Interview With HH Ashwati Tirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bayi on Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple Case

The Padmanabhaswamy Temple has been in the headlines ever since one local lawyer (An ex-civil servant, who was close to Smt. Indira Gandhi) filed a case claiming that there are malpractices in the administration of the temple. As a result, the Supreme Court ordered for the opening of the vaults in Padmanabhaswamy temple in 2011, leading to the discovery of huge amount of wealth present inside the temple. Following this, a section of Mainstream Media intellectuals have been calling for using the wealth of temple for public welfare. They have also been defaming the Royals for keeping this wealth protected as a secret. Even the Amicus Curiae report which was supposed to be from a neutral perspective was unfairly against the Royals for it cited mere rumors as the proof for the existence of mismanagement.

Under this cloud of controversy, Hindupost reached Her Highness Ashwati Tirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bayi of the Travancore Royal Family. We tried to know the perspective of the Royals in this case, for the secular Mainstream Media has always denied them the chance to show their perspective in public.


1. Some people are calling for liquidation of Padmanabhaswamy’s wealth in the name of social welfare. What is your opinion about this?

A: This wealth which was found inside the temple vaults, belongs only to Sree Padmanabha Swamy. Social welfare though commendable is the responsibility of the state not of a temple. The will of the deity is known through devaprashnam. Devaprasnam ritual is unique to Kerala tantra traditions and the ritual concluded that the deity does not want the wealth to be taken out of the temple.

2. Mr. Achuthanandan from CPM has made many allegations against the royal family without sharing any evidence. How would you like to answer him?

A: Its unfortunate that a person, who is the former Chief Minister of Kerala, made such grave and totally baseless and irresponsible statement.

3. Amicus Curiae is calling for a second Devaprasnam to open Vault B. Many others are also trying to find some loophole to open the vault. What is the position of the Royal Family on this issue?

A: A second devaprasnam appears irrelevant. It is akin to questioning the validity of the will of the Lord as expressed earlier. The Lord has already conveyed his decision in the Devaprasnam conducted earlier. One can’t mess up with our practices and rituals in order to get the desired results.

4. There was a controversy due to EO unilaterally signing an order regarding the dress code followed at the temple. A heritage mandapam was bulldozed near Padma teertham tank under aegis of the same EO. Given that the EO as well as the current Administrative committee are temporary appointments by the Supreme Court, do you think they indulged in a breach of trust by these actions which are anathema to the temple traditions?

A:  It was a serious and unfortunate misuse of authority. It should never happen again. No responsibility has been fixed on any one to date – as such no action has been initiated. Regarding the destruction of Mandapam, it was a disappointing sight to see the mandapam in pieces moments after it was bulldozed. Any person from Thiruvananthapuram will feel as if those are the pieces of his heart lying broken on seeing that sight. Thankfully, the Lordships of Supreme Court condemned that action and have helped in rebuilding that mandapam to its original shape on our plea.

HH Aswathi Tirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bayi sat in protest when the Kalmandapam was demolished last year.

5. The EO made unsubstantiated accusations against the Royal Family in the Supreme Court. Heresies have been included in the Amicus Curiae report against the Royal Family. How is the Royal Family coping up with this situation?

A: As regarding the EO, the chapter was closed when the Honorable Supreme Court removed him from that post. Regarding the Amicus Curiae report, further action is under serious consideration.

6. It has been reported that 8 diamonds have gone missing from the tilaka of Lord Padmanabha. Who do you think is answerable for this?

A: We are not a part of the Administrative committee now. As we are away from the affairs of the temple, we are unable to suspect anyone and hence we refrain from making any comments.