It will take 15 to 20 minutes to capture details of each object

Inventorying of the vaults (‘Kallaras') of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple here will begin on February 20.

The necessary equipment have been brought to the temple. On February 7, Keltron, the nodal agency for the project, conducted a trial run of the computers, cameras, and other precision-equipment to be used to document the contents of the vaults.

This was stated here on Thursday at a press conference by M.V. Nair, head of the expert committee on inventorying, set up by the Supreme Court. On Thursday, a full-scale demonstration was witnessed by members of his committee and by the members of the supervisory committee headed by former judge of the Kerala High Court M.N. Krishnan.

All rituals at the temple would continue unhindered during the inventorying. Also, devotees would be allowed in, Mr. Nair said.

The inventorying would be done as per the work plan submitted by the expert committee to the Supreme Court. A sample documentation done on a copper plate on Thursday revealed that it would take at least 15 to 20 minutes to capture all the details of each object, committee member and Additional Chief Secretary K. Jayakumar said.

The inventorying would be carried out from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. At this rate, about 20 objects could be documented in a day. As many as eight to ten persons would be present at the point where the inventorying would be done. This would include experts on gems, coins, gold, and antiques.

According to Mr. Nair, the team doing the documentation would be dressed in simple attire provided by the committee. They would not be allowed to wear any ornaments during this time. Security procedure had been put in place to ensure that no object was either taken in or out of the temple during this process. All procedures associated with the documentation would be video-recorded.

Mr. Nair said the Supreme Court had not mandated the expert committee to gauge the monetary value of any artefact inside the vaults. Therefore no ‘evaluation' of any object — in a monetary sense — would be done. However, the data could be used at a later stage, if the apex court so orders, for determining the monetary value of the contents. The question of opening vault ‘B' at the temple did not arise now, Mr. Nair said. The opening of this vault was problematic right from the time the inventorying process was undertaken in June-July 2011. Some religious objections too were raised against the opening of this chamber.

In September 2011, a Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices R.V. Raveendran and A.K. Patnaik said, “The issue relating to opening of Kallara ‘B' shall be considered after substantial progress is made in documentation, categorisation, security, preservation, conservation, maintenance and storage relating to the contents in the other Kallaras.”