Sunday, July 3, 2011

Discovery of Sree Padmanabhaswami temple treasure trove sparks debate on its preservation

Even as priceless treasures found from cellars of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple here is estimated to be around Rs 90,000 crore, the discovery has sparked a debate on how to protect and preserve the royal legacy which has surpassed everyone’s imagination.

Opening of the long-locked chambers, on Supreme Court orders, which began on June 27, has so far revealed a large number of gold ornaments, gold and silver coins, stone studded crowns, idols and figurines inlaid with precious stones and jewels.

The exercise to assess the value of the articles, undertaken by a seven-member panel of observers, including two former High Court judges, will continue tomorrow. Emergence of the temple as one of the richest Hindu shrines in the world has also thrown up security concerns with police as an interim step deploying two platoons of armed personnel.

According to the temple sources, the treasure trove has been so far estimated at around Rs 90,000 crore. The question nagging historians, academics and enthusiasts of temple culture, however, is how to safeguard the treasure considering its immense historical and cultural values.

Narayanan, former Indian History Congress president said utmost care and thought should be given to protect the treasures. “The state or Central government cannot take over these assets as they are part of the temple coffers according to the system followed by the Travancore kings,” he said.

“We have the examples of many temples before us which have been taken over by the government and later plunged into mismanagement and irregularities. It should not happen to this shrine also,” he said.

Historian and writer MG Sasibhushan opined that the rare treasures, kept for centuries in the secret chambers of the shrine, should be preserved for future generations.

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice said that the treasure trove should be used to wipe out poverty.

SNDP yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan said the treasures of Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple should not be used for the benefit of the country. It should neither be used for development works, he said.
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