$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. AkashKaySajith

    @Tonyl We do not have this Mafioso culture over here in Kerala. Its kinda very difficult for a normal pilgrim to get into this temple on a normal day. Now with this $22 bn haul, its gonna be difficult to loot. Not Impossible though 😛

    July 4, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. NC follower

    It sickens me that they would keep this treasure-"The wealth belonged to the temple and it will be preserved where it was found." instead of helping those living in squall-er in that country. By improving living conditions in many of India's poorest communities the overall wealth of the country could increase way more than the monetary value of this treasure.

    July 4, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chazzz

      It would come out to about $20 a person... not much help...

      July 4, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dot8

    I bet there are about 10 countries, including the U.S., that are claiming ownership.

    July 4, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Raghu

    guys,
    imagine there were much more richer temples in the BC's era compared to this one. This temple is nothing compared to Kashi, & other demolished by the Muslim rulers and British invaders.So much of wealth was stolen and frisked away by those rulers by simply Divide & Rule policy with in Indian kingdom.
    i strongly believe India would have been 10,000 times richer than what is explored if there were no crusades.
    I also encourage the govt of india to use that money for the human cause (Global) instead of pure religious purposes.

    July 4, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mike

    India Is A Rich Country...Why Indians are Poor? Due to Political Bugger?

    July 4, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. KGB Soviets

    Indian mafia is like the Country RICH & WEAK.
    Dont think they have guts,
    Probable Threats :
    India's politicans
    US NATO troops which are leaving Afg coz There Are Million Of Temples & USA might search for similar NATIONAL TREASURE to help its crippling economy Add too Kerala was Worlds first Democratic State to Vote Communist govt.

    July 4, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. B C

    This is the most interesting story in the recent past. This has shaken the whole country of India. As per reports it will cross 20 billion dollars. OMG !!!!!

    July 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. AkashKaySajith

    Btw, this belongs to Kerala and will remain in Kerala. Our Chief Minister made it pretty clear this evening. Also tehy have got a 3 tier security system consisting of local police, commandos, spies, Territorial Army and special forces.

    July 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jim

    This temple is surrounded by businesses mainly sell gold jewelry. They will be screaming now.

    July 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Decorators Manchester

    Wow! What I'd do with all that money. Wonder what's gonna happen to it

    July 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lexxvs

    What a pity that this was made that way, so crying out loud to the world to know, and to a world of criminals to be greedy for. I mean, without securing they could protect if properly. Yes, I can envision not much further in time the purported indignation about how the treasure –or part of it- was robbed/stole and the authorities claiming to have than all what they could. And what they could will be obviously not enough.

    July 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jay

    we are vegetable eating non violent peaceful people. we were looted not just because we were week. we did not put up fight to protect gold. but we did put up a huge fight to protect our Brahmins and we let our gold go many times. it is our religion and religious kings and their subjects that matter to us. we were always blessed with gold and diamonds. and our sundianasty kings never took sword against Islamic kings. our kings wanted to give them a warm welcome. most of the time after good dinner they declare war because they knew the treasure in India is big. and this lead to huge Islamic kingdom in half the world. but when Europeans came to India they did not had to loot but simply defeat Islam and take gold from them. by doing this Indian England( British raj) become powerful on earth and their by they have distributed Christianity all around the world. this is all a part god written drama. no body can change this drama. and some one who think about going back to time and change is a foolish man

    July 4, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jay

    Hindu gods and their treasures are mother of all religion and from their the story begins. true story of world creation through religions kings and subjects and propagation of religion and funding of religion etc. if you want to know more about creation and destruction and sustenance of lord shiva e mail me directly to jaycdp@gmail.com

    July 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bailoutsos

    "The state will ensure its security" -- Why should the common people pay for what belongs to the shrine?

    July 4, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Marty in MA

    What good will keeping the trasure in the temple do? Use it to help the people.

    -m

    July 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
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