- Explorers will catalog the contents of the temple's underground chambers
- The riches are expected to be worth billions of dollars
Explorers will be allowed to carry out digital archiving of hoarded treasure stashed in underground chambers of a centuries-old Hindu temple, India's Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
The court's permission came at the request of auditors inspecting the riches, believed to be worth billions of dollars, at the famed Sree Padmnabha Swamy temple in the coastal state of Kerala.
Observers have examined five of the six vaults containing the wealth, said Gopal Sankaranarayanan, attorney for the trust that controls the shrine.
They are now expected to catalog the contents and plan to complete their inventory by September 2012 of the five cellars inspected so far, he added.
The court urged the officials to ensure adherence to religious traditions while filming the treasure, which Sankaranarayanan explained would be done strictly in private.
It, however, postponed an order on the opening of the final chamber at least until the inspectors submit an interim report of their findings three months from now, the lawyer said.
The audit of precious royal offerings has been under way since May after a legal petition over allegations of temple mismanagement.