Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple's treasures
The stock-taking by a panel of experts at the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple has catapulted the shrine to the country’s richest, with reports claiming the value of recoveries may have touched close to Rs 1 lakh crore, more than Kerala public debt of Rs 70,969 crore. With one more “secret” vault yet to be opened, the figure in all likelihood will go up further. But sources said the figures could only be speculation as it wasn’t possible to determine the value of the gems and jewellery. “These are antique pieces and it’s not possible to determine their prices,” said historian and former director of Indian Council of Historical Research M GS Narayanan. In other words, the worth of the treasure could be higher. The Supreme Court-appointed committee on Sunday refused to confirm reports about the value of the recoveries, saying that its mandate is limited to making an inventory of the assets. Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy said the treasure would remain with the temple. “The wealth belonged to the temple and it will be preserved where it was found. The state will ensure its security,” Chandy said. He said the police would patrol the shrine 24X7. “Permanent security will be put in place only after consultations with the chief priest of the temple and the Travancore king who is the caretaker of the shrine,” the CM said. A source said the seven-member panel was stunned by what it found in the secret vault marked ‘A’ during its inspection on Thursday. There were close to 1,000 kg of gold coins, some from the East India Company era and Napolean’s period, about one tonne of gold in the form of rice trinkets, sack full of diamonds said to be from Burma and Sri Lanka, a rope made of gold and thousands of pieces of rare “sarappoli” necklaces.