$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.

Post by:
Filed under: India • World
soundoff (792 Responses)
  1. Jim

    So glad the British didn't find this hidden treasure when they ruled India.. those thieves would've looted every single thing and taken it back home..

    July 4, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. baroda1234

    There are 1 billion people in India and if the temple take this money and distribute among the all the people of India, irrespecitive of religion, caste or creed, each India would have $5.5 billion. This can wipe out the poverty in India. This is only one temple. Imagine if we distribute all the money in all the temples in India, we will be able to wipe out poverty from the world. God does not need money. People need money. I remember the words of V.K. Krishna Menon (a Hindu believer) who was the defense minister under Nehru. He said, "India is not a poor country, but the people of India are poor". How true it is. Therefore I urge the the temple priests, distribute this money to all the Indians, irrespective of religion, caste, or creed. You can wipe out the poverty in India. Leave aside your fanatic religious rhetoric.

    July 4, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Victor

      "There are 1 billion people in India and if the temple take this money and distribute among the all the people of India, irrespecitive of religion, caste or creed, each India would have $5.5 billion"

      You might want to do that Math again.

      July 4, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • LGB

      Umm, each Indian would get $11 under your plan.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
    • anonymous

      im assuming he meant million

      July 5, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian Arkton

      If i did the math right,each person would get like $9.03 dollars.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
    • fenceclimber

      LGB I am with you........I get $11

      July 5, 2011 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
    • anonymous

      well then this man is clearly just stupid. your math fails

      July 5, 2011 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
    • anonymous

      the math is actually really simple. just 1 billion and 11 billion. easy, dont see how the OP passed math class. and also do some research the population is more like 1.2 billion so thats even less money

      July 5, 2011 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Amir S

      My friend, it says 11 billion dollars worth of treasure was found. you state there are 1 billion people in India. That equals 11 dollars per person. I hope you understand the gravity of poverty with such a massive population now that the math is done for you.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian Arkton

      I used the exact population count stated on wikipedia so that explains my answer. 1 billion as a rounded number is not too accurate since there is approx. 1.2+ billion.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Citizen_On_High

      Mr. 1234 i am sure you are drunk...

      July 5, 2011 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
    • BluntButTrue

      You must be the stupidest person, who can somehow write some english but can't do simple mathematics which even a ten year old kid can do easily.

      Hope you don't belong to some pathetic bureaucratic family.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
    • anonymous

      lol i dont know what this guys on but if you went this route only 2 ppl would get any money

      July 5, 2011 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Math Major

      $11 Billion divided by 1 Billion people = $11 per person in India. How does that wipe out poverty?

      July 5, 2011 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Dharmic

      Sure, let us also take the entire oil wealth of Saudi Arabia and its rich madrassahs/mullahs – along with the wealth locked in the Vatican's vaults – and distribute them among all the poor Muslims and Christians in India. Hindu wealth for Hindus only, others please generate your own because Hindus are not allowed to steal yours – therefore you should have no right to claim theirs either. Sound like a plan? Easier said than done, cheaters. Too used to living off free Hindu money aren't you?

      July 5, 2011 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
    • the original poster is definitely high

      there are many things wrong with your few sentences sir. who says the other temples even have this much valuable treasure inside? why would you go assuming things you don't know anything about. also most of people in India are the same religion or so I have read so that would not be a problem either. your stupidest mistake though is assuming the people would spend their money wisely and build up more. this will probably not be the case and also your math is awful. you fail at life and you shouldn't even be allowed to post on CNN news or even have children. become a Darwin award recipient or an hero my friend. its your last option.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
    • MCR

      I'm ready for my 11 bucks!

      July 5, 2011 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Toni

      Besides the math being a bit off, the comment is completely idiotic. To suggest that giving people a little money will solve the country's ills, is just plain juvenile.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Richa

      The temples of India have always been prosperous. So have been the people of India. That was what attracted the Mughal empire and British, who practiced the "religions of peace", to enslave India and loot Her treasury for centuries together. Funny to see the descendants of these very tyrants commenting on Hindus religious beliefs and calling them "fanatics", while they are living on the same treasure that was once robbed from India by their ancestors. Dig deep into the Swiss bank account of just one politician in India...you would find at least twice this amount.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Sp

      Idiot do your math.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
    • WTH?

      You are the first Indian that has ever failed math, your vision of helping poverty along with your mission of spreading $11.00 among each person is beyond mankind's imagination.

