$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. hailey

    All I want to know is where are the pictures? I want to see pictures of these giant piles of gold coins and diamonds and stuff.

    July 4, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • reddragon11

      Give me a good crew... Oceans 14 perhaps... I'm down!

      July 4, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vick

      This youtube poster, states these are some of the treasure, treasure shown mid way in the video
      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwztjvPgZzI&w=640&h=360]

      July 4, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • db

      Don't you all realise that this type of treasure and amount can be found in all the prominent religous buildings in the world. No lie. You can see it for yourself. Russia in its churches and the vatican especially. The governments see this too. With the world economy falling apart you will soon see these religous places attacked and plundered. I guarantee this will happen, not by people, but by the governments.

      July 4, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tyokol

    The temple has amassed donations by fools for centuries only to greedily keep the wealth in their vaults without reinvesting it to help the needy. The result has been the impoverishing of the populace only to fatten those useless reserves. What an evil culture.

    July 4, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • reddragon11

      That's most organized religous groups.

      July 4, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • chandraG

      The temples used to support schools. However, in the last millenium, Moslems and Christians have invaded India repeatedly and looted their wealth, including Kohinoor diamond that now bedecks British empress' crown. They didn't want to open these vaults to these barbarian invaders. The Indian culture is rich and benign one , you fool.

      July 4, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam

      21 billion dollars would greatly benefit the poor in India. I am sure the g-ds would approve.

      July 5, 2011 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Diego

      Tyokol do everyone a favor and just die you stupid racist piece of jhit!

      July 4, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • TB

      You've apparently not been to Kerala.

      July 4, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • ibrad

      Doesn`t make you wonder what`s really under the Vatican !! ?

      July 4, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Billy

    It's worth $11 billion only to the extent that people will pay arbitrarily high amounts of money for rocks and metal.

    July 4, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chinny

      Very well said.

      July 4, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Enda

      Except it's not really arbitrary, the prices are determined by their scarcity, supply & demand.

      July 4, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Treehugger Life

      As opposed to lets say 11 billion dollars worth of useless paper cash, or stocks/bonds that can go "poof" next week in a stock market crash? Gold and Diamonds are precious metal and gems respectively that have real use, hence real value. Cash money is not worth the paper it's printed on in ANY currency. And stocks and bonds go as stock markets rise orrrr fall and possibly crash. Yikes.

      July 4, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Who Cares

    More Curry for everyone

    July 4, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Allen

    Wealth is a cure for aids
    Wealth is an agreeable and livable resolution of to the problems of global warming
    Wealth is a handle on cancer.
    Wealth is self-knowledge in this universe and our place in it.
    Wealth is good relations with your neighbour

    IT IS NOT A ROCK

    allen

    July 4, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matthew!

      Wealth is alot of money! period

      July 4, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Chantelle

    Why does everything have to turn into a fight between the races? It doesnt seem to matter what is reported on here, the comments end up the same. Race against race. Country against country. No wonder the whole world is "going to hell in a hand basket" Its just childish and rediculous. What everything SHOULD boil down to is love, kindness, caring and forgiveness. Instead of competiveness, hatred, possession, and killing. people should step back and take a look at the furture they are making for their own children, neices, nephews, and grandchildren. Mark my words, we will make their lives 1000 times harder than what ours are right now. We are all united by this earth, but we all let this earth come between us. It is just shameful!

    July 4, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jaxman

      Cannot say any better!!!

      July 4, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • nirmala

      Amen!

      July 4, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. James

    Be nice to use some of that to.....oh I don't know....feed, cloth, house the poor of India.....but all over this world this type of wealth is not used wisely.

    July 4, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sky

    this is just one temple of India, there are many. Just imagine all their wealth! India doesn't have oil but temples!!! :-))

    July 4, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tammy

    For Goodness Sakes!!!! One of the poorest countries in the world with this type of wealth? Put religion aside – and spread that wealth to help your people – Unbelievable!

    July 4, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • donny

      one of the poorest countries then why is the GDP of India $4 Trillion ? get your facts straight 🙂

      July 28, 2011 at 5:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. Kris

    It is no surprise.. India was the wealthiest society in ancient times.. that is before Muslims invaded the country and started looting.. and then the British did the same. The queen of England still refuses to give some of treasures they looted out of country.

    There are several other temples scattered throughout India where the temple priests dug secret tunnels and vaults just to hide the precious items and treasure from the invading looters.

    July 4, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sandy

    I hope temple trust use this wealth for betterment of human life .. Towards eradication of malnutrition..good health care for poor....and not in making more and more temple.

    July 4, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Eastern Pheonix

    Glad the British imperials did not notice any bling in the temple. Otherwise the temple would have been robbed...

    July 4, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. major tom

    What?! No real coconut shells?

    July 4, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Patrick Brunet

    It'll be taken by the govt over there in total secrecy,and replaced with perfect fakes,India needs the money a hell of a lot more than it needs to worry about religion,etc...They wont pass this up.

    July 4, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Eastern Pheonix

    Oh I forgot, the Mughals too were good at robbing others property...

    July 4, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
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