Panel to take 3-D images of temple treasures

via VR Jayaraj| Kochi - Daily Pioneer published on September 4, 2011

A final decision on when to begin the evaluation of the treasures found in the six cellars of the Sri Padmanabha Swamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram will be taken at a joint meeting of the five-member experts’ committee and the three-member supervisory panel, both appointed by the Supreme Court, to be held on Tuesday.

A meeting of the members of the experts’ panel the other day decided to record three-dimensional images of the golden ornaments and other articles found in five cellars of the temple complex. Tuesday’s meeting will also discuss the matter of opening Vault B, second of the six cellars, which the worshippers’ community is objecting to.

The decision to record the three-dimensional images of the articles in the vaults was taken in the context of the Supreme Court’s position favouring photography and videography of the treasures. The meeting the other day had also decided to go ahead with the schedule and action plan already drawn up for the evaluation process.

A Deva Prasnam (astrological examination) held in the temple had warned that opening of Vault B and videography and photography of the valuable articles could lead to an unleashing of the deity’s rage. However, the Supreme Court had on Friday criticized this asking whether the case was before it or the astrologers.

The Deva Prasnam was held to know the will of the deity on the move to document the contents of the six chambers as per a Supreme Court order. A seven-member committee appointed by the apex court had earlier found an amazing collection of gold, precious stones, rare coins, etc, the material value alone of which could come to over Rs 100,000 crore.

An expert on three-dimensional imaging has already given detailed advices to the five-member panel. The committee had also consulted with several public sector companies having expertise in this field. It is said that 3-D imaging could help expedite the evaluation process as the length, breadth and the thickness of the articles could be assessed accurately during imaging.

According to sources, evaluation would start only after the Onam holidays, ending by September 11. They said that the process had to continue without break once it started. The instructions from the court also were on these lines. The committee had met on August 26 to decide on the date of evaluation but it was postponed as the apex court was to consider the matter last Friday.

Meanwhile, legal experts said that the advocates’ commission report, submitted in The Principal Sub-Court in Thiruvananthapuram in 2008, which says that a part of the temple treasure has been lost, might become crucial in the case. A copy of this report has already been submitted in the apex court.

The temple administration committee had reportedly announced an evaluation of the treasures back in 2007. But two persons approached the court seeking an order to prevent this move as they felt that that there were irregularities in the way in which the evaluation was being done. They also complained that the move was to evaluate the articles without proper supervision.

Following this, the Thiruvananthapuram court appointed a two-member lawyers’ panel in October, 2008 to examine the matter. After examining two chambers of the temple, the commission recommended detail evaluation of the valuables in the temple as they had reportedly found widespread irregularities and loss of some of the articles.

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