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« PAKISTAN: Christians Concerned After Minorities Ministry ‘Devolved’ | Main | About $22 Billion In Gold, Diamonds, Jewels Found In Indian Temple »

July 05, 2011


Well, the sixth vault hasn't yet been opened. A snake is supposed to be guarding it. That is enough Indiana Jones for you right there! Given the corruption of Indian politicians and guardians of the nation's wealth, it is anybody's guess what lies next. I hope it is something good.

I read this report yesterday and now I find that you and Norman both saw (or thought of it) at the same time.

' The money obtained by selling them off could be put to good use in establishing universal education and healthcare all over India. The Travancore royals had always been in the forefront of such moves when they were rulers. One wonders if they might adopt such a strategy, if they were granted possession of this treasure by the courts.'

cant agree with you more, sujatha. infact this should be done with all the huge wealth that temples and churches get. no god wants money. they only want the wellbeing of the people.and i thnk it criminal keeping such mammoth wealth hoarded up (except artefacts) in a country where people starve and remain illiterate.

with the type of records that were maintaines and the inventory that's being prepared. it may not be grabbed - i hope.

Well, I'll be. I did not see your post on the same subject. Great minds.......

Ruchira: My guess is that the courts will play it safe and leave the sixth vault unopened. The threat of the snake's curse will be adequate reason for them to not try and trifle with religious/superstitious beliefs. Moreover, there is no pressing cause beyond adding to the list of the current inventory, it may well do to wait some more years or decades for the legend to grow and then attempt to open it. A real-life Indiana Jones will be needed then, one who can overcome his aversion to snakes.

KT: I suppose that it's greatly to the credit of the former royal family that they didn't bleed this treasure and seem to have merely stored it away as 'donations' to the temple. Looking at their relatively unpretentious and simple lifestyles, their 'royalty' is manifest in a certain mindframe of always being the 'giver' rather than a recipient of gifts. That's a bygone pride that is hard to find in this day and age.
Weren't there reports some years ago about the idol of the main deity having been disguised in black paint covering up gold leaf/gold to deter thieves? I tried looking for news reports about that, without success, since the latest story hogs all the search engine results.

Norman: $22 billion is hard to ignore, isn't it? I tried looking up the Vatican's assets, and vast (several billions?) as those are, there doesn't seem to be a clear number for comparison. There may never be, considering all the priceless works of art that are never included in such valuations.

yes sujatha, we need to salute the tavancore royal house.they were givers, like you say and never cease to amaze you with their simplicity whenever they make public appearance. that's royalty!


The treasures of art (in many forms and mediums) in the Vatican are beyond priceless.

I am fascinated, now, with the Tavancore Royal House. I know nothing about them except that they are held in very high regard by some of you.

Norman, if you do look them up, search for 'Travancore Royal Family'. They were perhaps among the most unassuming and philanthropic rulers among the princely states of India. I think the treasure is largely intact because they chose not to use it on razzle-dazzle, expensive cars and flashy lifestyles as many of their peers. Practically all major hospitals and educational institutions in Trivandrum still bear the prefix of the Maharaja or Maharani who endowed it and set it up.
My closest brush with the royal family is via my music teacher who used to tutor one of the younger princes in singing lessons. Occasionally, I used to get a free ride in one of the palace vehicles sent for my teacher to a bus stop near the palace, which saved me at least an hour in travel time. That same prince is now a very well-known Carnatic music singer, and I have been able to attend one of his concerts when he visited Pgh last. Very interesting, to say the least. He is a singer who is less concerned about pleasing the audience, and sings more as a connoisseur than a professional musician trained in a more 'crowd-pleasing' style of performance.
But in person, he is very unassuming, no airs whatsoever, almost to the point of being overshadowed in appearance by his accompanists. Just like his great uncle, the late Maharaja, who was equally unassuming, even when discharging the important parade of Aaraattu (parade to the beach), as part of his duties as 'servant of Padmanabha' at the temple. Trivandrum always shut down on those occasions.

Another interesting article on the last time the vaults were opened in 1931:

What a story, Sujatha -- thank you!


That photo from 1940, alone, was worth it. Thanks.

The age-old wisdom of Hinduism gained by our forefathers was not properly passed down to their immediate successors or to the world. Some souls who had gained godly wisdom kept it within them and when they shed their mundane body, the wisdom also went with them. The world is now in a dubious state as to who is GOD.

Indiana Jones is only a pitiful movie, a moving depiction of fictional foolishness. But because the nut who played the title role in the series of Indiana Jones movies disliked snakes or portrayed Hinduism erroneously, it could only be of his ignorance. Hindus have to teach the world a lot.

the vault guarded by snake- the vault door has the image of snake. the belief is that this vault leads to the sea-hence the hesitation to open it. the fear of inundation.

For Norman, a little more about the Travancore royals: a princess's memories


Very interesting story.

Maybe sanity will prevail, if this article is any harbinger of how this treasure might be dealt with.

An interview with the current 'Padmanabhadasa'

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