The discovery raises a couple of interesting questions: How and why was the treasure amassed? And how could a collection that valuable be forgotten? I've seen suppositions that historically only eight people in the Travancore royal family had knowledge about the vault and their contents, severely limiting access. But as Sundararajan's inquiry suggests, it wasn't completely forgotten. The current ruling family, which still controls access to the temple, has renounced any ownership of the find and is advocating its use for humanitarian purposes. Sundararajan, who brought the treasure to light, recently died at the age of 70, reportedly of natural causes.
|Image from Deccan Chronicle|
My hope is that some of the prosperity this treasure represents goes back to people in surrounding regions. If this treasure was amassed by the royal family, you'd have to imagine their tax base (and its current descendants) had a great deal to do with the treasure's existence. But I also wonder about other centuries old treasures currently hidden below sight and consciousness... when might they be discovered as well?
Thanks to my mom for the heads up about the original NYT article.