$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. Padmakumar Rao

    The Last ruling king of Trivandrum and servant of Padmanabha­swamy; (1946-1991­): Major-Gene­ral His Highness Sri Patmanabha Dasa Vanchipala Sir Bala Rama Varma III, Kulasekhar­a Kiritapati Manney Sultan Maharaja Raja Ramaraja Bahadur, Shamsher Jang, Maharaja of Travancore­, GCSI, GCIE (Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire)
    http://en.­wikipedia.­org/wiki/C­hithira_Th­irunal, was responsibl­e for the "temple entry proclamati­on"

    July 4, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tim

    After a lot of searching through google I stand by what I posted earlier.

    July 4, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. sami choudry

    wealth stolen from poor is now Holy. Holy B.S I say. And state is going to protect it cause they will get their % share.

    July 4, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. tenorlord

    It's mine. Sorry, didn't mean to leave it lying about. I'll just nip around and pick it up.

    July 4, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. 12-21-12


    Billions buried, while millions of Indians starve!!


    July 4, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pras

      True, it's universal, not just in India.

      July 4, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. test

    what is more important is that the king had audited it and knew the value of this all along. They led a very simple life compared to other kings of india. They hid this wealth from the british. That is why the people of the state respect them a lot.

    July 4, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. tim

    Hindu is actually considered the oldest known religion, it believes in a creator an afterlife(reincarnation). How is that not a religion? Study about the caste system and infanticide before calling hinduism selfless.

    July 4, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dexter73

      Atheism is also a branch of Hinduism. Logic and rational thought process ( tharka shastra) is an important aspect in Hinduism. India was probably one of the few countries which welcomed the Jews since hinduism believes that all paths lead to the same truth. Many gods ( avataras) that hindus revere like Krishna, Rama and Shiva belong to lower casts. The golden philosophy of Hinduism is stared as: Aham Brahmasmi I.e., I am God.

      July 4, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jeff m.


    July 4, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. L9

    India,India will you relieve your ancient mysteries to me.....- John Lennon Demo song written With Beatles in India .

    July 4, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. NorthbyNorthWest

    I love INDIA 🙂 ! Congrats guys and gals over there! What a wonderful cultural and religious treasure. I hope it is treated to showings in museums giving people jobs, drawing tourists!

    Despite the high numbers of poor that people keep bringing... India has one of the most rapidly expanding middle classes, they are hard workers and the vast majority are simply wonderful people... if you really want to talk about corruption throw a dart at the world map... if you hit land I'll find you a corrupt politician.

    July 4, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ya

    bedbugs...oughh...it may be a lot of bedbugs scrambling around too!

    July 4, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. just a thought

    I wonder if one were to say,"sesame" if it wold really work?

    July 4, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. John Lennon

    Imagine No Possesions

    July 4, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. banasy

    @just a thought:

    Worth a try!
    But don't you have to say "open" first?

    July 4, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jaime

    viva! india

    July 4, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
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