Friday, July 8, 2011
1 Lac Crore
Rs 90000 Crore Gold Treasure found in Kerala Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple as on Sunday
Around 90,000 crore worth treasure (Nidhi) has been found in the secret cellars of the famous Kerala Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu - Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram). The 7 member paper appointed by the Supreme Court of India, has been preparing the list of valuable found in the cellars of Sri Padmanabhaswami Temple. The temple has 6 Secret Cellars (Nilavara – a place to keep assets safe) from Cellar A to Cellar F. Opening of each of these chambers is revealing a virtual treasure trove with precious diamonds, golden ornaments, emeralds, jewelleries, rare antique silver and brass platters and golden idols. An estimation of above 90,000 crore treasure was valued at the completion of the 6th day of valuing the assets of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.
Golden idol of Mahavishnu worth Rs. 500 Crore
The main treasure found on the 6th day was a one foot (12 angulams) height golden idol of Lord Mahavishnu and a 30 kg golden ‘anki’. This golden idol of Lord Vishnu is believed to be the replica of the ‘utsava vigraham' used in the temple. The golden idol of Padmanabhaswamy studded with more than 1000 previous stones is valued to around Rs. 500 Crore. Another golden idol of Lord Sree Krishna was also found which weighs around 5 kg.
Golden Coins, Ornaments, and Human figurine
Several golden coins were also unearthed yesterday which are believed to be issued during the reign of Krishnadeva Rayar in the 16th century AD. Numerous golden ornaments which were used to adorn the main deity were also found in the Vault marked A. Ornaments studded with emeralds were also found on Saturday. Numerous golden human figurine weighing 1 kg, golden bangles, golden rope, are other interesting treasure found in the Vishnu Temple.
Golden Coconut Shells
Another interesting finding was two coconut shells made of pure gold. One of this golden coconut shell was students with rare antique stones including emeralds and rubies.
Cellar B To Open on Monday
Cellar B is the remaining one secret vault which is yet to be inventoried. It is said that this cellar haven’t been opened for more than 100 years. The remaining articles in Cellar A will be inventoried on Monday afternoon and Cellar B will be opened only after that.
WAITING in the musty darkness beneath one of India's most secretive Hindu temples this month, a team of experts prepared to prise open the granite door of Chamber A, a vault that had been sealed for a century.
For three days they had been working their way through the hidden chambers of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala, southern India, aware of tales that it was guarded by curses and poisonous snakes.
Their torches would catch a flash of a jewel or strip of gold that hinted at the fabulous riches long said to be hidden there.
It took three men straining on iron bars half an hour to prise open the door. As it finally creaked open, firemen wearing masks rushed into the 2.4m by 1.5m vault to pump in oxygen. They emerged shocked and speechless.
A team member could not contain his excitement. "We entered in pairs and shone our torches in the room and it was amazing. There are just no words to explain it," he said.
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"It was full of gold chains the same height as me. There were heavy belts of gold, ornaments and precious stones. Then there were steps leading down into a smaller room where gold coins were scattered all over the floor."
The value of the find has been estimated at $18 billion. Among the treasures hidden beneath the temple in Trivandrum, the capital of Kerala, were 18kg of Napoleonic era gold coins, a tonne of gold trinkets, a 5.5m gold necklace, a sack full of diamonds and jewellery studded with yet more diamonds. One statue, a 30cm-high jewel-encrusted portrayal of the temple deity Lord Vishnu, is estimated to be worth $105 million.
Yet the 500-year-old temple, which only devout Hindus are allowed to enter, may still be hiding an even more splendid hoard. This week India's Supreme Court is expected to approve the opening of the final vault - Chamber B - which has been sealed for more than 150 years.
Judges delayed the final decision on Friday after requesting advice on what to do about a jammed lock that the ancient key will no longer open. Any attempt to force the lock or damage the structure would risk inciting already angry Hindus.
Legend has it the chamber can be entered only in times of crisis. Word of a terrible curse being unleashed on Kerala if the door is opened unnecessarily has swept through the area.
In hushed tones worshippers outside the temple walls described the "bad omen" of the chamber door, which is guarded by a five-headed cobra with gemstones for eyes.
Stories of previous efforts to open the chamber have compounded local superstitions. In 1933, British writer Emily Gilchrist Hatch described one attempt. "When the state needed additional money, it was thought expedient to open these chests and use the wealth they contained," she wrote. "A group of people got together and attempted to enter the vaults with torches. When they found them infested with cobras they fled."
The sound of rushing water in the chambers has given rise to the belief that secret passageways link the vaults to the Arabian Sea, 5km away.
For almost three centuries the maharajahs of Travancore, which included large swaths of southern India, guarded the treasure. Last week Uthradam Thirunal Marthanda Varma, 90, the current maharajah, remained ensconced in his palace, which resembles an English country house with a pagoda roof. His friends said he was "worried about the consequences" now the world knew about the treasure.
Armed guards have now been placed around the temple. But the biggest threat may lie in a debate about the treasure. There are calls for it to be used to boost Kerala's economy or to aid the poor. Hindu groups say treasure should stay in the vaults for ever.
Oommen Chandy, Kerala's Chief Minister, has said the artefacts will be protected by the state at the temple. This means that no non-Hindu will get the chance to see the treasure
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Richest temple in the world
Now Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is the world’s richest Hindu temple. As of now, the Balaji temple in Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh is believed to be the richest temple in the country, followed by Shirdi Sai Baba shrine in Maharashtra.
