Villagers stumbled upon 'ancient gold' during the renovation of a temple near Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu which was seized by authorities and deposited with the government treasury on Sunday despite locals protesting against the action, officials said. During renovation of the Lord Shiva temple off Uthiramerur taken up by the villagers themselves, 'gold items' said to be weighing over half a kg were found beneath the steps leading to the sanctum sanctorum a few days ago.
On receiving information, officials reached the temple and wanted the gold to be handed over to the government. While devotees and local people declined to part with it as they wanted to place the gold again at the very same spot after completion of renovation, authorities were firm on taking it, the officials said.
After talks failed, officials deployed adequate number of police personnel at the village and amid people's protests, they seized the find, packed it in a box and sealed it before taking it away. According to the villagers, the temple was many centuries old and believed to belong to the Chola era.
"Placing some gold beneath the temple steps is an auspicious mark and this practice is in vogue since times immemorial," a local people said. Since the gold belonged to the temple, authorities had no right to seize or retain it, they contended and blocked policemen and officials from taking the precious metal.
Asked whether they have verified the find, Revenue Divisional Officer Vidya said “it looked like gold”.