Marthanda Varma Takes Center Stage As Sreepadmanabham Passes 150 Episodes
Amrita TV’s Sreepadmanabham, is an imaginative documentation of the hoary past of the Padmanabhaswamy temple, the dynasty of monarchs who ruled the kingdom as vassals of the deity and the inseparable association of the shrine with the State of Travancore. After chronicling its centuries old history every Monday to Friday at 8.00pm for over 150 episodes, the stage is set for the entry of the valiant Marthanda Varma, the legendary king who renovated the temple and surrendered his provinces to Lord Padmanabha.
The tale takes up the thread at the juncture when the young Marhanda Varma, barely out of his teens is anointed by his uncle Veera Rama Varma as the prince of of Neyyattinkara and also vested with the powers of Thrippappur Mooppan, responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the Padmanaswamy temple. The shrine had been badly gutted in a fire during the reign of Umayamma Rani and was almost in ruins.
Marthanda Varma undertook extensive restoration of the ancient temple while simultaneously venturing to court his uncle’s daughter, the beautiful Umminithanka. Both his endeavors met with stiff resistance from different quarters. His attempts to rein in the powerful Madambis and curtail their privileges antagonized the mighty feudal lords and they resolved to do away with the future king , hatching plots to kill him. Reposing full faith in the Lord, Marthandan survived repeated attempts on his life, escaping sometimes at the nick of time, by the skin of his teeth.
The events and incidents depicted in Sreepadmanbham present a fictionalization of recorded history as it is based on authentic and accurate information inscribed in the palm leaf manuscripts of the Rajya Karya Churana, official documents that had been part of a written tradition of transmitting knowledge since the 11th century in Kerala.
Interwoven into the backdrop off the pot are little known details , of the temple, the installation of the idol, the daily rituals and rites observed in the inner sanctum, the traditions established over centuries, its inner pass ways, its architectural marvels etc so that a regular viewer becomes thoroughly familiar with the temple’s background and its customs.
As the faded accounts on dusty palm leaves resurrects to life on the small screen through the episodes of Sreepadmanabham, the historical mega serial offers a glimpse into the forgotten chapters of Kerala history and the sacred temple that bore witness, to that history being made.