|Padmanabha Swamy Temple|
Among the notable discoveries was an ancient gold idol of Lord Vishnu studded with precious diamonds and emeralds. Sources said its value could not be assessed due to its antiquity. There were also human figurines made of pure gold, each weighing 1 kg as well as 18-foot-long jewelery weighing 35 kg used to adorn the deity. Bags of coins and precious stones were also found in the chamber marked A.
Unconfirmed reports said the total value of all assets recovered from the shrine could be worth Rs 75,000 crore.
The temple has six vaults marked A to F. On Saturday, the committee completed stock taking in vault A. They had already drawn up the inventory of items in C, D and F. The B chamber, which hasn't been unsealed after 1872, and the E vault remain to be opened. The inspection will continue on Monday.
The state police has decided to put in place a three-tier security for the shrine which has emerged as the richest in India. Additional Director General of Police Venugopal K Nair, who is given charge of the temple security, said "We have only begun the process. A detailed plan will be put in place soon."
At present, two platoons of special armed police have been deployed for the shrine's security.
Acting on a petition, the Kerala high court had in January asked the state government to take over the administration of the temple and also prepare aninvetory of its assets. The shrine is run by a trust constituted by the royal family. On appeal, the SC stayed the take over part but gave nod to stock-taking.
History has it that the shrine is inextricably linked to the Travancore royal family. The erstwhile ruler of Travancore Marthanda Varma had dedicated the state and all his wealth to the deity and ruled as 'Padmanabha Dasa (servant of Padmanabha), who consequently gained the status of nominal head or 'perumal.
According to legend, the Travancore kings had transferred loads of wealth, meant for use during famines to these secret chambers to protect them from the British.