Will secret vault in one of India's richest Hindu temples be opened? Debate rages in Kerala

The Travancore Royal Family that manages the assets says opening the vault will unleash god’s wrath.
Will secret vault in one of India's richest Hindu temples be opened? Debate rages in Kerala
Will secret vault in one of India's richest Hindu temples be opened? Debate rages in Kerala
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Will the ‘mysterious’ Vault B of the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram be opened?

A chamber that has forever been shrouded in mystery, may soon be unlocked if the Supreme Court decides so.

The apex court stated earlier this week that it will examine the possibilities of opening the sixth vault (Vault B), at the famed Sri Padmanabha Swamy temple, considered the world’s richest Hindu temple.

This has again triggered the religion vs. rationality debate in the state. While many agree that it is time the public knows what invaluable treasures are stored inside the vault, others including the Travancore royal family that manages the assets of the temple have opposed it. They argue that opening the mysterious vault would unleash God’s wrath.

While the temple had been managed by a trust by the Travancore Royal family, the administrative responsibilities were given to a committee set up by the apex court in 2014.

On Tuesday, senior counsel Gopal Subramanium, who is assisting the court as Amicus Curiae in the matter, said that "Kallara" (vault) B of the temple should be opened, as it was closed on the apprehension that there is some mystical energy.

When all the five vaults of the temple were opened for audit purposes, more than Rs 10,000 crores of wealth was discovered in these chambers.

Although Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai, in his report had stated that this "forbidden" vault had been opened once in 1990 and twice in 2002, the royal family continues to propagate the belief that the opening of this vault will invite a catastrophe.

On Sunday, Devawasom Minister Kadakampally Surendran said that the CPI (M)-led LDF government was of the opinion that the vault shall be opened and its contents examined.

"If all the other vaults can be opened, then why it is that Vault B cannot be? The SC’s directive should be adhered to. I do not understand why members of the royal family are against the idea," the minister said. 

Placing faith in the report submitted by Vinod Rai, that said that Vault B had been previously opened, the minister said that the information must be authentic. 

As per the directions of the SC, the state government is expected to hold talks with the members of the royal family and arrive at a decision. 

Senior CPI (M) party veteran VS Achuthanandan too, questioned why there was such resistance in opening the vault. 

Criticising the resistance from the members of the royal family and arguing that the vault be opened, VS said in a statement: 

"Who do they fear? Some of the members of the royal family are behaving as if they know what the god wants. Did they bother to consider what god wants when the vault was previously opened? This means that it is not god that they fear." 

However, member of the royal family, Aditya Varma told Manorama News that the family wouldn't "blindly" oppose the opening of the vault. He added that the tantri's decision should be regarded as final. 

Meanwhile, BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan argued that decisions such as this should be left to be decided by believers.

There are many myths surrounding Vault B. While some fear a ‘curse’, others say the vault is connected to the sea. Read our story on the myths of the Vault B.

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