In this article, we are going to talk about a temple located in Kerala named Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple. The Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple of Kerala has emerged as the richest religious site in the world. Moreover, we will talk about the glorious history, architecture, unique wealth, and Padmanabha Swamy temple secrets, as well as the history and legacy associated with this temple. So, let’s start with the historical background of the Padmanabha Swamy temple.
Historical Background of Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple
Maharaja Marthanda Varma of Thiruvananthapuram renovated the present-day Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple in the 18th century. But, the history of Padmanabha Swamy temple is very old. The Shrine placed in Temple finds its mention in the songs of Nammalvar, a Tamil Vaishnavite Saint of the 9th century. While some evidence is also traced back to the Epic Silappadikaram written during Sangam Age in the 2nd century BC.
Moreover, per local legends, the establishment of Padmanabha Swamy temple is related to Saint Vilwamangalam. He is credited with the consecration of most of the temples of Malabar. Padmanabha Swamy used to meditate with his eyes closed to see Lord Vishnu. But every day, a child used to harass him during meditation.
One day in anger, he grabbed the child. Then before opening his eyes, the child told him that he is Vishnu. Disguised by the look of a small kid, Lord Vishnu invited him to Anantha Kadu Forest to see his Hugeous form. Big unknown to the location of the forest, the Saint followed the kid. Finally, he reached a Mahua Tree. The tree suddenly falls to the ground in front of him. Below Mahua Tree he finds Lord Vishnu lying on Anantha Naag.
When the news of the appearance of Lord Vishnu reached the king, he ordered a temple to be made at that place. Even today it is believed that the inner part of the idol is made from the same tree. Further, this temple was renovated by King Marthanda Varma.
Geographical Location of Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple
Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple is situated in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. Moreover, it is located in the center of the east port, near the Arabian sea. A ritual bath is given to the Idol of Padmanabha Swamy in the Arabian Sea. Additionally, The architecture of this temple is also very tremendous.
The Architecture of Padmanabha Swamy Temple
The architecture of Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple is a unique synthesis of Tamil Dravidian architecture and the local Chera Style. The idol of Lord Vishnu lying in the center of the temple is also different from the rest. The main shrine is made in such a way that glimpses of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva, three can be seen.
The right hand of Lord Vishnu is touching Shivlinga. Moreover, a Lotus is blooming from his navel on which lord Brahma is sitting. That’s why the temple was named as Padma-Nabha-Swamy. The core of the Shrine is made up of wood embedded with Shaligram stones. During Reconsecration, King Marthanda Varma ordered 12000 Shaligram stones to be brought from the Gandaki river of Nepal.
Richest Temple of the World
Due to so much wealth found in the Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple, the temple has been very much discussed recently. 6 vaults have been discovered here. The vaults open under the supervision of the Supreme Court had wealth of 1 lakh crore. Further, Padmanabhaswamy Temple’s treasure worth is more than that 1 Lakh Crores. Due to this discovery, Padmanabha Swamy Temple becomes the richest temple in the world. Apart from this richness, the temple has also been the center of many controversies.
Controversies & Legacy of Padmanabha Swamy Temple
Controversies of Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple
The Travancore Kingdom used to follow the system of Matrilineal Succession. The queen here was not the wife of the king but his sister. Moreover, the throne was not given to the sons of the king, but to the son of his sister. In the 18th Century AD, Maharaja Marthanda Varma dedicated his whole empire to Lord Padmanabha Swamy. Further, he declared that he would spend his life as a slave at the Padmanabha Swamy Temple. The next generations of Marthanda Varma followed the declaration.
After Independence, the Travancore Kochi Religious Institutions Act, of 1951 provided Shebait Rights to Travancore royal family. In 2011, Kerela HighCourt ended the Shebait rights of the royal family. But, the order was stayed by Supreme Court. For wealth estimation, under the Supreme Court custodian, One by one all the Vaults started opening. But, the opening of Vault B is opposed by priests. Vault B has an image of the snake over it and its opening may invite divine wrath. The Padmanabha Swamy temple’s secret door is not opened yet.
Giving precedence to customary law, Supreme Court restored Shebait rights to the royal family in 2020 and also ordered the conservation of the property of this temple. Moreover, the district magistrate of Triavanthipuram looks after the daily administration of the temple. Moreover, customs and rituals are headed by the royal family.
Also Read:- Story of Ahiliyabai Holkar
Legacy of Anantha Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Kerala
The name of the city was changed from Trivandrum to Thiru-Anantha-Puram i.e. Thiruvananthapuram which means ” City of Lord Anantha“. The Painkuni Arattu festival is celebrated in March-April whereas the Alpashi Arattu festival is celebrated in October and November. For ritual baths, Lord Krishna and Load Narsimha are carried on elephants to the Arabian Sea. The festival is so popular that, Thiruvananthapuram flight operations are suspended for the time being.
Both these festivals work to create harmony in Malayali Society. Moreover, the Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple is an important center for people of the Vaishnavite faith. It would not be wrong to say that this Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple is not a history-making temple, but a history itself.