$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

    Parliment is not located in the state of Kerala!

    July 4, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. just a thought

    Just think! This just one temple: how many more are there?

    July 4, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • AkashKaySajith

      A 1000 more in Kerala. 432 of them age back to 200BC. 7 of them are known to have treasures beneath them. Guruvayoor temple, vadakkumnathan temple and Cherpu Siva temple to name the few.

      July 4, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Brian

    "Billions buried, while millions of Indians starve!!".....................................................................Religions worship mammon. This really shouldn't surprise anyone.

    July 4, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dennis

      There are plenty of religions that take donated money and use it for charitable causes... and, well, yes, some bury it in their vaults. By their fruits ye shall know them.

      July 4, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mr. N

    Good time to cash in some gold! Nearly $1500 per oz

    July 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. educatedguess

    organized Hinduism is just as evil as any other organized religion.

    July 4, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. DONALD DUCK

    AMERICA IS AN ABSOLUTE SINKING SHIP FOR MANY WHO ARE TOO STUPID TO WALK AND CHEW GUM THE END IS RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE AND YOU CANT SEE IT WHAT IS REALLY SAD IS ALL THOSE AMERICAN LIVES LOST IN WORLD WARS WE SURRENDERED TO MEXICO FOR NOTHING IT IS ABSOLUTELY OVER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK THE LOWEST FORM OF LIFE POLITICIANS AND LAWYERS

    July 4, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corbijn

      I think you accidentally left your Caps Lock on.

      July 4, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • george

      QUIT SHOUTING!

      July 4, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Glenn

      Donald Duck, I think you are actually Dopey.

      July 4, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Scottish Mama

    Beautiful building!

    July 4, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • AkashKaySajith

      You should see the Lord Vishnu idol we worship in this temple. 10 ft long solid gold idol visible through 3 carved golden doors, with dimonds and other gems stuffed onto it. Idol has got its own ornaments which include an 18 ft long gold chain.

      July 4, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. just a thought

    I read some where, I think it was National Geographic, that of all the gold that has ever been mined, only about %.01 has been lost.

    July 4, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • gdssd

      Bunch of bull cr@p.

      July 4, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. See4me

    Ge your hands out of my pocket!!

    July 4, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Citizen_On_High

    'Commodity Online.com" has incorrect currency conversion.. INR 1,00,000 Crores = USD 22 Billion.... and they are still counting.. Please correct the report... Oops!! Hold On!!! you dont have to, because Indian Politicians will any way swindle 50% of that treasure..so it may come down to 11 Billion... so its fine leave as is...

    July 4, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Redbeard

    Arrrgh, cow back on ship. Wet and tired am I mateys. Have become attached to cow. Guess I'll eat some Nathan's hot dogs instead. Loot wasn't mine after all. Forgot I buried in Indiana not India.

    July 4, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. DONALD DUCK

    AMERICA= NORTH MEXICO WITH THE CRIMINAL ILLEGALS

    July 4, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corbijn

      Uh, you still have the Caps Lock key on.

      July 4, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tara

    The comments on CNN articles are probably worse than comments left on YouTube videos.

    July 4, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. DONALD DUCK

    WE HAVE GOVERNMENT OF PATHOLOGICAL LIARS NEVER EVER BELIEVE ANY POLITICIAN NO MATTER WHAT PARTY FROM 911 TO THE BS UNEMPLOYMENT RATE WHICH IS IN FACT OVER 20 % NOT THE 9 % THE CONTROLLED MEDIA REPORTS ITS ONE LIE AFTER ANOTHER ASK YOURSELF WHEN IS A LIAR NOT A LIAR WE HAVE BEED SOLD OUT THESE POLITICIANS SHOULD ALL BE TRIED FOR TREASON

    July 4, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corbijn

      Please, for the love of God push the button that says Caps Lock. Its on the left-side of your keyboard.

      July 4, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. just a thought

    You're right Banasey, it's been a long time since I have read the story. And, by the way, isn't this the religion that have goddess with six or eight hands held out? Thank goodness mine only had two!

    July 4, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corbijn

      You have a goodness? Thank God for Christianity.

      July 4, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
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