Sun, 03 Jul 2011 13:46:01 GMT

Discovery of temple treasure sparks debate on its preservation



By Lekshmi Gopalakrishnan
Thiruvananthapuram, Jul 3 (PTI) 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 after a day�s breather today.
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.
Many of them say the treasure symbolised the honesty and simplicity of erstwhile Travancore kings, who did not take away a single item from the pile whose existence they were aware of.
While similar treasures possessed by many other princely states in pre-colonial India were plundered by attackers, or wasted on luxuries by members of the royal houses themselves, the Travancore kings have zealously guarded them as reserves of the state, they said..

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