Major Renovation of Temple by Marthanda Varma
It is believed that Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple and its properties were maintained by Ettuveetil Pillamar – the eight powerful Nair feudal lords of ancient Travancore. Later His Royal Highness Sree Marthanda Varma Anizham Thirunal suppressed the Ettuveetil Pillais and his cousins and took over the control of the temple. Marthanda Varma has done a major renovation to the temple and it is said that the current structure of Padmanabhaswamy temple was made by the King.
Murajapam and Bhadra Deepam Introduced in Temple
It was Marthanda Varma who introduced the Murajapam and Bhadra Deepam festival in the temple. Murajapam, which literally means continuous chanting of prayers, is still conducted in the temple once in 6 years. Murajapam is performed when 12 Bhadradeepam joins.
Travancore was dedicated to Sree Padmanabhaswamy in 1750
In 3rd January 1750, Maharajah Marthanda Varma dedicated the kingdom of Travancore to Lord Padmanabha. Marthanda Varma vowed that the royal family will rule the state on behalf of Lord and he and his descendants would "serve" the kingdom as Padmanabha Dasa or the Servant of Lord Padmanabha. Since then the name of every Travancore King was preceded by the title Padmanabha Dasa, while the female were called Padmanabha Sevinis. The donation of the kingdom of Travancore to Padmanabhaswamy was known as “Thripadidanam”. After dedicating the kingdom to the Lord, Marthanda Varma was known as Sripadmanabha Vanchipala Marthandavarma Kulasekaraperumal. By giving the Kingdom to Lord Padmanabha, the whole Travancore state became the property of Sree Padmanabhaswamy, and hence it is very appropriate to call Kerala as “God’s Own Country” or Sree Padmanabhaswamy’s Own Country.
Travancore Kings after Marthanda Varma
After the death of Marthanda Varma in 1758, all the succeeded Kings of Travancore took great care in continuing the daily poojas and ceremonies of Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple intact and also rule the kingdom as Padmanabha Dasa. The successors of Marthanda Varma was Dharma Raja, Balarama Varma, Gowri Lakshmi Bayi, Gowri Parvati Bayi, Swathi Thirunal, Uthram Thirunal, Ayilyam Thirunal, Visakham Thirunal, Moolam Thirunal, Sethu Lakshmi Bayi, and Chithira Thirunal. The present head of the Travancore Royal Family, Sri Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma also keeps the words of Marthanda Varma and is very loyal to Sree Padmanabhaswamy and maintains the temple rituals and ceremonies intact.