Rs. 50,000 cr worth treasure in Kerala templeAnanthakrishan G, TNN
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The legend of El Dorado was definitely not set on the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple. But the seven-member panel, which is drawing up a list of assets at the famed shrine here, had a feel of the lost city of gold as they set foot in one of the two secret vaults located inside the sprawling granite structure which gives the Kerala capital its name.
On Thursday, the team assisted by personnel from the fire services and archeology department opened the locks of vault A to find a narrow flight of stairs leading down to an underground granite cellar. Oxygen was pumped frequently into the chamber and artificial lighting provided to enable the observers to work inside.
What they saw inside was startling, sources said. Gold coins dating back thousands of years, gold necklaces as long as nine feet and weighing about 2.5 kg, about one tonne of the yellow metal in the shape of rice trinkets, sticks made of the yellow metal, sack full of diamonds, gold ropes, thousands of pieces of antique jewellery studded with diamonds and emeralds, crowns and other precious stones lay scattered in the chamber marked ‘A’.
Friday threw up far more surprises in the form of 17 kg of gold coins dating back to the East IndiaCompany period, 18 coins from Napolean’s era, precious stones wrapped in silk bundles besides over 1,000 kg of gold in the form of coins and trinkets and a small elephant made of the yellow metal, sources said.
king Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma. There are a total of six vaults marked A to F in the shrine. The A and B cellars have never opened since 1872.There were also sovereigns bearing the 1772 seal indicating they were from the reign of the then native
Reports said the value of the recoveries so far from vault A alone may exceed over Rs 50,000 crore. This doesn’t take into account their antique value. With chamber B, yet to be opened, speculation was rife that the shrine would pip Tirupati Balaji, who too has been assessed at a little more than Rs 50,000 crore to a distant second. No official confirmation has been forthcoming on the value of the recoveries.
Asked about the value of the assets, Justice Krishnan said the committee was drawing up the inventory of items and were not determining their price. The panel had set out on the job on June 27 and opened three vaults marked C, D and F till Wednesday. Assets found in these chambers were estimated to be worth over Rs 1,000 crore.
The wealth discovery has raised questions on the shrine’s security. As of now, the internal security is managed by the temple employees, but this may be inadequate in the light of the events.
GOD’S OWN WEALTH
* Gold coins dating back thousands of years, gold necklaces as long as 9 feet and weighing 2.5 kg; one tonne of gold in the shape of rice trinkets; sticks made of gold, sack full of diamonds, gold ropes and thousands of pieces of jewellery studded with diamonds and emeralds.…* 17 kg of gold coins dating back to the East India Company period; 18 coins from Napolean’s era, precious stones wrapped in silk bundles besides over 1,000 kg of gold in form of coins and trinkets and a small elephant made of gold.
* The value of recoveries from vault A alone may exceed over Rs 50,000 cr. With chamber B yet to be opened, speculation is rife the shrine would pip Tirupati Balaji’s assets, which too has been assessed at over Rs 50,000 crore.