Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple closed after priest, 10 others test Covid positive
One of the richest shrines of the country Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram has been closed for devotees till October 15 after chief priest of the temple and 10 others tested positive for Covid-19, temple executive officer V Ratheesan said.
All regular rituals will be performed by the priests sans devotees during this period and authorities are hopeful of reopening the temple on October 16. The decision to close the temple for devotees was also taken in view of the 10-day Alpashi festival scheduled from October 15 at the temple. The festival is likely to be held symbolically and the chief priest will take a final call on the matter.
This is the second closure of the shrine since its shutdown following the nationwide lockdown in March and reopening for devotees on August 26, while ensuring strict adherence to Covid-19 safety protocols.
Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple shot to fame after an estimated wealth of Rs one lakh crore was unearthed during the execution of Supreme Court’s order to prepare an inventory of treasures kept in one of the vaults of the sixth century temple in 2011. After this, the number of visitors to the temple increased and it turned into a major pilgrimage and a tourism spot in south India.
When one of the secret vaults was opened, treasure estimated at Rs one lakh crore was found. There are six chambers—recently coded from A to F -- under the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. Of these, two are usually opened during the daily pooja and two others are opened twice a year, while the remaining two vaults (A&B) are secret vaults. The second secret chamber ‘B’ is yet to be opened and devotees claim it may contain more wealth than was found in the ‘A’ vault.
Travancore royal family, custodian of the temple, had have strongly opposed the opening of the vaults, saying “it was against the tantric customs and rituals and may bring trouble to the city which got its name from the presiding deity” The name Thiruvananthapuram is made up of Thiru Anantha Puram, or the abode of Sree Padmanabha, one of the many names of Lord Vishnu.