Like a priceless jewel of unsurpassed brilliance, the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple rests in the heart of in the old, walled fort area of Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala. The temple displays a supreme blend of Kerala and Dravidian styles of architecture for the presiding deity Lord Vishnu, seen reclining on Anantha, the hooded Serpent. It is one of the 108 sacred Vishnu temples or Divya Desams (holy abode of lord Vishnu) in India, situated in an elevated part of the city on nearly seven acres of land. As a great devotional experience, a famed pilgrim centre, an extremely prosperous place of trade and commerce supporting skilled craftsmen, a meeting point of excellence in religious, scholastic and artistic ability, a landed seat of educational, devotional, martial and learning centre, a place of enchanting ethnic beauty and natural beauty, the city of Sri Padmanabha is basked in immense repute.
Marthanda Varma, known as the maker of Modern Travancore was a great devotee of the Lord, who surrendered his sovereignty and kingdom to Sri Padmanabha Swami after a spate of conquests and annexures of many big and small kingdoms, making Sri Padmanabha the sovereign head of the state. Henceforth the descendents of Travancore were known as Padmanabha dasas of the lord.
The temple is renowned for its architectural and sculptural splendour. Fascinating work of art in stone and bronze, mural paintings, and wood carvings all display the charisma of Dravidian style of architecture. Padma Theertham, the holy tank, beside which the temple stands with all its grandeur, set the divine aura for the temple. The entrance tower, which is about 10-0 feet high, is bedecked with numerous stone carvings. The idol of Lord Vishnu is composed of 12008 salagramams or round boulders brought from the Himalayas.
Recently, the temple acquired much fame following the discovery of gold, silver and precious gems from centuries old secret vaults of the temple worth billions. The priceless wealth in the vaults includes a hoard gold idols studded with precious stones, thousands of ancient gold coins, ornaments, golden elephant statues, footwear, umbrellas and much more. What is a fact of history is that almost eighty to ninety percent of this wealth was offered by the members of the Travancore Royal family to Sri Padmanabha swami as a token of their respect, adoration and love.