Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple: Do not open Vault B! – Megha Varier

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple Vault B

Megha VarierConveying the family’s stand that Vault B should not be opened, Adithya Varma, member of the royal family, told TNM that the “secret and the sacred needs to be preserved.” – Megha Varier

The demand to open the last of the six vaults in the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram has once again created a divide in opinions.

Vault B, a chamber said to contain mysterious treasures remains closed even as other vaults in the temple were opened to take stock of the inventory as per directions of the Supreme Court.

While the CPI-(M)-led LDF government in the state has begun to hold discussions with the erstwhile Travancore Royal Family (that once managed the temple), members of the family continue to stick to beliefs that Vault B must remain closed.

Conveying the family’s stand that Vault B should not be opened, Adithya Varma, member of the royal family, told TNM that the “secret and the sacred needs to be preserved.”

“It is a sacred and a secret place. It is said that there is a passage from this Vault B that leads to the sreekovil (sanctum of the temple). Why should it be exposed to the public? And we have heard so many stories about the consequences of opening it,” Adithya Varma argued.

Even while maintaining that the family is bound to obey the Supreme Court’s decision on the matter, Adithya Varma said that Vault B shall remain closed, so that the “sanctity of the temple is preserved.”

Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Devaswom, held a round of discussions with the family on Monday, regarding the opening of Vault B. However, the family reiterated their opposition.

Adithya added that although the family will not blindly oppose the opening of the chamber, the final call was to be taken by the Thanthri of the temple.

“Even when this issue came up in the past, we (the family) relied on Thanthri’s decision. That will be so this time around too. In the past when Devaprashnan (a ritual to ask God’s opinion) was done, the Thanthri advised us against opening the vault. People’s movement will only disturb the sanctity of the chamber and that is not advisable,” Adithya Varma said.

Asked whether the family was trying to hold on to its powers, even in a democratic set-up, the young member of the family said, “See, we don’t have anything to hide. People are saying that there is something in there that we are trying to hold on to … in the sense that we have some personal interest in keeping it closed. But we have seen what happened when they tried to open the vault previously. Justice Rajan and Justice Krishnan had, in 2012, tried to open the vault. But one person sustained injury and began to bleed profusely, after which, they had to drop the idea,” he said.

Former CAG Vinod Rai in his report to the SC had said that the royal family’s opposition was incorrect as Vault B had been opened several times in the past.

Responding to this, Adithya Varma said, “Vault B has two chambers. Only the ante-chamber, a small room, was opened in the past. The inner chamber has never been opened.”

Adithya Varma, however, added that it was up to the SC to give its decision and that everyone, including the family was bound to obey it.

“The state government is of the opinion that the Vault B should be opened. They will give their affidavit to the court, we will do so too. But ultimately, we have to go by what the apex court decides,” Adithya Varma said. – The News Minute, 10 July 2017

» Megha Varier reports for The News Minute from Kerala and Karnataka.