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A Sneak Peek Into World’s Richest Temple’s Vaults

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Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, fosters a temple that is considered to be one of the biggest mysteries to exist today. Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple touted as the richest temple in the world, is one of the main attractions in Kerala.

Not only is the temple an architectural marvel, but the structure is also said to have an immense amount of wealth, which became the centre of discussion, after a PIL was filed, in 2011, seeking a probe into the six famous vaults that the temple hides. Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is one of the 108 Vaishnavite (dedicated to Vishnu) temples across the world.

Although the exact advent of the temple, as per the Temple’s trust, is “lost in antiquity,” some reports find its roots in the 16th century, due to the hints of Chera and Dravidian styles in its architecture. The temple houses a giant deity of Vishnu, lying in a yogic sleep pose, and features a high, golden “gopuram” façade in its exteriors.

The temple’s extremely religious importance is not why the temple is known around the world but the six subterranean vaults that, according to the reports, it was the place where the ruler of the city, formerly known as Travancore, used to stash their wealth and the donations made to the temple, for centuries.

Titled A, B, C, D, E, and F, these six vaults came under the spotlight in 2011 and demands for opening the vaults gained momentum. As a result, an initiative undertaken by the state government resulted in five of the six vaults being opened up. And the move just blew people’s minds. The vaults churned out an unimaginable amount of wealth concealed in the form of gold statues, chains, and coins. Sacks of precious stones, including diamonds, were also retrieved from the vaults, with Vault A containing the maximum amount.

One of the six vaults was never opened due to folklore suggesting that the wealth was being guarded by supernatural powers. Many also believed that one end of the chamber opened up to the Arabian Sea as a few officials who were trying to open the vault heard sounds of waves crashing inside the vault.

The PIL also sought the proper assessment and change of management overlooking the wealth found in the temple. In 2020, the apex court in India ruled that the sole authority of the temple would be with the management that had already been presiding over the religious structure. With the Supreme Court’s decision, the temple has been under wraps, along with the bullions worth billions found in the chambers.

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