Monday, January 7, 2013

Hidden Treasure Worth Rs. 1 Lakh Crore Found in Kerala Temple - A temple from Travancore Royal Family


July 3, More than Rs. 1,00,000 Crore treasure (Nidhi in Malayalam) which included antique gold ornaments, diamonds and other precious stones, golden crown, golden bow, golden vessels, and other precious stones were found in the secret chambers (Nilavara - a place to keep assets safe in temple) of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala as on Saturday evening. An estimation of above 1,00,000 crore treasure was valued at the completion of the 6th day of valuing the assets of Temple from Travancore Royal Family. One of Kerala's oldest temples may soon turn out to be one of the India's richest.


Cellar B is the remaining one secret vault which is yet to be inventoried. It is said that this cellar haven’t been opened for more than 200 years. The remaining articles in Cellar A will be inventoried on Monday afternoon and Cellar B will be opened only after that.



It is usually only in fairy tales that we read about amazing stockpiles of gold, silver, ornaments and precious stones inside huge underground chambers. However, the Supreme Court-ordered search of six sealed chambers at Thiruvananthapuram’s iconic Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, the subject of earlier reports, is seeing this come true. A seven-member Supreme Court-appointed team is at the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram taking stock at the shrine.
The chambers near the temple's sanctum sanctorum are believed to contain priceless gold and silver ornaments. The chambers had been kept shut for the last 150 years but were finally opened on June 27 following a Supreme Court order.
One of the chambers believed to have remained shut for nearly a century revealed precious jewels, stones, ornaments and metal lamps of rare heritage and antique values when it was opened and examined on Thursday.
The inner recess of this chamber was believed to have previously been opened during the reign of Travancore ruler His Royal Highness Maharaja Sir Sree Visakham Thirunal Rama Varma about 150 years back.
The temple, built in 18th century by His Majesty Highness Sri Padmanabha Dasa Vanchi Pala Anizham Thirunal Maharajah Marthanda Varma, King of Travancore (1706–1758) of the Travancore royal lineage, is run by a trust under control of the royal house and Lord Padmanabha is the family deity of Travancore Royal house.
As already mentioned, there are two chambers unopened for 150 years and the other four have been sealed since the 1950s. The temple itself was the royal repository-treasury of the erstwhile ruling house of Travancore; the dynasty ruled in the name of the temple since the mid-18th century. The chambers had not been opened for a variety of reasons and the SC, on a petition that this be done in the national interest, had so ordered, entrusting a committee of seniors, including two retired judges, with the job.


* Six sets of golden crowns of the kings of Travancore

* Kulasekhrara Perumal crown

* Precious stones like pearl, emerald, ruby, sapphire

* Heaps of gold shaped like paddy

* Around 1,000 Sarappoli chains, longest of which is 18 feet and 4 of these weigh around 2 kg each. Total weight of these, including one of 10 kg, is more than a quintal

* Long ropes of gold like the traditional coir rope of Kerala

* Diamonds, each costing around Rs 5 crore

* Hundreds of golden coins kept in bags and wooden boxes

* Pendants and a large number of golden batons

* Around 10,00,000 gold and silver coins

* Golden waistbands studded with diamonds, each weighing 4 kg

* Gold and silver bars weighing 5 kg each

* Earlier, the panel unearthed gold and silver utensils, crowns, golden umbrellas and pots worth around Rs  10,000 Crore


