As per a report, Thursday, the former bureaucrat claims that the estimated market value of the treasures unearthed from the temple makes it the richest temple in the world.
Separately, R Ramachandran Nair, another former chief secretary, told reporters that articles, ornaments and other precious stones recovered from the temple are its exclusive property and no one has any right over them.
“The Maharaja is the Trustee of the temple and hence the official custodian of the wealth. The royal family has not touched a single paisa from these offerings. Neither the government nor the politicians can interfere with these offerings in any manner,” Nair added.
Breaking its silence on the issue, the Kerala government has also declared that that the valuables belong to the temple and should be preserved there.
However, a final decision in this regard would be made by the Supreme Court, which had constituted a seven-member panel to prepare a detailed inventory of the articles, valuables and ornaments found from the temple’s treasure trove. The SC-appointed panel includes two former high court judges.
Yesterday, the apex court had ordered the videography of the inventory and asked those involved in the exercise to desist from speaking to the media. So far, five out of the six secret cellars had been opened by the panel and the articles found from there have been duly enlisted.
The decision on opening the remaining cellar would be taken on Friday after further discussions, sources from the temple said.
However, members of the Travancore Royal Family have kept a low profile on the findings. More than the value of the treasures unearthed, what is interesting is the strange ties the Royal family shares with Lord Padmanabha and the temple.
All Maharajas who have ruled Travancore were known as Padmanabha Daasa (servants of Lord Padmanabha).
Princess Gouri Lakshmi Bai, the niece of Uthradam Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the present title holder of the erstwhile Travancore State, said it was not proper to describe the findings in the chambers as treasure. “It is offerings made by the Lord’s devotees and hence it is his wealth. They are not treasures,” she said.
Though the exact date on which the temple was consecrated is not known, there are official records dating back to 910 AD.
“There are records indicating offerings made by Raja Raja Cholan and Krishna Devaraya of the Vijayanagaram Empire,” said Ramachandran Nair.
Interestingly, the Padmanabha Swamy temple, which has a distinct Dravidian architecture, stands near an Arya Samaj office, where non-Hindus can get converted to Hinduism by paying a nominal amount of Rs 50, so that they too can worship in the temple.