THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India — What should, rising but still plagued by poverty, do with a newly discovered treasure of gold coins, statues and jewels in the vault of a Hindu temple, valued at some $22 billion?
Suggestions are pouring in from across the country and the world. Some say it should be used to establish universities and colleges. The man who brought the court case that resulted in the unveiling wants it handed over to the Kerala state government. Others want a subway system.
But here in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala formerly known as Trivandrum, many people — including the state’s top elected official, Hindus and the royal family that once ruled this part of India and still oversees the temple — argue that the treasure should remain, largely untouched, at the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple where it has been housed for centuries. Read more.
Treasure, thought to be worth billions of rupees, has been unearthed from secret underground chambers in a temple in the southern Indian state of Kerala.
Precious stones, gold and silver have been found at Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, unnamed officials say.
The riches are thought to have been languishing in the temple vaults for more than a century, interred by the Maharajahs of Travancore over time.
They have not been officially valued and inspectors are taking an inventory.
Inspectors say they will continue cataloguing the treasure for at least one more week.
Unofficial estimates say that the treasure discovered so far over four days of inspections may be valued at more than 25 billion rupees ($500m). But historians say that assessing the true value of these objects is likely to be extremely difficult.
Nevertheless security has been stepped up at the temple: “I have instructed the police chief to reinforce security further following the findings and it would be there permanently,” Oomen Chandy, the state’s chief minister said. Read more.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Two ‘secret’ chambers inside the Sri Padmanabhaswami Temple will be opened later this month by a special panel to make an inventory of its assets — rumoured to be precious stones and jewellery — stored by the erstwhile rulers of Travancore princely state.
“The panel will consist of two retired judges of the Kerala high court who have been appointed observers by the Supreme Court. Besides, it will also have additional chief secretary K Jayakumar as the state representative, an officer not below the rank of deputy director from the central archeology department, the petitioners in the matter, and a nominee of the Travancore palace,” temple executive officer Hari Kumar said. The executive officer is also part of the team.
Though there are six chambers, only two of them have not been opened so far. Read more.