THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple administration committee said the allegations raised against them that the ‘Onavillu’ will be made by outsiders was baseless. The allegations were made by the members of Vilayilveedu family, who are assigned to draw the Onavillu.
Speaking on this, temple executive officer K N Satheesh said that the Onavillus prepared by the family will be placed in the sanctum sanctorum as per tradition. “Considering the huge demand from devotees, we have assigned some temple staff and devotees to make additional Onavillus,” he said.
However, the members of Vilayilveedu, at Melarannoor, Karamana, told City Express that temple authorities have asked outsiders to make ‘Onavillu’. For centuries, the bows have been painted by the family, according to the members. They had said they have registered it as a trademark of the ‘Onavillukudumbam’ at the Government of India Trademark Registry in 2011.
However, the temple authorities do not support the claim that the family has the sole right to paint the bows. “No particular family has a special right to paint the Onavillus. For example, G Suresh, a temple staff, has been doing the work since 1989. Before that, G Subrahmania Iyer, another temple staff, used to paint the bows,” Satheesh says.
In a press note, the temple authorities say that the family will be allowed to paint the bows only upon the instruction of the authorities.
Temple authorities said that they had decided to raise the cost of painting a bow to Rs 575, and had placed an order with R Binkumar, a member of the family. Though two registered letters were sent to him stating the same, Binkumar did not sign on the agreement nor collect the wooden boards on which the paintings need to be made, according to the authorities.
It was under these circumstances that they decided to get the bows painted inside the temple by artistes under the supervision of G Suresh, the authorities said in the press note.
The temple has also alleged that Binkumar had been selling bows, which were not kept at the temple as an offering, to the devout. This was without the knowledge of the temple authorities, they have said.
Traditionally, a pair of bows with ‘Ananthasayanam’ painted on it is offered at Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. Bows with ‘Pattabhishekam’ and ‘Dasavatharam’ is offered at the shrines of Sree Ramaswamy and Narasimhaswamy, respectively. For the past few years, two more pairs- ‘Sastha’ and ‘Ganapathy’- are being offered. According to the ‘Onavillu’ family, they have proof in Mathilakom records to prove that they have traditionally made the bows.