Kerala's Padmanabha Swami Temple richest in the country with treasure worth Rs 1 lakh crore; overtakes Tirupati
KOCHI: Till a week ago, the Sree Padmanabha Swami Temple in Thiruvananthapuram was just one among the popular Vaishnavite temples dotting the state's spiritual landscape. But halfway through an inventory assessment done by a team of observers following a Supreme Court directive, it has emerged as probably the richest temple in the country.
The story unfolding in the state capital has all the elements of an Amar Chitra Katha - an ancient temple, cellars lying unopened for centuries, a forgotten treasure worth thousands of crores etc.
Mounds of precious gems, lakhs of gold coins, diamond studded crowns, idols in gold, long gold chains, gold rings and bars, gold barrels etc were discovered when the metal doors of the secret cellar were opened.
Several bags of coins from the erstwhile Travancore Royal Family rule, coins from the Napoleonic era and the East India Company period were also discovered from the secret cellars of the temple.
Rough estimate of the value of the treasure so far unearthed is around Rs 1,00,000 crore. The figure is almost double the wealth of the Tirupati temple. The actual valuation could be much more if the antique value of the articles is taken into account and could well be enough to wipe out the country's fiscal deficit.
The value is bound to go up as two more cellars are to be opened by the team of observers.
With the news of the major find spreading, the state has decided to tighten the security around the temple. Two groups of the special armed police have already been deployed by the state government for the protection of the temple complex, headed by an ADGP. The government has decided to beef up security around the area. An inventory assessment of the articles owned by the temple was ordered by the Supreme Court, staying a Kerala High Court order directing the state government to take over the temple from the trust controlled by the erstwhile rulers of Travancore. The Kerala High Court order followed a petition filed by a devotee, who contended that safety of the temple and its assets had not been properly ensured.
The temple witnessed noisy scenes as a group of devotees protested against the inventory assessment. The team was constituted by the Kerala High Court as per the Supreme Court order. The deity of the Padmanabha Swami Temple is the family deity of the Travancore royal family. Members of the erstwhile royal family had dedicated their kingdom to the Padmanabha Swami deity and pledged that they will live as servants of Padmanabha. Experts see the treasure as offerings made by the erstwhile rulers to the temple.
Source: The Economic Times