Documentation of Padmanabhaswamy temple's treasure begins

Documentation of Padmanabhaswamy temple's treasure begins

The documentation of the temple treasure unearthed at the famed Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple last year began Monday morning with a joint meeting of the two Supreme Court-appointed committees which decided to first document the items in vault C.

One committee is headed by M.V.Nair and the other by Justice (retd) M.N. Krishnan. The committees have representatives from the state government, the erstwhile Travancore royal family who are the official custodians of the temple, besides experts in this field.

Last week, it was decided to first document the treasures in vaults E and F, but Monday’s meeting decided to start with vault C.

Speaking to reporters before the documentation process began, Nair said the decision to start the documentation of vault C was taken at Monday's meeting.

"The documentation which began last week started with vault E and F and today we decided to stop that and instead take up vault C. Four weeks from now, we have to submit a report to the apex court and in three weeks' time, a new high security vault would be ready which would be used to store these documented items," said Nair.

According to earlier reports, the temple is believed to have a treasure trove of precious jewels which is estimated to be worth more than lakh crore, making it the richest Hindu temple in the world.

In all, there are six vaults in the temple. Of these, five have been opened based on a petition filed by a former Indian Police Service (IPS) official, T.P.Sunderarajan. It was in July last year that the Supreme Court-appointed committee stumbled upon the treasure from the vault A, which had remained unopened for more than 150 years.

Besides the two apex court-appointed committees, those taking part in the documentation process are experts in this field and they are using the state-of-the-art equipment from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the state-owned Keltron. The two agencies are coordinating the valuation.

The entire process is being videographed and a bar code is placed on each item, to make the valuation more authentic.

"A team of Reserve Bank officials would be making the actual valuation and it would be included in the report that we submit to the apex court in four weeks' time," said Nair.

Vault C contains items that are used by the temple officials for the daily "poojas" and for festival days.

Vaults A contains the most precious items and vault B is yet to be opened.

"Vault B will be opened only after getting the clearance from the apex court," added Nair.Incidentally, Sunderarajan passed away last year and another co-petitioner also passed away early this month.