Ancient Padmanabhaswamy Temple has long been shrouded in mystery. According to an ancient legend, there is a curse on those who defile the sacred site. In the 1930s, treasure hunters tried to open the temple, and as soon as they did, deadly serpents emerged from one of the vaults. Was the place really cursed? Also, it is believed that any manmade attempt to open the vault B will result in catastrophe. It can only be opened by chanting required Mantras.
Padmanabhaswamy Temple Architecture
The origin of the Temple of Sree Padmanabhaswamy is lost in antiquity. It is not possible to determine with any exactitude, from any reliable historical documents or other sources as to when and by whom the original idol of Sree Padmanabhaswamy was consecrated. The Temple has references in Epics and Puranas. Srimad Bhagavatha says that Balarama visited this Temple, bathed in Padmatheertham and made several offerings. Nammalwar, 9th century poet and one among the 12 Vaishnavite saints of the Alvar tradition, has composed ten hymns in praise of Lord Padmanabha.
Some well known scholars, writers and historians, like the late Dr. L.A.Ravi Varma of Travancore, have expressed the view that this Temple was established on the first day of Kali Yuga (which is over 5000 years ago). The legends of the Temple are handed down through the centuries. One such legend which finds a place in the old palm leaf records of the Temple, as also in the famous grantha entitled “Ananthasayana Mahatmya”, mentions that it was consecrated by a Tulu Brahmin hermit named Divakara Muni. On the 950th year of Kali Yuga a reinstallation of the idol was done. In the 960th Kali year King Kotha Marthandan built the Abhisravana Mandapam.
Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The shrine is currently run by a trust headed by the royal family of Travancore. The temple and its assets belong to Lord Padmanabhaswamy, and were for a long time controlled by a trust headed by the Travancore Royal family. However, now the Supreme Court of India has removed the Travancore Royal Family from leading the management of the temple.
What Did The Treasure Hunters Find?
In 2001, archaeologists opened the underground chambers and discovered six chambers and they labelled the vaults from A to F. They found gold coins dating back thousands of years, gold necklaces as long as nine feet and weighing about 2.5 kg, about one tonne of the yellow metal in the shape of rice trinkets, sticks made of the yellow metal, sack full of diamonds, gold ropes, thousands of pieces of antique jewellery studded with diamonds and emeralds, crowns and other precious stones that lay scattered in the chamber marked ‘A’.
Later, even more treasure was unearthed from the remaining chambers except B, 7 kg of gold coins dating back to the East India Company period, 18 coins from Napolean’s era, precious stones wrapped in silk bundles besides over 1,000 kg of gold in the form of coins and trinkets and a small elephant made of the yellow metal and also sovereigns bearing the 1772 seal. The gold and jewellery stored in the underground vaults are worth approximately $22 billion. The most mysterious of all is the vault B.
Mystery Behind Vault B
It is believed that the door of this vault, which has no latches or lock, has been closed by chanting Mantras and can only be opened in the same way, by chanting “Garuda Mantra”. Some believe that there is another hidden chamber inside this vault, and it has more than just materialistic riches.
Some people claim to hear voices of water flowing or serpents in the water, and believe that this vault might be flooded from inside and guarded by cobras. It is one of the richest and the most guarded temples of this world that was taken care of by the royal descendants of Travancore family, since ages.