The presence of a woman in a team appointed to take stock of the precious items in a vault of the famed Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple here Thursday caused the exercise to be stopped, temple officials said.
The presence of a woman official from the archaeological department drew objections and allegations that the religious practice of the temple has been breached.
Following the disruption, the proceedings to check the valuables in Vault A were called off by the Supreme Court-appointed committee, officials said.
The panel will discuss the issue before resuming the stock-taking, they said. The apex court set up two committees for taking stock and estimating the value of the jewels, gems and precious metals kept inside one of the six vaults of the temple. The committees started the exercise in July.
Gemologists are assisting the committees in the valuation. Equipments have been brought from Germany for the job.
One of the committees is headed by M.V. Nair and the other by Justice (retd) M.N. Krishnan. The committees also have representatives from the state government, the erstwhile Travancore royal family, the temple's custodians, and experts.
In July last year, the committees stumbled upon six vaults in the temple. Five vaults were opened, except for the sixth, Vault B.
They estimated the value of the treasure to be more that Rs.1 lakh crore, with items in Vault A the most valuable among the five.
When Vault A was opened last year, it was found filled with rubies, diamonds, statues of deities and gold coins.
Last year, T.P. Sunderarajan, 70, a former police officer, approached the court, requesting it to take stock of items in the temple. He alleged that the temple was not being managed properly.
Sunderarajan passed away July 17 last year.