Mystery About The Seventh Gate Of Padmanabhaswamy Temple
By: Pinki Tue, 02 June 2020 09:12 AM
Padmanabhaswamy Temple, located in Trivandrum, dedicated to Lord Vishnu should definitely be on your “Places to see in Trivandrum” list. The temple is always in news for various mysteries associated with it. Be it about the secret vault or the unimaginable amount of treasure in the form of gold and silver, this temple has been the talk of the town for times more than you can imagine. I had my fair share of preconceived notions around the temple. But all of them seemed to vanish into thin air as I stepped inside the temple. The shrine is currently run by a trust headed by the royal family of Travancore.
Padmanabhan, who is thirty-nine, has spent his life in Trivandrum, which is at the southwestern tip of India, in the state of Kerala. His home and his law office are on historic Brahmin Street, just outside the gates of the temple, which has a monumental seven-story tower whose pale granite façade is a tapestry of stone, etched with ornate images of gods, nymphs, sprites, and demons. On the day that I had arranged to meet Padmanabhan, in mid-October, I found him in the middle of the street, barefoot, in a downpour. He was staring at the temple, as if in a trance. I tried to get his attention, but couldn’t. Eventually, a clerk from his office brought him an umbrella, which he took without turning his head.
In 1731, one of the most powerful rulers of Travancore, Raja Marthanda Varma (he ruled from 1729 to 1758), built the magnificent Padmanabhaswamy temple in the capital city of Trivandrum (now called Thiruvananthapuram—the capital of the present Indian state Kerala).
One of the 108 Vishnu monasteries here has been located since the III century BC. e., and the temple complex was located in the XVI century. Raja built a Gopuram—the main seven-row tower of the temple with a height of 30.5 m, in the same place. It is decorated with many statues and sculptures, each of which can be considered a real architectural masterpiece.
According to preliminary data, the treasures found inside the temple are estimated at almost a trillion Indian rupees, which exceeds $22 billion in gold equivalent. Image via Wikimedia Commons
Inside the temple, there is a long corridor with a colonnade consisting of 365 beautiful granite columns. Their surface is completely covered with carvings, which is an example of the true craftsmanship of ancient sculptors.
The main hall of the temple building is decorated with frescoes depicting various mystical stories, and is intended to store the main shrine: the unique statue of Padmanabhaswamy—the form of Vishnu, who is in the pose of Anananthasayanam, that is, in an eternal mystical dream.
The sculptural incarnation of the supreme God lies on the giant thousand-headed snake Ananta-Shesha, the king of all the nagas. A lotus grows from the navel of Vishnu with Brahma sitting on it. The left hand of the statue is located above the lingam stone, which is considered the most important form and image of Shiva. His wives are sitting next to him: the goddess of the Earth Bhudevi and the goddess of prosperity Sridevi.
The 5.5-meter-high statue is built of 10,008 Salagramamashil (sacred stones) and is plated with gold and precious stones. It can be seen from the three gates of the temple—the feet are visible through some, the body through the others, and the chest and face through the third. For several hundred years, the direct descendants of the Rajas of Travancore managed the temple complex and were trustees of the earthly property of Vishnu.