indian heritage

Interesting Facts About Indian Heritage

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Indian heritage and culture is dynamic right from the advent of human civilization. The name GOLDEN BIRD was given to India because of its rich culture, diversity, geographical conditions, Resources, Ayurveda, Vedic Knowledge etc. Indian heritage temples and Kings had enormous wealth including gold and precious stones like Kohinoor.  In fact, gold was first found in India. In my series of REASONS TO LOVE INDIA today, I will give you insights into four Indian heritage temples that possessed riches whether in terms of architecture, a wealth of knowledge. starting with a recently found treasure in a temple in Kerala. To make it more explicit for those readers who have an appetite for the treasure tales, a historian Malyinkeezhu Gopal Krishnan has written a book “The Shree Padmanabhaswamy Temple” The book says about the strange happenings of June 2011 and stories about the secret chambers within the temple.

THE PADMANABHASWAMY TEMPLE’S TREASURE

This Indian heritage temple is considered to be the richest temple in the entire world. The origin of this temple is lost in antiquity. Some well-known scholars, writers, historians, like Late Dr L.A.Ravi Varma of Travancore, expressed on the basis of his research, that this temple was established on the first day of Kali Yuga (Approx 5000 years ago). It is dedicated to Lord Padmanabhya, an avatar of Lord Shiva. This temple in Thiruvananthapuram is one of the most popular shrines in India. One can see the reference of this centuries-old temple in almost all the Puranas including Mahabharata. Kerala’s capital also adopted its name from the temple. ‘Thiru’ ‘Anantha’ ‘Puram’ means “sacred abode of Lord Anantha Padmanabham.” The main deity in the temple is Lord Shiva in the ‘Anantha Shayana’ posture (reclined posture of eternal Yoga) on Adi Shesh or the King Of All Serpents. Since independence, all the controls of this Indian heritage temple have been in the hands of the descendants of the Travancore Royal Family.

This temple is considered to be the richest Indian heritage temple in the entire world. The origin of this temple is lost in antiquity. Some well-known scholars, writers, historians, like Late Dr L.A.Ravi Varma of Travancore, expressed on the basis of his research, that this temple was established on the first day of Kali Yuga (Approx 5000 years ago). It is dedicated to Lord Padmanabhya, an avatar of Lord Shiva. This temple in Thiruvananthapuram is one of the most popular shrines in India. One can see the reference of this centuries-old Indian heritage temple in almost all the Puranas including Mahabharata. Kerala’s capital also adopted its name from the temple. ‘Thiru’ ‘Anantha’ ‘Puram’ means “sacred abode of Lord Anantha Padmanabham.” The main deity in the temple is Lord Shiva in the ‘Anantha Shayana’ posture (reclined posture of eternal Yoga) on Adi Shesh or the King Of All Serpents. Since independence, all the controls of this temple have been in the hands of the descendants of the Travancore Royal Family

 

 

Talking about the chambers of the temple, If stories are to be believed, there were snakes to safeguard the immense wealth stored in them. An IPS officer T.P. Sundararajan filed a petition in the Kerala high court on January 31- 2011 seeking transparency and asking to take over the administration of this Indian heritage. On May 2, 2011, the Supreme Court directed a detailed inventory of the assets in the vaults A to F. The Travancore Royal family, who used to manage the temple, claims Vault B has mystical curses and energies over it and opening it would be nothing short of inviting a disaster to the state.

Reportedly a huge pile of Treasure was locked away behind the five vaults: gold, silver, diamonds and other precious stones cast into the idols, coins, ornaments and vessels among others. Estimated around one lakh crore was found in five of the six Indian heritage temple vaults when opened under the surveillance of the committee appointed by the court. This was a gross estimate of the treasure and if one adds the cost of jewellery artisans, it increases its value ten times. Historians believe that vault B contains massive treasures that the temple collected during the rule of the Travancore king.

 

Well versed with the history of Travancore, Columnist Malayinkil Gopalkrishnan once said that much of the treasures were a part of the offerings, penalties, penances or donations from the king of Travancore and other states. Historians believe that vault B contains massive treasures that the temple collected during the rule of the Travancore king. Some myths and beliefs are associated with the opening of Vault B  including the wrath of the ocean and snakes. Snake theory comes from the engravings in the vault’s door which resemble cobra, hence some believe that the door can only be opened by chanting a Sacred Hymn. Eventually, in July 2020, the Supreme Court refused to give permission to open the vault as it was an issue involving religious sentiments. Speculations are that the treasure behind vault B could be more than the wealth of the other five vaults.