The committee started earlier this week on one and then another of the four chambers sealed since the 1950s. Treasure worth Rs 20,000 crore has come forth. Then they began on one of the two sealed for 150-odd years, termed Chamber ‘A’. Nothing was found on the first day and the search continued on 30.06.2011, for secret lockers deeper inside. They then stumbled upon the stockpile, and about Rs. 30,000 crore of gold, silver and precious stones was the haul. This is only the estimated physical value; the antique value is considered priceless.
Three sets of gold crowns, supposed to have been worn by the kings of Travancore, including the precious ‘Kulasekhara Perumal’ one, were found. There were an immense number of gold ornaments, studded with precious stones, and golden rods. Pearls, emeralds, rubies, sapphires and diamonds were in huge boxes. There were heaps of gold in the shape of piled paddy. There were about 1,000 Sarappoli chains, the traditional royal ones; the longest was 18 ft and four of them weighes two kg each. There were piles of golden ropes. In many cases, the boxes and bags in which all these were stored had worn away. The total weight of chains and necklaces is more than a quintal. There are a huge number of pendants, goldenbatons, 12-layer chains studded with emeralds and rubies. The number of gold and silver coins are around 100,000. There are also gold waistbands, studded with diamonds, each weighing two kg. Gold and silver bars, each weighing 1-2 kg...the list goes on. If a necklace found on Thursday was 18 feet long and weighed 10.5 kg, 536 kg of 18th century gold coins and about 20 kg of the British East India Company’s gold coins were found on Friday.
The main treasure found on the 6th day was a one foot (12 angulams) height golden idol of Lord Mahavishnu and a 30 kg golden ‘anki’. This golden idol of Lord Vishnu is believed to be the replica of the ‘utsava vigraham' used in the temple. The golden idol of Padmanabhaswamy studded with more than 1000 previous stones is valued to around Rs. 5000 Crore. Another golden idol of Lord Sree Krishna was also found which weighs around 5 kg.

The golden anki used to adorn the presiding deity was found in 16 parts. An ornament used to adorn the chest of the deity and studded with emeralds was also found on Saturday.
Golden Coins, Ornaments, and Human figurine
Numerous coins issued by the government of Krishnadeva Rayar (early 16{+t}{+h} century AD), and a coin of 1914 origin were also reportedly found. There was a piece of paper in bad condition on which was written the Kollavarsham date' 29/9/1109. Numerous golden ornaments which were used to adorn the main deity were also found in the Vault marked A. Ornaments studded with emeralds were also found on Saturday. Numerous golden human figurine weighing 1 kg, golden bangles, golden rope, are other interesting treasure found in the Vishnu Temple.
The committee believes there is much more. Citizens speculate that Chamber ‘B’, the other one unopened for 150 years, will have a similar repository. Experts told Business Standard the valuation of the stones would be tough, as estimating the antique value is a task of some magnitude. The final haul, one is told, could total the equivalent of Rs. 2 lakh crore, and this is only the physical value, not the historical one. The panel does not itself estimate the value of the items; it only weighs and records. These records will be given to the Supreme Court. The search operations are likely to go on till next week.

Temple sources say the treasures found in the temple included offerings made by devotees, wealth the erstwhile Travancore rulers stored in the temple and gifts and offerings received from erstwhile kings of neighboring states.
Noted historian Dr M G S Narayanan, said people from far and near have been visiting the Padmanabhaswamy Temple since it is one of the biggest Vaishnava temples in the country. The shrine dating back to 9th Century would be having several centuries old precious objects. The Supreme Court ordered the stock taking while staying a high court direction to the state government to constitute a trust or statutory body to take over the temple, citing failure by the present management to protect the temple’s assets and treasures.
The temple was administered by a royal family-controlled trust ever since former ruler Marthanda Varma dedicated the state and all his wealth to the deity, Padmanabhaswamy, and ruled Travancore as its servant. If the estimated value of the articles found is correct, the Padmanabaswamy Temple may turn out to be the richest shrine in India. The wealth of Sree Venkateswara Temple at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh, which is considered as the richest temple in the country at present, is reported to be worth about Rs. 330 billion.
The government of kerala has strengthened the security around and inside the temple following the discovery of the treasure. There would be round–the-clock security around the temple and CCTV cameras would be installed.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said the government has been worried ever since the court asked it to take over the administration of the temple last year.
The previous LDF government in the state had expressed its inability to take up the responsibility.