2011-08-22 04:15:18 UTC
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India Devotees of an Indian temple where
billions of dollars of treasure were recently discovered warned
against further exploration of its enticing vaults due to a
potentially deadly cobra curse, The Times of India reported
Treasure estimated at 500 billion rupees ($11.2 billion) --
including golden idols and diamonds -- was found at the Sree
Padmanabhaswamy temple in southern India's Kerala state, some
1,500 miles (2,500 kilometers) south of the capital, New Delhi.
Five of the Hindu temple's six vaults were excavated following a
court order, but the final vault -- known as "Vault B" --
remains sealed, and a sinister cobra guards its entrance.
Investigators on August 3 began the process of opening the final
vault. But a section of devotees protested when the experts
began the inspection, saying that "god will become angry," the
BBC reported. The vault was left untouched while Hindu priests
began a ritual to examine the vault.
The results were disillusioning for a curious world watching the
treasure hunt unfold: A four-day examination by astrologers
concluded that the final chamber should be left untouched
because the family members of anyone who opened it could die
from a snakebite or poisoning.
"The wealth should not be displaced. The lord is not pleased
with intrusion into the chambers that has already taken place.
And none of the valuables should be exhibited within the temple
or outside. If you do so, you will go against the lord's will,"
chief priest Padmanabha Sharma was quoted as saying by the IBN
A court ordered an examination of the temple, believed to be one
of the richest in the world, after allegations of mismanagement.
The tens of billions of dollars -- in the form of sacks of
treasure stored in secret vaults beneath a temple, a story
worthy of Indiana Jones himself -- came to light in early July.
Metal detectors were hurriedly installed at temple entrances
after six days of searches revealed the treasure trove of
artifacts, statues and temple ornaments made of gold and
embellished with jewels.
The valuables were donated to the temple by devotees over
hundreds of years, and India's erstwhile royal family has been
the custodian of the treasures.