Gems of Kerala temple hold experts in a spell

· Date:July 11, 2012

The gems in Vault A, first of the six secret cellars at the Sri Padmanabha Swamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram holding invaluable treasures, have bound the gemologists engaged by a Supreme Court-appointed expert committee to evaluate them in a spell with their amazing shapes, shine, size, cut, variety and abundance, according to sources.

Vault A, also called the Sri Bhandara Nilavara thought to be holding over 90 percent of the gold, precious stones, artifacts, rare historical coins and other items found in the entire shrine, was opened by the expert committee and a supervisory panel, also appointed by the apex court, on Thursday for documenting and evaluating the treasures.

Gemologists are reportedly finding it extremely difficult to evaluate the gems, find out the peculiarities of the stones studded in the Sarapoli Malas (light-radiating necklaces) taken from the chamber and to document them properly, sources say. Equally amazing are the gold articles taken out from Vault A for evaluation and documentation by the expert committee.

The vault contains over 2,500 Sarapoli Malas and many stone-studded crowns making it almost impossible to count the gems stored in it. Most of these gold necklaces are said to contain the Navaratnas – the nine gems. It is also said that these gems keep their individuality and uniqueness due to their particular origin, cut, sheen and shape.

There are countless emeralds among the treasures. These peculiarities and the antique value make the process of evaluation of these gems and ornaments tough for the gemologists and other experts. Sources said that the experts could examine only four Sarapoli Malas in the first two days.

Sources said that the service of more experts would have to be called in for detailed documentation and evaluation of these ornaments and gems and the expert committee had earlier drawn up a panel for this. It is now said that a minimum of six months would be needed to complete the evaluation and documentation of the articles in Vault A.

The gems are seen mainly as fixed to the pendants of the Sarapoli Malas. There are pendants with only one gem each and those with all the Navaratnas. The experts are examining whether any stones have been lost or replaced and they are also trying to find out the mines where they had originated.

In July-August, 2011, an expert committee the Supreme Court appointed earlier had examined the vaults and came to the conclusion that they were holding treasures whose material value alone could come roughly to over Rs 100,000 crore, making the Sri Padmanabha Swamy temple the richest Hindu shrine in the world.

After this, the temple was brought under tight security with the Kerala Government deploying commandos from the Kerala Police in the premises. Controversies had arisen over the way the treasures were to be handled. While a section of the society wanted the treasures to be used for the people’s welfare, the devotees’ community wanted them to be kept in the temple itself.

There were also arguments that the treasures kept in the temple vaults should be housed in a museum so that researchers could study them. Experts and historians, however, have cautioned against quantifying the value of such a rare and antique wealth without considering their cultural and heritage value.

The magnificent granite temple complex was rebuilt in its present form in the 18th century by the Travancore Royalty who ruled southern Kerala and some adjoining parts of Tamil Nadu before the integration of the princely state into the Indian Union. The Travancore kings had dedicated the entire wealth of their kingdom to Sri Padmanabha, the deity of the temple.

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  1. Guru Reply

    July 11, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Gold is in short supply… also antiques
    And that is why the value of all currency is falling in relation to Gold.

    Gold cannot be created. Mining is very difficult and limited. That is why Gold is the gold standard of stored value !

    Currency can be printed and printed. That is why there is inflation. Without inflation governments cannot finance their profligate spending.

    The Travancore kings were somehow different! Let us see how long the treasures will last, there is already a hue and cry to sell and do something “constructive” (like NREGA yojana ?). The antique dealers/ exporters of art work /jewels dealers etc must be already salivating.

  2. Guru Reply

    July 11, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Gold bars made of Tungsten ?
    And I am not sure if this report is true or not. It says bars containing Tungsten were sold to India.

    Does anybody know the truth of this ?

  3. Biju Nair Reply

    July 12, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    What about the loot?
    If the valuables available with a small kingdom such as Travancore is worth 1 lakh crore.. imagine the stock at Buckingham Place, where the loot from entire Indian Kingdoms are kept. Defenitely Mugals must have a much higher collection ….. Govt. must concentrate on getting this wealth back and leave Sri Padmanabha Swami’s ornamaments with the God himself.

  4. S Balasundarsbsundar49@ Reply

    July 12, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Mischievous tounge and crooked eyes of Yadav!
    Beware of the yadavs..! Sharad Yadav, the short and shrewd politician from Bihar and JD(U) Chief ,in aTV interview, has stated that the treasures and wealth found in Temples like Sree Anantha Padmanabha Temple and the likes should be handled by Government,since it belongs to people.! That this short sighted and crooked politician,Janata Dal (U) President wanted the wealth to be used properly by the Government for building facilities and infrastructure for the devotee public at the cost of temple wealth, has advocated some strange philosophy without knowing what is the wealth all about and considering the use they are made of at present. The theory is not only impracticable but violates the fundamental freedoms guranteed under our Constitution. LET THE PETTY POLITICIANS AND AIMLESS GOVERNMENTS WHICH ARE PSEUDO SECULAR IN NATURE BE KEPT AT LENGTH.. LET THEM NOT BE ALLOWED TO TALK EVEN SINCE THEY DO NOT KNOW THE MEANING OF DEVOTION..! MAY LORD ANANTHA PADMANABHAN WILL BLESS US ALL ..

  5. ramanathan Reply

    July 12, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    Sri anantha padmanabha temple wealth
    Sri Adhisesha naga guards this temple and gems belong to them since adisesha nagas 1000 heads in its hoods hold different gems to give light to all 7 logas. if anyone try to steal, they will die of snake bites or their family will not have future generations due to the curse of serpent adisesha.

  6. True Hindu Reply

    July 15, 2012 at 4:00 am

    Politicians stay off Hindu Temples
    Not a single politician of any hue or any party should be allowed on Temple boards. Only truly devout Hindus should be involved. If at all politicians want to eat money, let them take over Churches and Mosques in India – they do not belong to Hindustan. Jai Mata!

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