South Asia News
Kerala temple vault should not be opened, astrologers say
Aug 12, 2011, 8:54 GMT
New Delhi - A group of astrologers has said a sealed chamber of an ancient Hindu temple in India's Kerala state should not be opened as it would bring bad luck, news reports said Friday.
The exploration of five underground chambers of the 16th-century Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala's capital Thiruvananthapuram had yielded diamonds, rubies, gold and silver jewellery and ancient artefacts estimated to be worth billions of dollars.
The chambers were opened beginning late June after the Supreme Court upheld a Kerala High Court verdict ordering the state government to take over the temple's assets from a trust controlled by the local royal family of Travancore.
The Supreme Court had appointed a panel to decide on whether the remaining sealed chamber should be opened. The panel was also to decide on the security, inventory and preservation of the treasures found in the vaults.
The temple, however, appointed a team of priests to conduct a four-day astrological ritual known as devaprasnam or questioning of the gods to figure out whether the sixth vault should be opened.
The chamber was last opened over 150 years ago, according to temple officials.
The team of astrologers had concluded that an idol of the deity of a temple that predated the 16th century Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple had been installed in the unopened chamber referred to as vault B, the Hindu newspaper reported.
'The opening of this vault will incur the displeasure of the devan (god). It would also bode ill for the people and the land,' K Padmanabha Sharma, the priest leading the ritual, was quoted as saying.
'Of the treasure troves that are in the temple, vault B should not be opened and of the remaining five vaults, there should be no valuation done, besides there should be no exhibition of the treasure that has been found,' Sharma said.
The astrologers said the opening of the five vaults had also angered the presiding deity and listed a series of penances that had to be done at the temple including reading of the vedas, which are ancient Hindu religious texts, and over 100,000 homas or fire rituals.
The astrologers concluded that if anyone did open vault B one of his family members may die either by snake bite or due to consumption of poison, the Times of India newspaper reported.
Stocktaking of the treasures in the vaults began after TP Sundar Rajan, a devotee of the temple deity and former police officer, approached the court saying security measures to protect the temple's wealth were inadequate.
Sundar Rajan, 70, died after a brief illness in Thiruvananthapuram on July 17.