Padmanabhaswamy Temple is one amongst the richest shrines in the world, which has 6 underground vaults called Vault A, Vault B, Vault C, Vault D, Vault E and Vault F. These vaults are also known as chambers, which are full of royal treasure worth in billions.
Padmanabhaswamy temple situated in Thiruvananthapuram is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is considered to be one of the holiest of the 108 Vaishnavite shrines around the world.
This particular temple features an unusual statue of the deity reclined in yogic sleep.
Padmanabhaswamy Temple architecture
Believed to be from the 16th Century, the temple is built in stunning Chera style with Dravidian influences visible. It features a high golden “gopuram” facade that is typical of temples built in this architectural style.
Padmanabhaswamy Temple wealth
Various estimates have it that the temple holds treasures containing thousands of tonnes of gold, valued in excess of US$20 billion (Rs1.5 trillion).
Legends say that the vaults were stashed with wealth that Tranvancore rulers had acquired by conquest or by taxing their subjects for things like right of men to have a head and ‘lower caste’ women to have breasts.
A collector is believed to have determined the amount a woman owed in taxes depending on the size of her breasts—the larger they were, the more she was expected to pay.
In 2011 five of the temple’s six vaults, A, B, C, D, E and F, were opened and around 3,000 tonnes of gold, coins, sacks of diamonds and jewellery were found which the rulers of Travancore had accumulated over its centuries-long rule.
Padmanabhaswamy Temple Treasures in form of gold
The treasures included gold in the form of pots and jars, crowns, religious iconography, as well as gold coins from civilisations around the world including the Romans, French, Dutch, Venetians and as well as the Mughals. Some of the artefacts in the vaults are said to date back to 200 BC.
Padmanabhaswamy Temple wealth guarded by snakes
Ancient legend said that it was the principal repository of the royal family’s wealth and was guarded by snakes and if ever opened, would bring devastation to the world.
Erstwhile rulers to administer Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple
In the recent court verdict it has been decided that the descendents of the erstwhile ruling family of Travancore will continue to administer Kerala’s Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple and the vast treasures that fill its six underground vaults.