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As the treasure chests open in Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, debate sparks on how to safeguard the treasure considering its immense historical and cultural values

Even as priceless treasures found from cellars of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala is estimated to be around Rs 90,000 crore, the discovery has sparked a debate on how to protect and preserve the royal legacy which has surpassed everyone's imagination.

Opening of the long-locked chambers, on Supreme Court orders, which began on June 27 has so far revealed a large number of gold ornaments, gold and silver coins, stone studded crowns, idols and figurines inlaid with precious stones and jewels.

The exercise to assess the value of the articles, undertaken by a seven-member panel of observers, including two former high court judges, continues on Monday after a day's breather on Sunday.

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Exactly 15 years ago, on June 20th 1996 - two young Indian cricketers were handed over the Indian Test cap for the very first time. Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid replaced Navjot Sidhu and Sanjay Manjrekar in the XI at Lord's against England. Indian cricket would never be the same.
 
    Ganguly made a century on debut. His 131 was the first of 16 Test hundreds and 7212 Test runs. In the 50 over format, he made a staggering 11363 runs and formed an explosive opening partnership with Sachin Tendulkar.
 
 
    Dravid fell five runs short of a ton in his debut at the home of cricket. His 95 however did stand testament to his technique and class that soon saw him transform into an all time batting legend.
 
 
    The Ganguly and Dravid combination helped the Indian cricket team turn a new page and laid the foundation for their current No 1 status. As batsmen and skippers they helped India achieve Test wins in England, West Indies, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia - aside from the sub-continent. They emerged from the shadow of Tendulkar to convert the Indian team from pushovers to world beaters.
 

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    Dravid is at present the third highest scorer in Tests with 12063 runs and 31 Test centuries under his belt, while his ODI career saw him rack up 10765 ODI runs. Some of his other records include - the most number of Test catches (200) and centuries in all Test playing nations.
 
    15 years on, Dravid continues to represent India in the longer format of the game. The first match vs West Indies in Jamaica is his 151st appearance in Test cricket.

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Delhi University has announced the first cut-off list for various programmes in different colleges. Since the colleges have to admit all students who fall within the announced cut-offs, colleges have erred on the side of caution and have announced slightly higher cut-offs.
 
The Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) affixed the cut-off for its B.Com (Honours) course at 100 percent for non-commerce aspirants. For B.A. Economics (Honours), the cut-off is 98.25 percent.
 
This year, Delhi University, one of India's premier varsities, did away with the application process for admission to its undergraduate courses. So the colleges declared the cut-offs on the basis of last year's marks. 
 

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Hindu College's cut-off for B.Com (H) last year was 93.25 %. This year the minimum cut-off is 95.5.  But don't let these figures fool you. The fourth cut-off list last year admitted students with 87%.  However, some programmes such as the Hindu's Economics (Hons) always attracts students with highest percentages. Admissions closed by the second list with almost similar cut-offs. This was also the case with B.Com (H) at SRCC.
 
So those of you who have scored between 87% and 93% - do not lose heart. You might still get into one of the coveted colleges by the second or third lists. You might have to settle for B.com (H) instead of Economics (hons). So keep the sprits up. The cut-offs may go up by one or two percent for some pricy courses. But for the bulk of colleges and programmes, cut-offs will hover around the same figures as last year.  

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It is considered to be the ultimate ride on rails.  The Royale Indian Rail Tours offers one of the most luxurious train journeys across India's most beautiful locales. 

The Maharajas' Express is one of the six luxury trains in India that promises to offer the best in travel, traditional food and hospitality. 

 

 

The fares for this luxurious travel range from Rs 212,000 ($4,725) for a single cabin to Rs 900,000 ($17,500) for the presidential suite for a 7-day trip on a 'classical journey'. 

The Maharaja Express redefines luxury travel with five-star hotel hospitality and high-tech modern amenities all along the journey. 

 

 

It also has LCD televisions, DVD players, direct dial telephone, electronic safe deposit box and internet facilities to make the journey an unforgettable experience. 

 

A royal banquet for passengers, the Maharajas' Express has two fine dining restaurants that seat 42 persons at a time. Wine and beer are complimentary. 

The Maharajas' Express is comprehensively insured for fire, earthquake, theft and terrorism. All guests are covered under an umbrella insurance cover. 

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If nothing else, the Delhi police raid on Baba Ramdev's camp on Sunday has helped clear some confusion. The midnight swoop was unexpected, but we now know that the central government, which treated the yoga guru like an honoured state guest when he first arrived in Delhi, is his enemy.

Congress leader Digvijay Singh has described Ramdev as a "thug" and a "fraud". In turn, Ramdev has accused the centre of trying to murder him, and called senior minister Kapil Sibal "a liar and a cunning man". His supporters, or at least men claiming to be his supporters, have attacked Digvijay Singh's house in Bhopal.  The Congress has promptly dubbed Ramdev a secret agent of the BJP. As you can see, a full-fledged war is on.

We also know that the BJP is going all out to support Ramdev. It has organised demonstrations all over India to protest against his eviction, and is complaining that the centre is unleashing Emergency-like terror against its political opponents. Senior leaders like L K Advani are seeking to meet President Pratibha Patil. At least 30 of Ramdev's followers were injured when the police started caning them in the middle of the night, and the government is nervous the outrage could snowball into something too huge for it to control.

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It's now Team Baba (with full support from the BJP) vs the UPA. Anna Hazare and his team have expressed solidarity with Ramdev, and called off their meeting with the government on Monday over the drafting of the Lokpal Bill. But are they fully with Ramdev? Yes and no. They support his campaign against corruption but are queasy about the Sangh parivar jumping on to his bandwagon.

Already a cult figure thanks to his TV shows promoting yoga, Ramdev has been able to inspire many thousands to travel to Delhi to participate in his rally. He enjoys all-India appeal, and as a commentator put it, the government has reason to worry because his supporters are from the small towns, and they vote. The government knows how to handle criticism from urban intellectuals, who advance sophisticated arguments but do little by way of political action. With someone like Ramdev, the UPA government knows it has to tread carefully. It may already have lost some credibility by talking one moment to the guru and tear-gassing his supporters the next.

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