What should India, rising but still plagued by poverty, do with a newly discovered treasure of gold coins, statues and jewels in the vault of a Hindu temple, valued at some $22 billion? Suggestions are pouring in from across the country and the world. Some say it should be used to establish universities and colleges. The man who brought the court case that resulted in the unveiling of the treasure wants it handed over to the Kerala state government. Others want a new subway system.
But here in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala formerly known as Trivandrum, many people — including the state’s top elected official, Hindu believers and the royal family that once ruled this part of India and still oversees the temple — argue that the treasure should remain, largely untouched, at the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple where it has been housed for centuries.