Share 44 Views one comment Sharing is caring! Share FaithLifestyle India temple treasure search team suspends their search by: – July 4, 2011 Share Tweet Security has been tightened outside the Sree Padmanabhaswamy templeBy Ashraf PadannaKochiInspectors unearthing priceless treasures from a South Indian temple have had to halt their search because the final vault cannot be opened.Five vaults replete with precious stones, gold and silver have already been opened in Kerala state’s Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple.The haul’s value is now thought to have risen from 25 billion rupees ($500m) to 900 billion rupees ($20.3bn).Historians say assessing the treasure’s true value will be very difficult.The goods have not been officially valued and inspectors are merely taking an inventory.The inspectors managed to open the outer doors of the sixth vault but found an iron wall inside it. The vault was last opened 136 years ago, according to temple records.NM Krishnan, a retired judge who heads a seven-member panel appointed by the Supreme Court to open the chambers and prepare an inventory, said the decision on when to open the sixth vault would be taken on Friday after apprising the Supreme Court of the progress made in cataloguing treasures so far.“There are some technical problems [in opening the sixth vault],” he said. “We’ll discuss all aspects of it at the meeting… on Friday.”Mr Krishnan said “more expertise” was needed before the vault is opened.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.Concealed richesMeanwhile, security has been stepped up at the temple but police have refused to divulge exact details because they say it would make the treasure more “vulnerable”.The Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple was built in the 16th Century by the kings who ruled over the then kingdom of Travancore. Local legends say the Travancore kings sealed immense riches within the thick stone walls and vaults of the temple.Since independence from Britain, the temple has been controlled by a trust run by the descendants of the Travancore royal family. After 1947 the kingdom of Travancore merged with the princely state of Cochin, which eventually became the present-day state of Kerala.The inspections at the temple began after India’s Supreme Court appointed the seven-member panel to enter and assess the value of the objects stored in its cellars.The Supreme Court endorsed a ruling by the high court in Kerala, which ordered the state government to take over the temple and its assets from the royal trust. It also ordered the trust to hand over responsibility for the temple’s security to the police.The members of the Travancore royal family consider themselves to be servants of the presiding deity at the temple, Padmanabhaswamy, which is an aspect of the Hindu God Vishnu in eternal sleep. This is why they historically entrusted their wealth to the temple.But there was a public outcry when the Maharajah attempted to retain control of the temple by citing the special law, with many arguing that the wealth belonged to the people now.The vaults were opened in the presence of the panel, and observers, which include high court judges, temple officials, archaeology authorities, Sundar Rajan and a representative of the current Maharajah.
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