The vast treasure trove revealed in recent days instantly turned the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala into one of the wealthiest religious institutions in India. And its value was expected to grow.
The five vaults inventoried at the temple in Thiruvananthapuram held treasures that unofficial estimates peg at Rs 1 lakh crore. The sixth secret vault, sealed for nearly 150 years, would also be opened.
The temple, built by the maharajas who ruled the then-kingdom of Travancore, has been controlled by the erstwhile royal family.
The Supreme Court ordered the inspection of the vaults after a lawyer petitioned a local court asking the state government to take over the temple, citing inadequate security. The current Maharaja of Travancore opposed the petition.
The valuables were given to the temple by devotees, but the public did not know the quantum of the treasures stored there before the inventory started.
The government has increased security since then. The only visible security had been a few local security guards patrolling with batons, mainly for crowd control.
Image: A file photograph of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram. (Photographs copyright PTI)