Imagine an ancient temple with walls made of gold and vaults filled with priceless treasures.
Imagine piles and piles of gold coins, ancient golden umbrellas, countless rings, lockets, and necklaces of gold and silver, many embedded with precious stones. Hordes of golden bows, arrows, shields and swords, and gold thrones encrusted with thousands of invaluable gems tucked away deep into cavernous vaults.
And we are talking about trillions of dollars’ worth of valuables and this is only the actual value, not the priceless antique cost which will be of course priceless even if we attempt to estimate it.
Welcome to the Padmanabhaswamy Temple lying within the state of Kerala, India. As the legend goes, the Padmanabhaswamy Temple was among the wealthiest ones in the world, with some texts dating from before 500 BC referring to it as “The Golden Temple” and claiming it was made almost entirely of solid gold.
And more than the gold, the ancient mysterious secrets of the temple make fascinating reading with much of the complex still unexplored or kept secret from the outside world for hundreds of years.
The mysteries of Padmanabhaswamy Temple
The name Padmanabhaswamy is derived from the word Padmanabha, meaning “One emerging from the lotus.”
Dating back from at least the 6th century onwards, the temple had been under the guardianship of the Kings of the Travancore Royal Family who steadily renovated it throughout up to the 20th century, after which the control of the temple passed to government hands. it is one of the 108 temples of Vaishnavism, or the worship of Vishnu, one of the main deities of Hinduism. Indeed, the temple prominently displays an enormous statue of Vishnu depicted in an unusual reclining position upon the five-hooded serpent with the whole thing measuring 20 feet square and carved from a single vast slab of stone.
In 2011, the ancient temple was finally explored more thoroughly after long being mostly closed off entirely from the outside world by the secretive royal family of Travancore, and it was found to house six massive sealed underground vaults, labeled A to F.
Vaults A, C, D, E, and F contained an insanely vast trove of treasure far beyond perhaps anyone’s expectations. The multiple chambers contained more than $20 billion in treasures. These include idols made of solid gold, gold coins from around the world, and necklaces and costumes studded with rubies, emeralds, and diamonds.
As a member of the government committee who was sent to oversee the project said later.
“I looked into the black vault, and I saw an amazing sight like stars shimmering in the sky on a moonless night. Diamonds and other precious stones flashed, reflecting the faint light coming from the open door. Most of the treasures were stacked in wooden chests, but eventually, the wood had turned into rubbish. Precious stones and gold simply lay in piles on the dusty floor. They were not really arranged systematically. There were baskets, some earthen pots, some copper pots, and in all these things, these things were kept. It was a magnificent experience. There are no words to describe it. I have never seen anything like this.”
But the search stopped when the team came across the seemingly impenetrable “Vault B.”
The Travancore royal family strongly objected this time and opposed the opening of this particular vault citing that it would be disrespectful to the temple’s central deity and could lead to widespread catastrophe for not only the Indian people but possibly the entire world. Interestingly, only the doors of Vault B are adorned with stone-carved images of ferocious serpents guarding its mysterious contents.
And according to legends, the door is impossible to open by any earthly means. It is said to be sealed by a mystical spell that could only be undone by the one who had cast it or an equally powerful priest.
And anyone who tries to forcefully open the door will unleash an unimaginable catastrophe. Indeed, many of the original committee members who were tasked with trying to open the vault have met with freak accidents and misfortune, further strengthening the idea that the vault is cursed.
The vault remains unopened to this day.
Vault B is still a mystery
The Travancore royal family filed an injunction in the court against opening Vault B — an injunction that still stands today. As per the law, no one can open that door for now, so its contents shall remain a mystery for a while still and the rumors continue to grow unabated.
Today Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the 90-year-old head of the erstwhile Travancore royal family, is more at peace as he replies to a question about vault B.
“I know what is in vault B. But what is the necessity for everyone to know about it? It is just idle curiosity and bad behavior,”
And he will not speak any more about that. He has closed the chapter, his mind, and his eyes. Some secrets are just not meant to be revealed.
As George Bernard Shaw has rightly said.
“The only secrets are the secrets that keep themselves.”
About the author-:
Mythili is a 50 + programmer by passion and a connoisseur of fine arts like painting, calligraphy, and pottery. She writes in the twilight between relationships, creativity, and human behavior.