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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Treasure Trove in Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple - Rs 1 lakh crore and counting

A treasure has been discovered in India. It was found in the underground storage of a 16th century temple in the southern state of Kerala.

Call it the mother of all treasure hunts. The stock-taking by a panel of experts at the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple has catapulted the shrine located in Kerala to the country's richest, with reports claiming that the value of recoveries may have touched close to Rs 1 lakh crore, more than Kerala public debt of Rs 70,969 crore.

The disclosure of the vault's contents is startling. So far, so good. The real challenge, however, lies in safeguarding the treasure. A beginning should be made by preparing a detailed, tamper-proof inventory. The valuables should also be preserved. Their intrinsic and antique value will only appreciate with time.

The invaluable treasure worth several millions belongs to the public. It was accumulated out of the revenue of the princely state over several centuries. It is not the private property of any royal family or the temple authorities. The treasure should be used for the much-needed infrastructural development of Kerala.

Amid conflicting opinions about future management of the treasure-trove found at Sree Padmanabhaswami temple, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said on Sunday (03-July-2011) the wealth would remain with the temple.

After a high-level meeting convened to assess the security at the temple, where the preparation of an inventory of the hidden treasure is on, Chandy said the gold and other priceless objects found there belonged to the temple. “The gold was offered to the lord. It is the property of the temple. The government will protect the wealth at the temple,” he said.

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