But India's Supreme Court recently ordered that the temple be managed by the state to ensure the security of valuables at the shrine.
The revelation about the huge riches in the Padmanabhaswamy temple has forced police to install security cameras and alarms.
Authorities also plan to set up a commando force for security, said Kerala director general of police Jacob Punnoose.
"Now it's known all over the world that the Padmanabhaswamy temple has jewels worth billions of rupees we have decided to assign it maximum security," Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said.
The temple, dedicated to Hindu lord Vishnu, was built hundreds of years ago by the king of Travancore and donations by devotees have been kept in the temple's vaults since.
The temple, which according to the staff was built in the 13th century, has an interesting association with the erstwhile royal family. It is located inside East Fort of the old city in Thiruvananthapuram.
According to them, the 18th century ruler of Travancore, Marthanda Varma, gifted his kingdom to the deity, Sree Padmanabhan, or Vishnu, after which the royal family has been ruling their subjects as “a servant of Sree Padmanabhan,” or Padmanabhadasan.
In a symbolic act, Marthanda Varma surrendered his sword, the symbol of his power, to the deity. This is embodied in a daily ritual even today, wherein every morning the head of the erstwhile royal family comes to the temple and proceeds to the deity with the sword to reinforce his dedication to the deity. During the ritual only that family member and the priests are allowed inside the temple.
gold idols, golden crowns, 1,200 gold chains, numerous golden staffs, golden plates, sacks of gold coins of 1732 vintage, diamonds, including Belgium diamonds, and precious stones, rubies and emeralds. 536 kg gold coins, 16 kg of gold coins dating back to the East India Company period, three kg coins from Napoleon's era, 16 kg Travancore gold coins, precious stones wrapped in silk bundles besides small elephants made of the yellow metal, rare sapphire stones and more than 2000 rubies.
I think we can all agree that nobody should loot the Indians except the Indians.
Dalhousie's work in India was primarily aimed at appropriation of Indian assets for the use of the British East India Company. His acquisition of the diamond, amongst many other things, was criticized even by some of his contemporaries in Britain. Although some suggested that the diamond should have been presented as a gift to the Queen, it is clear that Dalhousie felt strongly that the stone was a spoil of war, and treated it accordingly[...]
In due course the Governor-General received the Koh-i-Noor from Login, who had been appointed Governor of the Citadel, the Royal Fort at Lahore, with the Royal Treasury, which Login valued at almost £1,000,000 (£81.6 million as of 2011), excluding the Koh-i-Noor, on 6 April 1848, under a receipt dated 7 December 1849. (emphasis mine)
What makes the family's story vis-a-vis the temple all the more compelling is that the rulers always knew of the riches, yet never touched them. "The riches are mentioned in the book "Pradhanapetta Mathilakom Records" (Important Mathilakom Records) compiled by acclaimed Malayalam poet Ulloor S Parameswara Iyer and published in 1941. They also figure in the "Kottaram" (Palace) manual which runs into 12 volumes," says noted historian M G Sasibhushan. "These records refer to the sacred cellars from which treasure is being dug out."
[...] the last king Chithira Thirunal Bala Rama Varma (1912-1991), who abolished the death sentence making Travancore the first territory in India to do so. The last king issued the landmark Temple Entry Proclamation in 1936 doing away with the ban on "untouchables" entering temples.
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