Sunday, December 29, 2013
The death of the head of the Indian family that once ruled the south kingdom of Travancore has revealed a temple of untold treasures.
Sree Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma died at age 91 and was known for his frugality. So upon his death, no one expected the fabulous wealth he had kept stored away in the vaults of the ancient Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple.
After the Indian Supreme Court ruled that the vaults should be opened, treasures worth an estimated £26 billion were discovered. The antiques include gold ornaments, weapons, crowns, statutes of Hindu deities, East India Company coins, and bagfuls of precious stones.
See Sree Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma – Obituary, The Telegraph, Dec. 19, 2013.
Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.