Kerala coping with temple riches; now worth Rs 1 lakh crore

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Padmanabhaswamy idol
Thiruvananthapuram, Jul 4: With the treasure haul in the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple continuing, the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram is slowly catapulting into the hall of fame as the richest temple in the country. With wealth estimated at more than Rs 1 lakh crore, with the antique value of some of the items yet to be ascertained, looks like the Kerala government is faced with the mammoth task of providing massive security to the treasure trove.

With temple officials and court observers stunned due to the sheer magnitude and the nature of the find, they seem to be still grappling with the historical value of most of the assets. With the antique value of the wealth not figured yet, historian and former director of Indian Council of Historical Research M G S Narayanan has been quoted as saying, “These are antique pieces and it's not possible to determine their prices."

Of the total six underground secret cellars named A to F, two is yet to be opened. Meanwhile, a high level committee consisting of Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and other officials met in the aftermath of the treasure hunt and in a statement to reporters after said, “The wealth belonged to the temple and it will be preserved where it was found. There is religious and historical significance to the findings. The state will ensure its security."

Chandy further added that the state would provide security 24x7 with a control room in place to oversee the arrangements. He stated, “Permanent security arrangements 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."

Various awe-inspiring details of the assets are coming out through reports, of the 18 foot gold chain weighing 35 kgs, a foot long idol of Lord Vishnu, sacks of gold pieces shaped like rice grains, precious stones and emeralds and gold coins dating back to the East Indian Company and Napolean's era.

Apart from the huge treasure haul, the observers were also able to find documents called the 'Mathilakam records' that is believed to give an insight into how the assets came into the abode of Padmanabhaswamy.

MGS Narayanan stated the historical prominence of the find and added, “The temple has been known since the 9th Century and figures in the writings of that time. Native ruler of Travancore (then pricely state) Marthanda Varma had given away all the wealth to the deity and ruled the kingdom as the Lord's agent. Travancore was a very prosperous state and with its port facilities, traded in spices, sandalwood and ivory. The foreign currency recovered from the vaults may have come in through the trade route."

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