      Go back to being a Neanderthal.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
    • megagaddha

      1.2 billion+, don't forget the ones on the way; these Indians breed like roaches

      July 5, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
    • akon

      POLITICIANS in INDIA will swipe that wealth any ways.................................MOST Corrupt Country in UNIVERSE (INDIA)

      July 5, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Starryone

      All you people complaining about the small amount of money each personin India would get are missing the point. Haven't you every heard of MICRO=GRANTS? If they each applied themselves they could own China. Hadn't thought of that, had you? That's right ,Folks, read 11 dollars and think CHINA? That and that we in the U.S. will all be wearing saris and Batik print outfits.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Yahsai

      Today 11 billion. This time next year the temple will be filled with made in China replicas and the treasures will be dispersed among the wealthy. A handful of billionaires with private jets will emerge. OH! Where did they come from! How did they get so rich!

      July 5, 2011 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  3. Brian Arkton

    Well,now since the world knows the fact that $11 billion in hard currency,which can be easily made untraceable by melting, now lays beneath a temple in India,which doesn't have really have a high per capita and is definitely not surrounded by the most wealthiest of nations. Whoever made that complaint must've not thought about what this "transparency" would do. I'm betting this revalation is going to cost India dearly. In such a volatile area of the world,telling people that 11 billiion in gold,silver and all sorts of gems is located in a temple and that the police may not be able to provide sufficient protection was definitely not a good idea.

    Sometimes its better to keep certain things secret. Imagine if the Taliban or Al-Qaeda realizes how helpful $11 billion could be to them and begin to shift to the east. They've already screwed up the middle east and may,even in worse case scenarios,influence Africa. This is the result of short-sighted judges. They not only endangered their national security but even international security.

    Another thing is the fact that the temple administration will begin hiring "security services" or what we all call mercenaries. They had three choices:get police help though the police say they can't be too helpful, get the military to help but then sometimes you need the army more in other places(India is a large place) or to hire security services. All would be a waste of money. If the court had thought ahead,they would've realized staying quiet would've been less costly and risky.

    This isn't really good news for the international community. Such news tends to lead to more violence.

    I think it'd be better that the government takes hold of that money and uses it for it's public. I'm sure the Indian populace would be benefitted from $11 billion dollars of wealth which is,in its current state,shiny objects that scream "Come get us!!". I hope they realize the disadvantages in the actions they have taken and immediately attempt to fix it.

    July 4, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Citizen_On_High

      It shows you are a typical westerner, who live in a soap bubble, not aware of other countries defense and security systems...your concern in legitimate, but not to the level of your worry...

      US cant keep 11 Million illegal immigrants crossing the southern border, at the bay...but, India is far better having almost same distance border and keep unwanted elements away....

      July 5, 2011 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Mothilal de Silva

      Better to keep the treasures in the underground. 🙂 🙂 What happened in Iraq? Historical treasures displayed in museums in addition to their assets in foreign banks, They all were evaporated. Next is Libya. Already assets in banks gone. Kerala and India , think twice. I am sure, lot of greedy eyes are on you.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian Arkton

      I am in no soap bubble and i realize that India has good defenses and security but in a country whose people earn such low amounts of money in a country with much wealth,it tends to leave a weak spot. Not to mention that India may be defended but we've all seen the damage terrorists can cause with their suicide attacks. If a situation like that occured in India,it would probably degenerate into the violence of the India's past. India could keep "official" people away but how do you keep out someone in this age of advanced mass communication.

      My worry tends to stretch so far. I like to follow the saying "Hope for the best, plan for the worst" so sometimes i can extend to such extent but at least it isn't too far-fetched. I think India is on thin ice so hopefully they won't take too many wrong steps and plunge into a sea of violence. Such wealth,especially when its a hard currency that's pretty much universally accepted, can be frightening.

      An ounce of gold costs approx. $1500 dollars. You double or triple that(so 2-3 oz) and you get the per capita of most Indians. One ounce of that gold would probably seem like a fortunate to a family in poverty and living in the slums.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Walto

      Being an Indian who has extensively traveled abroad on projects & who reads numerous forums I know this would be coming. Brian dude first and foremost India is not a banana republic so the wealth is as secure as you are on your couch guzzling beer & munching onion rings. Secondly the wealth as reported by CNN is not $11bn but $22bn (NYT). This is just one temple there are many such temple. I reckon this amount is more than your state's budget. Now do the math if you can.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
    • the second poster is definitely high

      lol @ the soap bubble comment. ive never heard of that term. ive heard of living in a bubble but not specifically a soap bubble. thanks for the laugh.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Mothilal de Silva

      We can identify popularly known terrorists as Al Quaida, LTTE, Al Sheba, Kashmir Lakshar- e- oma or Chechnyan rebels. But some who come as defenders of Democracy and terrorize regions are more dangerous as they can not be identified. They are smarter, cunning and shrewd. Hope India and China will maintain their independence and do not tolerate intervention when it comes to monetary, fiscal and political matters. Lets protect Asia. What is happening in wealthy Middle East is pathetic.

