The Supreme Court (SC) on Friday halted the opening of the remaining two chests (vault A and B) of Kerala’s Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple. Raja Marthanda Varma, erstwhile Prince of Travancore, had moved the SC seeking a stay on unlocking the two vaults after treasure worth over Rs1 lakh crore was found in the temple’s secret chambers.
Devotees wore a relieved look as the SC said the ‘B’ vault — the last and rumoured to have the most precious treasures — need not be opened till adequate security arrangements were made.
“Lord Padmanabha has intervened. The Supreme Court decision puts a halt to all the measures that were hindering age-old rituals at the temple,” said a temple official.
The SC directed the state to suggest ways to protect the treasure. The temple has already been provided with state police and commando cover.
A faction that opposes the opening of the B vault said it would be dangerous to do so because a trapdoor inside swings open into the Arabian Sea, which is five km away.
If the seal is broken, it would lead to massive disaster, they said.
Legend has it that in early 20th century, some royal officials tried to open the vault, but had to abandon the move when they heard the roar of surging waves from underneath. They pointed to the inscription of a cobra at the entrance, which, according to them, was a warning to all that it shouldn’t be opened.
“There shall be a detailed inventory of the articles, valuables and ornaments,” the Supreme Court said and directed that the treasure be videographed. Former Kerala high court justice MN Krishnan and justice CS Rajan have been appointed observers by the court. Their presence would be must when the inventory list would be prepared.