Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanams (TTD) executive officer I.Y.R. Krishna Rao has asserted that the Devasthanams has been maintaining a fool-proof inventory system and records of all the precious ornaments adorning the Lord Venkateswara.
His assertion comes in the wake of reports in a section of the vernacular dailies that some ornaments donated to the temple by Vijayanagara king Sri Krishnadevaraya were missing, because they were either melted or ‘lost' over the years.
At a hurriedly convened press conference here on Thursday, Mr. Rao denied the report saying that besides tarnishing the TTD's image, such reports would hurt the sentiments of the devotees world over.
To set the record straight on the reported ‘missing' ornaments, Mr. Rao, after pouring over the old records, cited two occasions when ‘some ornaments' had to be melted, however for specific purposes. According to the ‘Thiruvabharanam' register, maintained at the Tirumala temple from the days of the Mahants, the erstwhile temple trustees, some 20 ornaments were melted during 1952-53. The gold so collected was used for the ‘gold plating' the Ananda Nilaya Vimanam, the tower situated atop the sanctum sanctorum.
The then TTD Board had passed a resolution to that effect, Mr. Rao said. He said it was possible that some of the ornaments melted could possibly have been the ones donated by Sri Krishnadevaraya.
The executive officer said since the temple had, in its possession, ornaments donated to it by different kings and rulers on different occasions, it was difficult to identify which ornament was presented by whom, except for those for which exist supporting inscriptions.
Citing another occasion in this context, Mr. Rao said the records showed that between 1930-33, the golden crown donated to the Lord by Sri Krishnadevaraya in 1513 was melted, a new crown was made and adorned to the deity after adding some more gold from the treasury. There are official entries in the temple records to suggest that the new crown was adorned to the deity in 1940, the executive officer maintained.
Mr. Rao said that even the Justice Wadhwa Committee and the Justice Jagannadha Rao Commission, which recently verified the inventory books and ornament registers in course of their investigation into some ‘missing ornaments,' had expressed their satisfaction over the fool-proof inventory system being followed by the TTD.
The executive officer said that in the backdrop of the controversy, the TTD would soon engage the services of historians/archaeologists to identify from the huge stocks of its ornaments as to which are of antique value, who donated them and when, so that they can be properly documented.