Thiruvananthapuram, Jul 4: Gold ornaments, gold and silver coins, stone studded crowns, idols and figurines inlaid with precious stones and jewels estimated to be worth a whopping over Rs.90,000 crore have been found from the cellars of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple here.
The inventory list of jewellery after the opening of the chambers, some locked up for several decades, on Supreme Court orders, is expected to go up substantially.
The exercise which began on June 27 to assess the value of the articles has been undertaken by a seven-member panel of observers, including two former High Court judges. It will continue on Monday after a day's breather on Sunday.
According to the temple sources, the treasure trove has been so far estimated at around Rs 90,000 crore, throwing up security concerns with police as an interim step deploying two platoons of armed personnel to guard the area.
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 are believed to have zealously guarded them as reserves of the state.
Coins from other princely states like Vijayanagar empire and European countries have also been found which might be part of the gifts received by the rulers of the time.
While all major temples of the area were handed over to the Travancore Devaswom Board after merger of the princely state with the Indian Union after 1947, control of Padmanabhaswamy temple was retained by the royal house through a covenant with the government.
Narayanan, former Indian History Congress President said, "The state or Central government cannot take over these assets as they are part of the temple coffers according to the system followed by the Travancore kings."
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said a hitech security system, including a 24-hour mobile control room, would be installed.
The precious objects were discovered during the ongoing inventory by a panel appointed by the Supreme Court.
Chandy , who chaired a high-level meeting over the issue, said all decisions regarding the temple, includingpreservation of its immense treasures, would be taken in view of the apex court's directions on the matter.
However, UDF government's stand was that the invaluable assets should be protected as the temple's property by providing foolproof security at the state government's cost.
The views of the Travancore royal family and the temple high priest would also be factored in while taking decisions on the temple's assets and its security, Chandy told reporters after two-hour deliberations with senior police officials.
A 24-hour mobile control room will patrol areas around the temple.
The Government's proposals on preserving the assets and their security would be submitted through the Additional Chief Secretary K Jayakumar, who is a member of the apex court appointed panel.
"Whatever steps we take, they would be taken without coming in way of the temple's customs, traditions and rituals. We know the issue involves dimensions of faith, history and archaeology," he said.
On the actual value of the treasures,Chandy said he was not authorised to speak on such specifics.
Devaswom (temple affairs) Minister V S Sivakumar, DGP Jacob Punnose, Additional Chief Secretary K Jayakumar were among those who attended the meeting. PTI