A vast treasure trove of gold coins, jewels and precious stones were unearthed at a Hindu temple in Trivandrum, India. The opening of four vaults reveals a vast bounty that unofficial estimates at 22 billion US dollars (1,00,000 Crores).
16th-century Anantha Padmanabhaswamy temple is located in Trivandrum, capital of India’s southern Kerala state. The discovery has instantly turned the 16th-century Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple into one of the wealthiest religious institutions in the country.
The treasures unearthed so far include statues of gods and goddesses made of solid gold and studded with diamonds, rubies and emeralds, crowns and necklaces, all given as gifts to the temple over the centuries.
The $22 billion figure is double India’s 2011-2012 education budget. The vaults were opened for inspection after a local activist filed a case that reached the Supreme Court alleging the temple’s authorities were not properly tending to the site’s security. And now some in the traditionally leftist state of Kerala where the temple is located are calling for the hoard to be handed over to the government in order to be dispensed in the public interest
The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple has been around for nearly a millennia, but gained its real luster by the 18th century, when it was patronized by the powerful monarchs of the local state of Travancore. Not long after decisively defeating a Dutch army in the 1741 Battle of Colachel, Marthanda Varma, king of Travancore, set about building the towering structure that defines Sree Padmanabhaswamy to this day and dubbed himself and all those in his lineage servants of Padmanabha, another name for the Hindu god Vishnu. Ever since, the prestige of the temple and Travancore’s royal dynasty has been entwined, the latter deriving a fair amount of symbolic power from their connection to the former.
After Indian independence in 1947 and the dissolution of its many semi-independent princely states, it’s suspected that much of the royal dynasty’s considerable wealth was funneled into the temple and that, combined with decades of accumulated donations, has created this extraordinary treasure trove. The descendants of the house of Travancore still supervise the trust that administers Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, but, unlike some of India’s other disparate (and defunct) royal families, appear to have been rather careful about their bequest, keeping it in the dark and under lock and key for decades.
That fastidiousness will likely dampen whatever political flames are sure to spark after this treasure’s unearthing. In India, home to virtually all the world’s religions, contests over holy sites are always hot-button issues, and often sadly a matter of life and death. Some among the country’s Hindu far-right still invoke in present political discourse the 11th century sacking of the great (and wealthy) temple at Somnath in western India by Muslim invaders, among other historical grievances. But it’s unlikely the hoard at Sree Padmanabhaswamy will be carted off — though one can only hope that both state and temple authorities find a means to bring such reportedly exquisite treasures safely to light, for all to see.
History of Padmanabhaswamy Temple Trivandrum
The history of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple dates back to 8th Century. References to the temple can be found in the Divya Prabandha canon of literature written by Tamil Alwar. Alvars are the Tamil Saint poets who lived between the sixth and ninth centuries AD. References to Sri Padmanabha Temple is also said to have in the Brahma Purana, Padma Purana, Varaha Purana, and Vayu Purana. One of the twelve Alvars, Nammalvar (8th Century) had created four slokas and one phalasruthi about Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
Major Renovation of Temple by Marthanda Varma
It is believed that Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple and its properties were maintained by Ettuveetil Pillamar – the eight powerful Nair feudal lords of ancient Travancore. Later His Royal Highness Sree Marthanda Varma Anizham Thirunal suppressed the Ettuveetil Pillais and his cousins and took over the control of the temple. Marthanda Varma has done a major renovation to the temple and it is said that the current structure of Padmanabhaswamy temple was made by the King.
Murajapam and Bhadra Deepam Introduced in Temple
It was Marthanda Varma who introduced the Murajapam and Bhadra Deepam festival in the temple. Murajapam, which literally means continuous chanting of prayers, is still conducted in the temple once in 6 years. Murajapam is performed when 12 Bhadradeepam joins.
Travancore was dedicated to Sree Padmanabhaswamy in 1750
In 3rd January 1750, Maharajah Marthanda Varma dedicated the kingdom of Travancore to Lord Padmanabha. Marthanda Varma vowed that the royal family will rule the state on behalf of Lord and he and his descendants would "serve" the kingdom as Padmanabha Dasa or the Servant of Lord Padmanabha. Since then the name of every Travancore King was preceded by the title Padmanabha Dasa, while the female were called Padmanabha Sevinis. The donation of the kingdom of Travancore to Padmanabhaswamy was known as “Thripadidanam”. After dedicating the kingdom to the Lord, Marthanda Varma was known as Sripadmanabha Vanchipala Marthandavarma Kulasekaraperumal. By giving the Kingdom to Lord Padmanabha, the whole Travancore state became the property of Sree Padmanabhaswamy, and hence it is very appropriate to call Kerala as “God’s Own Country” or Sree Padmanabhaswamy’s Own Country.
Travancore Kings after Marthanda Varma
After the death of Marthanda Varma in 1758, all the succeeded Kings of Travancore took great care in continuing the daily poojas and ceremonies of Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple intact and also rule the kingdom as Padmanabha Dasa. The successors of Marthanda Varma was Dharma Raja, Balarama Varma, Gowri Lakshmi Bayi, Gowri Parvati Bayi, Swathi Thirunal, Uthram Thirunal, Ayilyam Thirunal, Visakham Thirunal, Moolam Thirunal, Sethu Lakshmi Bayi, and Chithira Thirunal. The present head of the Travancore Royal Family, Sri Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma also keeps the words of Marthanda Varma and is very loyal to Sree Padmanabhaswamy and maintains the temple rituals and ceremonies intact.