With Coffers Empty, Kerala’s Padmanabhaswamy Temple to Seek Help From Royal Family

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, INDIA, June 15, 2020 : In the wake of depleting revenue amid lockdown restrictions, the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple — which sits on over US$13 billion wealth — has slipped into a deep financial crisis, prompting the management to take some extraordinary steps. It plans to approach the trust controlled by the Travancore royal family for aid to tide over the crisis. The famous shrine’s revenue from day-to-day activities has plummeted to near zero since the lockdown began on March 25. Even after the government brought in relaxations, the temple committee had decided to not allow entry of devotees till June 30.

“The monthly expense of the temple comes to around $198,675. Previous savings from revenue earnings had helped the management run the show so far,” said V. Ratheesan, temple’s executive officer. The temple administration committee, which will meet in June-end, will discuss two proposals to tide over the crisis. First one is to ask for a substantial amount from the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple Trust which administered the temple until the Supreme Court entrusted it with a committee headed by the district judge. The case on the ownership of the temple is pending with the apex court. “Several assets of the temple were transferred to the trust when it was formed by former Travancore King Sree Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma in 1965. This was to mobilize money for the temple’s expenses. Hence, the trust is duty-bound to help the temple in a crisis like this,” said Ratheesan. The temple administration committee will also urge the state government to make a timely increase in the annual grant given to it.