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Kerala temple treasure: Were vaults opened earlier by Royals?

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New Delhi: Along with the incredible treasure hidden in underground vaults, new allegations of mismanagement are slowly emerging from Kerala's 16th century Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple.

Of the temple's six vaults, five have been opened so far. Gold statues, jewelry and coins reportedly worth one lakh crore have been discovered. The vaults are being explored on the instructions of the Supreme Court after a local activist in Thiruvanthapuram said that the temple is mismanaged and badly-guarded.

Whether the inventory should be recorded with photographs has turned into a matter that's also being considered by the Supreme Court. Devotees - and the royal family of Travancore that manages the trust for the temple- have warned against this. They've also opposed opening Vault B, mainly because local superstition holds this will bring bad luck.

Because the royal family built the temple and manages it, the Supreme Court has sought its opinion on how to ensure the treasure once buried here is protected. Last week, the royals said in court that an astrological referendum called 'Devaprasnam,' conducted by eminent astrologers decided that opening Vault B would anger the deity.

The ritual annoyed the Supreme Court which pointed out that it has already set up a committee to decide issues like whether Vault B should be opened, and how the valuables should be recorded. "When we have asked the committee to decide on the opening of 'kallara B' (Vault B), is it open to the committee to outsource it to others and seek 'Devaprasnam'?" asked the Supreme Court judges.

But documents accessed by NDTV show that four years ago, the temple's trust, in a circular, asked for the vaults to be opened. Some of the treasure was then photographed, allegedly for an album.

The Travancore Royal Family has declined to comment on this, saying the matter is subjudice.

Another document -- a report by an Advocate Commission in 2008 -- reveals that some ornaments were being removed, a few at a time, during daily prayer rituals. The Advocate Commission was appointed by a local court after devotees complained of mismanagement of the temple's assets by the temple trust.

Read more at: http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/kerala-temple-treasure-were-vaults-opened-earlier-by-royals-131888

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