The Kerala High Court Monday asked the state government to take over control of the 16th century Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple in the heart of the capital city. The temple, at present, is maintained by the erstwhile royal family of Travancore.
A division bench of the court gave the direction while disposing a bunch of petitions related to management of temple affairs. The court asked the government to see that the takeover is completed within three months.
Ahead of the take over, the court directed the state government to create a trust and appoint “an honest official” to take stock of the precious items owned by the temple.
The temple’s main deity, Padmanabhaswamy, is a form of Hindu god Vishnu in Anananthasayanam (eternal sleep) posture and the city of Thiruvananthapuram derives its name from it.
The Maharaja of the erstwhile princely state of Travancore dedicated his kingdom to the deity, and pledged that he and his descendants would serve the kingdom as “Padmanabha Dasa” (servants of the Lord Padmanabha).
The bench in its judgment said that there was no kingdom nor any king anymore and hence the temple should be taken over by the government.
The foundation of the present “gopuram” (gateway) was laid in 1566 and the temple has a 100-foot, seven-tier “gopuram” besides a corridor with 365 and one-quarter sculptured granite-stone pillars with elaborate carvings.
Reacting to the judgment, the executive officer of the temple said that they would appeal against it