 

THE SOMNATH TEMPLE’S WEALTH

To know the true wealth of Indian heritage and ancient temples it is not enough to know what is behind these temples. We also need to know what has vanished from these temples. Britishers looted 45 trillion USD. But if there’s one person who looted India more than the British, it was Mahmood Of Ghazni. He attacked India 17 times and he did not spare anything from people’s homes to Temples.

 

He was a ruthless invader and he had a habit of destroying temples. Because of this habit, he was known as an Idol breaker man. The fact gives me immense pain that Somnath Temple in Gujarat too was one that was destroyed 17 times. One of the 12 holy jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva is in Somnath temple. This temple, also mentioned in Rigveda, is said to have existed 2000 years ago. It had been a source of attraction for many invaders. Mahmud Of Ghazni invaded India 17 times and stole gold and silver idols from this temple, looted ruby gemstones and even broke the Shivlings in the temple. After the first plunder of Somnath Temple, a combined wealth of 20 million dinars or Rs.480 crores vanished from India overnight. After this Somnath was rebuilt and looted 16 more times. One can find the proof of this plunder in historian Firishta’s books. Firishta writes: Mahmood looted five gold idols from Somnath with Ruby Gems as eyes and each gem was worth 50,000 dinars. My readers won’t deny that heartaches that the items kept with devotion in the temples were ruthlessly looted.

 

THE KAILASH TEMPLE’S ARCHITECTURE

Furthermore, there is some kind of wealth that can not be looted, which was close to the invaders but shielded from their destruction. The Kailash Temple in the Ellora Caves complex (Maharashtra) is not just Indian heritage but a global heritage. It’s the largest monolithic structure in the world. Do you know why? Kailash Temple is the world’s largest temple which is built by carving a single rock mountain. The precious details of the temples have been carved by hand by our ancestors. Isn’t it amazing?. One wrong hammering can destroy the whole structure. You can see its perfection even after 1200 years. It seems that the entire temple has been 3D printed. around 2,00,000 tonnes of rock were removed to give shape to it. Stones that were displaced from this construction while building this temple was so many that we could build the Pyramid of Giza with them. Archaeologists believe that technically it should have been constructed in 100 years but it took only 18 years to complete it. It is impossible to even with modern technology. Cruel Mughal ruler Aurangzeb made a strong attempt to vandalize this Indian heritage and gave 3 years to his 1000 soldiers but failed to leave minor damages.

NALANDA UNIVERSITY’S KNOWLEDGE

Knowledge is the most precious wealth for anyone which cannot be taken away from you. There are many Indian heritage temples in India whose stories go deeper than brick and stones. Usually, children have imparted knowledge of Vedas in the temples. This wealth was given free to the people. It hurts to hear the story of our Nalanda University. Located in Bihar, It was not just a university, it was a modern Buddhist Temple. It is believed to have 2000 teachers and 10,000 students. The university thrived under the Gupta Empire in the 5th and 6th centuries and lasted for 700 years accommodating students from all parts of the world. Started by Buddha, this centre provided a mixture of courses in medicine, arts, philosophy, and religious studies. The teachings also included specialities in Astrology, Psychology, Law, Astronomy, History, Mathematics, Economics and Medical Science. But its main goal was to impart spiritual lessons and moral code to its students. The hugeness of the place is best described by a Chinese monk and student Xuanzang. The archaeological survey of India carried out systematic excavations for about 20 years, starting in  around 1915

 

Nalanda was the world’s oldest, cultural and international university. Other big universities were Takshashila, Vikramshila, Vallabhi, Sompura, Mithila, Sharda Peeth, Pushpagiri, Odantapuri etc. A thousand-year prior to the establishment of western universities like Cambridge, Harvard, Oxford, Yale etc, these universities, mainly Nalanda were renowned for their academic excellence. The architecture of Nalanda was similar to modern university towns, which provide boarding and lodging for students.

It was ransacked and destroyed three times. When Bakhtiar Khilji looted India, he looted another very important source of wealth there which was its library called DHARAM KUNJ which literally means mountain of knowledge.  Many rare books with single copies were burnt within it including 9 million books. Thousands of monks were burnt alive and thousands were beheaded as Khilji wanted to uproot Buddhism. It is said that Nalanda continued burning for three whole months.

Indian heritage and wealth were not only in temples. Its rich culture which has attracted foreign invaders is not restricted to these four places only.  The Vedas of our country has been widely acknowledged and adopted worldwide. Still few ignorant people say that it is a country of Snake Charmers and forget the fact that ZERO is invented in India only.  My sole motto in writing this series is to make those people realize the greatness of INCREDIBLE INDIA. 

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