Priceless treasures of Sreepadmanabhswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram have drawn the BJP government at the Centre and the LDF government of Kerala on the same platform. Both the governments are keen on strike a proposal to exhibit the priceless antiques kept hidden in the vaults of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple if the Supreme Court and the Travancore royal family agree.
The proposal is to have a world-class museum-cum-exhibition center, which will offer a visual treat to everyone keen to have a glimpse of treasures—estimated worth billions of dollars—which are kept safely hidden in the ancient vaults inside the temple. The treasures, discovered at a depth of 20 feet underground include golden idols, golden elephants and idols wearing 18-foot diamond necklaces, as well as countless bags of gold coins from around the world—all the antiques are estimated to be worth billions of dollars. It also has an amazing collection of rubies and emeralds.
The state and central governments are eager to put through this proposal to reality, as various institutions like Confederation of Indian Industry, Chamber of commerce are keen to open it up to the international scenario, which could be unique
Both the governments' representatives discussed the idea in the presence of Union Minister for Tourism. He showed a keen interest, suggested to discuss with the members of the Travancore Royal family members.
The Union Tourism Minister sees an international opening said “Nowhere in the world will one get a chance to have a glance at the priceless collection of antiques at one place. This museum will be one of the wonders of the world. Tourists from the world over will flock to see it,”.
The proposal, however, has not gone down well with those administering the temple right now. “It will pose a huge security risk... The treasures inside the temple are invaluable... Exhibiting them is unthinkable,” said an official with the temple.
The Supreme Court, in 2014, had appointed a seven-member committee to take stock of the valuables in the secret vaults following a squabble between stakeholders over the control of the temple. As per the inventory submitted to the SC, Vault A itself contained 2,000 pounds of gold coins, dating to around 200 BC. It also had a pure golden throne adorned with hundreds of diamonds and precious stones, meant as a seat for the 18-foot-long deity; moreover, gold crowns have been found. The vault also contained loose diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and other precious stones.
Chamber B, a highly mysterious one with an enormous steel door with two massive cobras painted on it, is yet to be opened.
“These are valuables accumulated in the temple over several thousands of years, having been donated to the deity by various dynasties and kings,” said Umamaheshwari, a temple historian.