      July 5, 2011 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
  4. tabcon

    Too bad Bernie Madoff is in Jail, otherwise he could show these Indians how best to invest their money instead of collecting dust and no interest. But then leave it to Lawyers, I am sure there is some leag angle to all of this. Some of these funds were collected before 1947,mmm that was British Raj. Were Taxes paid on this money. Do we have a Log of people who gave this loot. Lotta Questions!

    July 5, 2011 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  5. eclectic

    I completely agree with you. These barriers which have been created in the name of nationalism, religion & other segragations are man-made.

    In fact, all these divisions have been created by elite, politicians, clerics & generals who hold on to their power & money by dividing people. People must understand this & get rid of all ideas of nationalism, patriotism & religious disparities, becoming one human family lest humankind will keep suffering at the hands of their sloganeering & will perish in the near future.

    Break the shackles & follow the natural & built-in urges & desires of embracing all as your brothers & sisters.

    July 5, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Lagos

      Like you clearly regard the religious as your brothers and sisters. Oh, you can use the guise of love and wanting to help us see the errors of their ways, but you certainly wouldn't like a religious fanatic telling you that you're going to hell unless you accept Jesus Christ as your savior. You know, out of love and concern for you.

      Being open minded is good, but you seem to have let your head fall out. Maybe you need less "Stick it to every person that's ever been in a position of authority" and more "I realize I don't understand everything about the universe, and what I perceive to be reality is my INTERPRETATION of the universe". There's the laws of the universe we fully understand, then there's those we don't. Until we, and more specifically you understand everything, don't pretend that your perception of reality is right and others' is wrong.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Lagos

      Your brain fall out. Apologies, getting close to midnight and mine is starting to turn into a gelatinous state. I can only hope that I've at the very least made you consider another way of looking at the universe.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
    • BluntButTrue

      Lagos,

      if you can't write even a single simple sentence which means something you should think of first learning & then opining.

      The genius lies in simplyfying & not complicating or obfuscating things.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  6. treasure

    The treasure is not below, but the treasure is the LORD who sites above.

    July 5, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
    • treasure

      who is depicted being in eternal sleep... Pray to the lord. It is more valuable than stones and mud.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  7. fenceclimber

    baroda what kind of math are you using......or did i just read something wrong......using your numbers, i come up with $11 each.

    July 5, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  8. michael rojas

    with that amount of money you can educate and help a lot of people in india...................

    July 5, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
    • WTH?

      true, but with 11 Billion dollars worth ancient treasures, you can open a museum and use the money from tourism and world expos and educate India for the current and next generations......

      July 5, 2011 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  9. BluntButTrue

    Unless we bring down population through birth control & we put a limit to the maximum income & assets a person can have, the majority of the world will remain poor.

    July 5, 2011 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mothilal de Silva

    Better to keep the treasures in the underground. :-):-) What happened in Iraq? Historical treasures displayed in museums in addition to their assets in foreign banks, They all were evaporated. Next is Libya. Already assets in banks gone. Kerala and India , think twice. I am sure, lot of greedy eyes are on you.

    July 5, 2011 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
  11. BluntButTrue

    The way to peace & riches in the world is only High IQ & very healthy people are given licence to produce kids & the others are totally banned.

    July 5, 2011 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  12. Sp

    The new findings estimate the value at $22.2 Billion not considering the antique value. There is still one more vault to be opened

    July 5, 2011 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  13. Charlie

    That's enough gold to fill an aircraft carrier. Wow! Happy 4th of July. Has anyone invented LED fireworks, boy it's hot outside.

    July 5, 2011 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. zameer

    POLITICIANS in INDIA will swipe that wealth any ways.................................MOST Corrupt Country in UNIVERSE (INDIA)

    In India almost a 100 million people have no money to buy food 2 times a day, If that money is distributed to poor irrespective of religion, caste and creed might benefit.

    But in India, people hate each other in the name of religion and caste, this makes it a country that will never progress...................It is only fit for Call Center's and Outsourcing(Changing accent and speaking like westerner's).

    July 5, 2011 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mike Papadopoulos

    "The wealth belonged to the temple and it will be preserved where it was found......." Wow! I am sure that India's 4,000,000 starving and malnurished children will sleep good tonight knowing that the "temple" will not starve to death!! Ridiculous!! I thought people from India were smart!

    July 5, 2011 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25