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Updated: September 15, 2011 02:15 IST

Need for computerised inventory of objects at Padmanabhaswamy temple: panel

J. Venkatesan
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A view of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram. Photo: S. Gopakumar
The Hindu
A view of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram. Photo: S. Gopakumar

The experts panel, formed to decide on the security, inventory and opening of kallara (secret vault) ‘B' in the Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram, has suggested to the Supreme Court the creation of a ‘Digital Archives of Temple Antiques' (DATA) for preserving the priceless objects scientifically.

Accurate listing of objects

In its 75-page report submitted to a Bench of Justices R.V. Raveendran and A.K. Patnaik early this month, the committee said the temple “has a large collection of valuables and priceless objects which needs to be preserved in the most scientific manner. The immediate need is to create a computerised inventory so that there will be an accurate and up-to-date listing of the objects in an indexed manner and information pertaining to each item in the collection will be retrieved in a quick and efficient manner.”

Devaprasnam

On whether there was need to open the secret vault, the committee said “a Devaprasnam was conducted and kallara ‘B' was not opened and further orders from the court are awaited in this regard.” It, however, said opening of kallara ‘B' was required to ascertain the quantity and quality of the items stored inside; for inventory management; for ascertaining the condition and structure of kallara ‘B' to ascertain requirement of security measures, if required, for strengthening and for documentation of all artefacts/treasure items.”

To drive home the need for strengthening the security system, the committee identified vulnerabilities: temple located in a heavily populated area and hence it will be difficult to mark a security zone around the premises; location of a political party office, shops and eateries close to the temple; an unsupervised parking area; the presence all around the temple premises of residential buildings which can be used for covert surveillance by miscreants; multiple exit points and inadequate illumination inside the temple.

CCTV surveillance

The committee said: “The area may be secured by installing temporary metal screens to block the view of devotees visiting daily and other unauthorised persons. All activities related to scientific documentation of the treasure items should be done under CCTV surveillance, including movement of the treasure outward and inward to the kallaras. These activities should be monitored by police officials at the CCTV control room.”

Three options

The committee said the eateries, shops, the political party office and other establishments located adjoining the temple periphery should be removed or relocated. It suggested three options to strengthen the security system for all six kallaras.

Pointing out that the valuable objects in kallara ‘A' were now kept in ordinary iron trunks and plastic bags, the committee said the storage should be replaced with acceptable alternatives. The articles should be stored in acid-free or seasoned wooden boxes, it said.

The experts panel is right. The treasure belongs to the Kingdom, with the King and the Temple guardians as the caretakers. This shouldn't be kept hidden, but put to use, not only for the King, Temple Guardians, Rich and also the Poor of Kerala. Due to pilferage, part of the treasure may be missing. Hence after careful inventory, it should be but in a secure environment. If they are worshipping Suras, the Suras will kindly direct you to help all including the poor. They shouldn't listen to the Asuras, as that will be hurtful to all.
Regarding the inventory of gemstones- Rubies, Sapphire, Diamonds- they are most likely rough gemstones whose valuation is low in comparison with the same when they are cut to high standards by good artisans. It will be great if Diamond rough is cut to the size of Kohinoor- or larger. Astrologers and temple priests are not trained in this and not aware of this (and have never spoken about processing).

from:  vkmo
Posted on: Sep 16, 2011 at 05:00 IST

Devaprasnam is an age-old custom in our country.Devaswom board temple authorities rely devaprasnam to know the will and wishes of the Lord. But nowadays,the temple authorities conduct it to open their plannings and programs among the devotees. The devaprasnam conducted by the Royal famility reveals intention of The Royal family, not Sreepadmanabha

from:  M K Mohanadas
Posted on: Sep 15, 2011 at 21:10 IST

The panel of experts, going into various issues of valuables and security of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, has reported to the Supreme Court that "Kallara 'B' should be opened" (The Hindu, Life & Style » Religion, New Delhi, September 15, 2011). A good number of reasons has also been listed to support the suggestion. But it looks that the panel chose to ignore the findings of a devaprasnam that was held at the temple on the same questions and that prohibit the opening of the said cellar. In fact , the matter of the devaprasnam is already before the court for final disposal. The present report of the panel is probably in tune with the oral observations made earlier by the Bench. The generally believed 'unscientific' approach followed by any devaprasnam and the usual acts of purposeful omission and commission that serve the vested interests of stake-holders and the astrologers might also have prompted the committee to come to such a conclusion. But for that, there is no indication that there was any attempt to evaluate the ritual and its legal status. One should not forget that devaprasnam is an age-old custom in our country, and by virtue of the same, it enjoys certain amount of constitutional validity. How can one brand it absolutely 'illegal' when the ritual is conducted in many temples, many of them under government control? Moreover this involves the belief of thousands of devotees who strongly rely on the will of the Lord for the physical and mental strength of themselves and their families. Hence before rejecting such a law, it has to be proved that the ritual is invalidated on genuine grounds.
One wonders how the situation in this temple turned out like this. A lower court and the Kerala High court ordered the take-over of the shrine by the Government of Kerala from the Royal family of Travancore. On appeal, the Apex Court stayed it. Before finally deciding the issue, the Court ordered to bring out the so-called 'treasures' of the temple. Had the court decided on the Managing Authority of the temple and entrusted the whole administration to it, there could have been no problems. This does not prevent anyone from fighting against mis-management and corruption at any time.

from:  P.R.V.Raja
Posted on: Sep 15, 2011 at 12:42 IST

The whole assets should be kept in a museum and Ticket to view them public should pay entry Ticket and the revenue can go towards security and for temple.

from:  Natesan Narayanan
Posted on: Sep 15, 2011 at 04:33 IST

Its not Kallara, Its Kalavara, please correct

from:  Abishek
Posted on: Sep 15, 2011 at 00:32 IST
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