$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. Martin

    "The State will ensure its security" –

    Yeah, right. I bet there's a massive sudden interest in who has control over this temple.

    Religion (just about every one) is about the most corrupt organization on the planet.

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

      Martin: Educate us. Which religions are corrupt and which ones are not? And what is the form of corruption, and how do you know all this?

      July 4, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • twiddly

      Silly to just "hold it". Sell it and divvy up the proceeds to Kerata and you get about 100K per person. Talk about a stimululs!

      July 4, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phil in Oregon

      People use the 'religion is corrupt' argument because they have money. Obviously if a religion was truly following God or Jesus, the leaders would always be broke and sleeping on the ground. that works in warm climates, but what about the ones in Moscow, Finland, Canada, places like that?

      July 4, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • J

      @ Twiddly. You are surely not smarter than a 5th grader. 11B/approx 31M is more like $500 per person. The US education system is a complete fail.

      July 4, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shiv

      @J I think what Twiddly meant was dividing it amongst the population in Kerala not India. Hence the 100K. You should probably read all the way through before commenting!

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

      "@J I think what Twiddly meant was dividing it amongst the population in Kerala not India. Hence the 100K. You should probably read all the way through before commenting!"

      @ Shiv – you are one rude fellow..giving us Indians a bad name. Try dividing 11 B by 31 M (Kerala's population). J was correct in his statement...you just assumed that he was talking about all of India's population when he was not. So why don't you take the same unsolicited advise you gave J and Read!!

      July 4, 2011 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ray

    It was under ground for at least 150 years, and more likely closer to 300. Leave it be.

    July 4, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. RUFFNUTT

    Here goes a lot of mindless Tea Partiers again, posting their senseless comments on this web page. It never ends!!!

    July 4, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • RUFFNUTT

      @fakey.. why do you hate the tea partiers so much?

      July 4, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. tea partiers

    Are dumb little trolls with no life. .they believe palin and/or bachmann are going to win an election when actuality they are closet queens

    July 4, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • RUFFNUTT

      @fakey... you need to get a life and go outside once in awhile

      July 4, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kris VanGieson

    Hi everybody. I stole money from a church collection plate about 10 years ago and I was rewarded with a sweet and cute wife as well as a beautiful child. Other more honest people in my family have been treated like garbage. What does that say about God and his rewarding the good and punishing the bad? Unless Jesus is just a fraud? Where are you Jesus to strike me down with God's wrath? I challenge you!

    July 4, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • peick

      "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9

      July 4, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anthony

      Thor is the only true god.

      He promised to rid all Ice Giants.

      I dont see any ice giants around.

      July 4, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • KYElkKiller

      You are an imbecile

      July 4, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sheva

      So, Kris, are you holding up theft as a virture to teach your beautiful child? You're correct that on the surface religious values seem impotent – I just wonder what you would replace them with. If your brag about stealing from a collection plate is any indicator, I wonder if you truly have any better idea than the religious principles you seem so quick to criticize. Not trying to be critical – just wondering what you would offer than is any better.

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

      Your child has cancer.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. George in PA

    While this sounds like an enormous treasure, it helps define the size of the trillion dollar annual deficit in the USA. We overspend the amount of this treasure every three to four days!

    July 4, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. NickB5

    It looks like a very beautiful Temple. I hope no harm comes to it.

    July 4, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sumedha Dharmawardhane

    That's a new Tata Nano for every citizen of the state. Woohoo!

    July 4, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bob from SC

    The more recent reports now put it at $20 BILLION (USD) and counting. One room has NOT even been opened yet. Value at this point is based on the weight of the gold, diamonds, etc. Add "historical" value or "art" considerations for sculpture, and I would think that $100 bn is not out of the question.

    They are saying the $20 bn mark already exceeds the ENTIRE education budget for ALL of India!!

    July 4, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • J

      Probaby america as well

      July 4, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sumedha Dharmawardhane

    Wait. Don't auction all that crap off at once, you'll get more for it...

    July 4, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Riyaz Hoosain

    God has transferred the bail out money meant for Greece to the Kerala temple by mistake.

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

      hahaa.. May be Greece sud look for money under their church and museums . they might find fortunes:)

      July 4, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff Frank ( R-Ohio)

    India poor? Not any more...The find $11,000,000,000 divided by the 2011 population estimate of 1,189,172,906 people, means that every living man, woman, and child in India have a $9.25 credit comming from their government. Eat your heart out Barrack. 😉

    July 4, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roman

      lol

      July 4, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shivaan Rajamoorthy

      Have you ever been to India? I grew up there, and every Sunday beggars would come to our house and ask for money. The Indian government is so corrupt, there is no such thing as a middle class there. It is either you are filthy rich or very poor. All the money is black money, people hide it with neighbors or family members, and not at the bank since it is illegal. Maybe before you write crap, you should research or actually have a freaking idea on what you are writing about.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Abhijit Ray

      @Shivaan Rajamoorthy – I am a middle class Indian. What you said is not entirely true. Yes there are places in India you will see what ypu described but majority of India is doing very differently. In fact it does have a sizable middle class.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Truth3

      @Shivaan Rajamoorthy – seems u haven't seen India for years. What did you give back to the country? There are corrupt people out their ,but dont generalize it as all politicians are corrupt. You got educated from India and you didnt stay back or tried to be a true politician. There are lot of things happening back in India and we need to start supporting the good causes and help in rebuilding the country to the stage were it was years back. There should be something which we need and has to be learned from Europeans... patience.. they can wait in a queue for their turn with patience, they can wait in a signal with patience... they can wait for a layman to cross the road with patience without honking... this you will do it in US ... do you back in India.. India is back to track after two centuries and we need to support it. India is a great country which holds many values and never want to disturb the harmony with other countries even when they were rich. So support for the good causes ... atleast stop blaming ...

      July 4, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. scorpio

    Great Britain must be sad today. They missed it...thank god, it was not discovered at that time. Those beggars wud have taken all of it.

    July 4, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kris

      Who cares, They've looted 99 other rich temples & cities of India and missed only one.

      July 4, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • srikanth

      Excellent post!
      The Colonial empire must be clenching their fists!
      Actually, they along with some mughal(muslim) rulers looted India. In 1900, the yearly net income of the East India Company was around 1 Billion Pounds (adjusted to today's terms). They ruled us like this for over 200 years! This is the reason, they would call India, "The Jewel in the British Empire".
      After looting us for 2 centuries, today when India asks for aid, they are parties in the WEST, which say "why should we give aid?". As if, the money and the riches they posses today are all entirely, their ancestral wealth. 🙂

      July 4, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. kc_and_fa

    I'd really like to know how this 'temple' amassed all these fortunes.

    July 4, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sujay

      I am a person who grew up in India, to be precise in the city where this treasure was found and 2 miles away from the temple. The temple is around 500 years old and has been taken care by the Kings' family, continuing even now. I am so glad that the treasure was found now. These were offerings to the Lord and these were preserved in these vaults by the rulers who feared loots by foreigners, which ended just 64 years back when India got Independence. Good job in keeping at least this treasure intact until now. A huge percentage of India's wealth would be already in other countries who were smarter in those old days.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. OU812IC

    It just adds to Indias wealth/gold
    China and India hold 2 of the worlds largest gold reserves right now and buying up more all the time. They both just bought many tons of gold to add to their coffers. They are doing the right thing as they are preparing for the U.S. to not be the worlds reserve currency and preparing when the world goes back to the gold standard

    July 4, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
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