Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala, is home to a temple considered one of the greatest mysteries that exist today. Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, touted as the richest temple in the world, is one of the major attractions in Kerala.
Not only is the temple an architectural marvel, but the structure is also said to possess immense wealth, which became the center of discussion, after a PIL was filed, in 2011, seeking a probe into the famous six vaults that the temple hides. Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple is one of 108 Vaishnavite (dedicated to Vishnu) temples around the world.
Although the temple’s exact advent, according to the Temple Trust, is “lost in antiquity”, some reports trace its roots to the 16th century, due to hints of Chera and Dravidian styles in its architecture. The temple houses a giant deity of Vishnu, reclining in a yogic sleep pose, and features a tall golden “gopuram” facade on the exterior.
The extremely religious significance of the temple is not the reason the temple is known around the world, but the six underground vaults which, according to reports, were where the ruler of the city, formerly known as name of Travancore, used to hide his wealth and donations to the temple, for centuries.
Labeled A, B, C, D, E, and F, these six chests came into the spotlight in 2011 and requests to open the chests grew. As a result, an initiative undertaken by the state government resulted in the opening of five of the six vaults. And the move just blew people away. The vaults yielded an unimaginable amount of concealed wealth in the form of golden statues, chains and coins. Bags of gems, including diamonds, have also been looted from chests, with Chest A containing the maximum amount.
One of the six chests was never opened due to folklore suggesting the wealth was guarded by supernatural powers. Many also believed that one end of the chamber opened up to the Arabian Sea as a few officials trying to open the vault heard sounds of waves crashing inside the vault.
The PIL also demanded the proper valuation and change of management neglecting the riches found in the temple. In 2020, the supreme court in India ruled that the sole authority of the temple would rest with the leadership that already presided over the religious structure. With the Supreme Court’s decision, the temple was hidden, along with the billions worth of bullion found in the chambers.
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