Variety

GOD’S OWN TREASURE : Of Indiana Jones moments and cobra curses!

Sneha Padiyath | | Updated on: Jul 08, 2011

The Wall Street Journal has called it the temple's ‘Indiana Jones Moment' and why would it not? It has enough and more to captivate the wildest imagination of any Bollywood/Hollywood fan

It seems almost prophetic of Dr Vipin Gopal to have used the tagline ‘God's own country' to describe Kerala on the first Web page on the State that he created way back in 1993. For God, indeed seems to have chosen his country to hide his bounty and how.

Several roads in the virtual world now seem to be leading to the Sree Padmanbhaswamy temple, after six underground riches-filled chambers were found in the humble capital of the country's southernmost state. Enough, as some bloggers say, for not just his country, but for others too (the tongue-in-cheek reference being to debt-stricken Greece and Portugal, who are seeking financial bail-out packages)!

Twelve days since the first chamber was opened, we are still far from satiated by the news trickling in about the chambers. Even the international media has jumped onto the ‘Steven-Spielbergish' “Indiana Jones” story.

“Gold and silver coins in such numbers, they were weighed by the sackful, rather than counted,” says the Washington Post in an article titled ‘Lightly guarded Hindu temple in India is laden with gold coins, jewels, other treasures'. Television giants CNN and BBC, and other media majors including The New York Times , The Guardian and Wall Street Journal , being some of the names tracking the story internationally.

Curse of the cobra!

The Wall Street Journal has called it the temple's ‘Indiana Jones Moment' and why would it not? It has enough and more to captivate the wildest imagination of any Bollywood/Hollywood fan. Here is a treasure in a 16th century temple being fiercely guarded by a royal family and then the riches themselves.

Sacks full of diamonds, gold coins and precious stones, a 15-ft long necklace, a Rs 500-crore statue of the Lord and to top it all – adding to the mysticism is the warning by the royal family against opening of chamber B.

‘Does Curse of the Cobra Hang Over Kerala Temple Treasure?' screams another headline by the WSJ . The article goes on to describe the image of a cobra on the door of chamber B and how opening the door of this chamber would be disastrous for the State. “Cobra imagery is common in Hindu iconography— gods are often depicted with cobras draped around their shoulders,” the article adds.

The social media, for its part, has also been abuzz with ideas for how the treasure is to be used.

For the serious ones, the answer seems to be a unanimous ‘put it in a museum' and also ‘use it for the welfare of the poor'. For the not-so-serious ones, from bailing-out Greece and the Eurozone to jokes involving politicians as guardians of the treasure have been doing the rounds. Even jokes circulate now, on how hailing from Thiruvananthapuram is no longer that ‘uncool' after all!

While the ‘will-they, wont-they' debate on the opening of Chamber B continues, all eyes and ears will be now be on what the State government plans to do with the valuables discovered so far.

Whether it is displayed in a museum or left hidden in the temple chambers, it may not be out of place to assume that tourism in the state of Kerala seems to have been given another facelift, this time by the good Lord himself.

Published on July 08, 2011
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