SC upholds royal family’s administration rights on Padmanabhaswamy temple  

The royal Travancore family which headed a trust, managed the finances of the temple, had filed an appeal challenging the 2011 Kerala high court's order

Padmanabhaswamy temple - Indu Malhotra
The Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram | File Photo: iStock

The Supreme Court on Monday (July 13) setting aside the 2011 verdict of the Kerala High Court, upheld the rights of the Travancore royal family in the administration of the temple.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice U.U. Lalit and and Indu Malhotra delivered the verdict on a batch of appeals, including the one filed by the legal representatives of the Travancore royal family, challenging the 2011 verdict of the high court in the matter.

On January 31, 2011, the Kerala High Court had directed the state government to set up a trust to take control of management and assets of the historic Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala. The temple shot to limelight after the discovery of ‘kallaras’ or vaults inside the temple, holding centuries-old wealth.

The former royal Travancore family which used to head a trust that managed the finances of the temple, had filed an appeal challenging the Kerala high court’s order. The controversy over the management of the temple has been pending in the apex court for last nine years


The apex court had on May 2, 2011 stayed the high court’s direction and had also ordered for a detailed inventory of the articles, valuables, ornaments in Kallaras (vaults). It was after this when the vaults were opened that scores of treasure, gold, gems and priceless objects worth almost 1 lakh crore were found. However, one vault was not opened as it reportedly contained extraordinary treasure with “mystical” energy.

As an interim measure, the District Judge of Thiruvananthapuram will head an administrative committee to manage the affairs of the temple.

The sprawling temple, an architectural splendour in granite, was rebuilt in its present form in the 18th century by the Travancore Royal House which had ruled southern Kerala and some adjoining parts of Tamil Nadu before integration of the princely state with the Indian Union in 1947