$11 billion treasure revealed beneath temple in India
The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of the southern Indian state of Kerala.
July 4th, 2011
12:43 PM ET

$11 billion treasure revealed beneath temple in India

A court-ordered search of vaults beneath a temple in India has turned up a treasure worth at least $11 billion, according to reports from the Indian state of Kerala.

An inventory of what lies beneath the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, as reported on the website Business-Standard.com and others, reads like a prop list from an "Indiana Jones" movie:

  • Rubies, sapphires, emeralds and pearls
  • Replicas of coconut shells made of pure gold
  • Hundreds of thousands of gold and silver coins, some dating to the 16th century
  • Gold chains as long as 18 feet
  • Solid-gold human figurines and idols
  • Crowns and pendants
  • Gold and silver bars

The wealth was amassed in at least six vaults, some of which had not been opened in 150 years, according to media reports. India's Supreme Court ordered an inventory of the vaults after hearing a private complaint seeking "more transparency and trustworthiness in the temple administration," according to a report on the news website daijiworld.com.

The former royal family of Travancore manages the temple. For an explanation about how the treasure might have been amassed, check out this report from CommodityOnline.com.

The Kerala government said Monday the treasure will remain property of the shrine, according to media reports.

"The wealth belonged to the temple and it will be preserved where it was found. There is religious and historical significance to the findings. The state will ensure its security," Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the Times of India.

As word of the find has spread, Kerala police are asking for help to safeguard the treasure, according to media reports.

"It is too big a challenge for the police. We have no trained personnel to manage such a huge treasure. We have sought the help of several agencies who can really help us," Jacob Punnose, director general of the Kerala police, told India Today.

What might the treasure, which the Economic Times of India says is likely the biggest in the country, mean for Kerala, a south Indian state of 33 million people? The Economic Times has some ideas.

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Filed under: India • World
soundoff (792 Responses)
  1. RUFFNUTT

    time to put that stuff on ebay...

    July 4, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • bailoutsos

      Yeah, $11 BILLION? Ebay bidders will determine its value in an open market.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    That's so much stuff that it's...arousing.
    Ummmmm!

    July 4, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dex

    i knew i left that stuff somewhere.

    July 4, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dave p

    maybe now the indian gov can buy some toilets finally.

    July 4, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • scorpio

      No they won't. they always had enough money for that. but u know how the bloody corrupt govts are these days everywhere; whether its US or India its sam story everywhere 🙂

      July 4, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sane

      Dude – The fact that you've watched 'Slumdog Millionaire' doesn't mean that you'll not find enough tiolets in India for morning deeds..

      July 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Walto

      Typical red neck!

      July 5, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
    • vishal

      you guys overestimate the requirement of a closed bathroom, whats the fun in that.
      Imagine you are squatting in a open green field , one with nature , with the grass gently caressing your bottom when the wind blows.
      A sparrow trots over slowly towards you , you pick up a pebble and toss it towards it .
      You can even make it a community event and go with your mates.
      Ahh bliss.
      Only watch out for snakes trying to find a hole to rest in.

      July 24, 2011 at 2:20 am | Report abuse |
    • donny

      lol vihsal that made me laugh

      July 28, 2011 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
  5. DAFFY DUCK

    IT'S MINE ALL MINE...

    July 4, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    This discovery just may make India the next target for the NATO forces. If the U.S., Great Britain or France finds some pretext to invade India, I won't be at all surprised.

    July 4, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • scorpio

      no, they won't.they cannot dare to invade India. India is a huge country. But what they'll probably do, is give Pakistan few more billion dollars from US tax payer's money to establish terror groups that would kill innocent Indian people.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • J

      That's just silly. Scorpio is right on the money! How can anyone invade a country of over a billion people, which has nukes? Not gonna happen.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • ihatewalmart

      The U.S government has just found out and NATO is on there way with warships. The U.s gov. new they found this treasure months ago and that is why were pulling the troops out of afganistan. The next war will be with india until america gets that 11 billion in jewels.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Candice

    It's sad that so many people in India live in the most deplorable conditions of poverty. Can't some of that treasure be sold to improve living conditions? Education?

    July 4, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Benji

      no need to sell, I would pay good money to see the display! I am sure the line behind me and the one in front will be long!

      July 4, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joseph McCarthy

      What India needs Candice, is a Communist Revolution. There is a band of Maoists operating there for that purpose. If they succeed that would help the poor, but then again, that may also provide the NATO countries an excuse to invade. The West never leaves anything alone for long!!!

      July 4, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Benji

      To Joseph, this area has been under successive communist governments for decades!

      July 4, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bk

      There is enough money for education. Unfortunately 20 % of India's GNP goes on arms for self defense from Pakistan's attacks. Pakistan is supplied with free (US taxpayers pay) arms and training regularly. India never attacks anyone, simply defends itself and moves on. Irksome, isn't it?

      July 5, 2011 at 5:19 am | Report abuse |
  8. cheryl

    So much,yet it wouldn't even make a good dent in our national debt!

    July 4, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Benji

    True the monetary value is huge, I guess the artifacts belong in a museum connected to the Temple and its worshippers – both present and past.

    July 4, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ELMER FUDD

    WERY WERY Funny, DAFFY.... back up and drop the loot or I'll bowww yur witto head offffff.

    July 4, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. AO

    Wow, religion at its best, at least 50% of india is in poverty without running water and yet they have all that gold that no one knew about I wonder how they got it.

    July 4, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bk

      India was the richest country in the world, had the only known diamond mines, etc. for centuries. Hindus invented numbers, algebra, navigation, etc. etc. and managed 25 % of the world's trade til the British looted it and totally impoverished it. There is even an early system of democracy. The gold came from its own mines.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:23 am | Report abuse |
  12. George Liquor American

    This is just a money grab disguised as transparency.

    July 4, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. RUFFNUTT

    @CANDICE

    no you cant sell it.... maybe put it on a traveling show to other countries... but that is history.. we need to preserve it.

    July 4, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. T_Rex

    India is a Third World Country, RIGHT ?????

    July 4, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • BitterTruth

      It's a country who taught rest of the world how to live peacefully, gave them the power of maths so that you can invent and finally because of which Columbus got lost and found all so called lost/abandoned/hated "pilgrims" a country which we call USA now.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • ag

      No more...

      July 4, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • J

      Jacka$$, India is not a third world country

      July 4, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Montrealer

      Well, India is full of really poor and really rich people, but more poor people. So...

      July 4, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • ACinRC

      India is NOT a third world country. It is a developing country. Yes, there is wealth disparity there. We have that in the USA too.

      A few years ago I had the experience of walking in a poor residential area of Ahmedabad, accompanied by an Indian man. Women were busily filling containers with water from a central tap which was turned on for a short time each day. My companion explained to me what a typical day was like for these women, and it was not an easy life. We also noted some beautiful centuries-old architectural and artistic structures on the homes in this neighborhood. My friend commented that these structures were quite valuable but the people would never sell, whether due to pride or simply not knowing the worth of what they had.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bk

      Yes, when the British looted it, India became poor. Not before and it soon grew wealthier after they were thrown out.

      July 5, 2011 at 5:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. prem

    @dave p..maybe we'll send the money over to buy your country a brand new justice system

    July 4, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
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