paid rent for four years. “Though the monthly rent for his residence is a nominal R10, he has not paid it since 2007,” Harikumar said in his petition.

    Around 200 families of temple staffers or supplicants stay on the premises. While some pay rent at renewed rates, others are still charged rates set many years ago.

    Sunderarajan and the others stopped paying rent saying they were supposed to pay rent only to the king, Harikumar’s petition said. The last king died in the 1990s.

    The temple administration filed a petition in court recently, after which Sunderarajan was served an eviction notice.

    Sunderarajan was not available for comment as he and the seven-member committee entrusted with preparing the inventory of the temple have been barred by the Supreme Court from speaking to the media.

    He was the first to move court seeking transparency and accountability in running the temple. Following his petition, filed in December 2009, the Kerala HC ordered the state government to take over the temple.

    The Supreme Court stayed the verdict and constituted a panel to make an inventory of the temple’s treasures.

    The temple had six sealed chambers. Five of them have been opened, with a treasure estimated to be worth more than R1 lakh crore.

    On Friday, the Supreme Court ordered officials not to open the last vault, Chamber B, until the state government and the erstwhile royal family came up with suggestions to protect the wealth recovered so far.

    Chamber B is believed to contain jewellery and precious stones worth even more than the other chambers.

    source :

  8. Man who got Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple riches revealed dies

    THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Advocate TP Sunderarajan, the 1964-batch IPS officer whose legal intervention led to the stock-taking of Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple's colossal assets, died on Sunday, spurring talks of "divine retribution" among the believers.

    The 70-year-old passed away at about 12.45am at his brother's home around 30 metres from the shrine's west entrance. A family source said Sunderarajan, who was otherwise in good health, was uneasy and feverish for the last two days. On Saturday evening, he complained of wheezing and said he would not last until Sunday morning. He refused to take any medicine or go to a hospital. "At about 12.45am on Sunday, he said he wanted to go to the toilet, but collapsed before he could step in," a family source said.

    While some said his sudden death was divine retribution, others asserted he was not put through any suffering of old age. Stories of how tragedy had befallen those who entered the shrine, too, did the rounds during the day, but these could not be confirmed.

    Sunderarajan's health, who was behind the legal intervention for the stock-taking of Kerala's Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple's assets, deteriorated on Saturday evening. He had said he would not last until Sunday morning. His family members chose to dismiss his apprehensions; apparently he had said the same thing earlier as well.

    Sunderarajan also told a person close to him that he wanted to die before sunrise as otherwise the sun would pass from 'Uttarayana' (north) to Dakshinayana (south). According to Hindu texts, 'Uttarayana' is an auspicious time to leave the body.

    By about 8.30am, Sunderarajan's wheezing increased but he refused to take any medicine or go to a hospital. If he is relatives are to be believed, he never took medicines all his life. A home blood glucose test showed his level had dropped to 34. Intravenous glucose failed to revive the dipping sugar level.

    Sunderarajan had resigned from the Intelligence Bureau in 1974 to care for his ailing father T K Padmanabha Iyer who had lost his eyesight following a bout of diabetes. While in IB, he was a part of the inner security ring of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, said a family member.

    Sunderarajan was a bachelor living with his brother's family. The mortal remains were consigned to flames later in the day.

  9. Don't touch the secret temple vault: Devaprasnam

    There should be no attempt to open Chamber B, second of the six secret vaults at the Sri Padmanabha Swamy temple in Kerala, astrologers have learned from the signs that came up in the Deva Prasnam (astrological examination) held at the shrine in the context of a Supreme Court-appointed panel’s plan to assess the value of the treasures kept there.

    Death and destruction are likely to visit upon anyone who touches Chamber B and all his relatives because its stature as the original divine powers has to remain undisturbed, astrologers have concluded from the signs of the Thamboola Prasnam, the main part of the examination. The Deva Prasnam at the temple started on Monday.

    After analyzing 12 Thamboolams (betel leaves) over the past four days, the scholars said that the deity alone had the authority and right to enter Chamber B. They said that the one who touched the chamber and his relatives were likely to die of poison consumption or snake-bites.

    After analyzing the signs of the Prasnam, scholars said that there was no need of any other method or scientific practice to know beyond what had already been learned. The procedures on the third day had revealed that efforts to steal the temple property were possible.

    The signs that came up from the Prasnam on the fourth day emphasized the need for each member of the Travancore royal family, the traditional trustees of the temple and its assets, to always remain committed to protecting the shrine. Each member of the royal family should take oath in this regard, it was said.

    The Deva Prasnam was performed to know of the deity’s response to the move of the Supreme Court-appointed five-member committee to document and assess the value of the treasures kept in the vaults, including Chamber B. Devotees and the royal family had suggested that Chamber B should not be opened before holding a Deva Prasnam.

    The five-member panel, headed by National Museum Institute vice-chancellor CV Ananda Bose, had the other day decided to wait till the conclusion of the Deva Prasnam to take a decision on the modalities of going about the valuation process. A panel had earlier assessed the value of the articles found in the five chambers at over Rs 100,000 crore.

    Meanwhile, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who attended a high-level meeting on the security of the temple after visiting it, reiterated on Thursday that all the gold, precious stones and other valuables found there belonged to the shrine.

    “I have already made the Government’s stand clear. This wealth belongs to the temple and it should remain there. The security of this wealth and the temple is the responsibility of the Government and we would never forget it,” he said.

    Director General of Police Jacob Punnoose said that the security at the temple presently was mostly man-power based but efforts were being taken to upgrade it to technology-based system so that fool-proof security could be provided without causing disturbances to the rituals and devotees.