$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. Alex

    we should have free Indian food for everyone in the US

    July 4, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. amozi

    How did the English miss this ?

    July 4, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      even after so many theifs robbed and looted ,still there are left overs almost the gold deposits of portugal an greece.
      i wonder what is under that parthenon,may be they should start digging to pay off their debts.

      July 4, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • ottoman

      Because they were pompous arrogant MORONS who were blinded my thier grandiose sense of selfworth. Bunch on cackling uneducated buzzards with bad hygiene if you ask me.

      July 4, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Neal

    Wonder was lies beneath the Vatican!! Anyone?????

    July 4, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joeymom

      They have billions without having to hide any of it. The Vatican Museum is one of the world's greatest.

      July 4, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Timetraveler

      Skeletal remains of $ex abuse victims. And tons of gold.

      July 4, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Audieme

      stuffy decayed carcasses...the same which can be found WITHIN the Vatican

      July 4, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. nirmala

    Long long back I was assisting the elder brother of Sir C.V.Raman, Nobel prize winner for his discovery why the sky is blue. He narrated to me an incident. While he was in the Louvre Museum in Paris looking at the painting of Mona Lisa, An American came along and also looked at the painting from different angles and exclaimed to him: " I don't see anything great about the paining!" He responded to the American: "My dear friend, it is not you who is judging the paining. It is you, who are being judged by your comments." The news item simply mentions about a treasure found in a temple, but see the torrent of reactions! Judgments, advises, flippant remarks, what not! Amusing, to say the least. nirmalasuman@therightviewonline.com

    July 4, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Simon

      99.99% of the people feels the same. They're just too pretentious to say it. Americans are often seen as crass for their naivete and T-shirt and shorts in other countries. I suppose if we all dress like ninja waiters, wear a beret, and contemplate Mona Lisa after studying art history we can all appreciate it properly.

      July 4, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sluggo

    Divide it among the poor in that country. Seriously, why hold on to something not living that can help so many who are suffering to live?

    July 4, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Yes, give it to the poor. all 500,000,000 of them. So everyone gets about $22. It would pretty much end poverty.

      July 4, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      are you suggesting open a walmart or bailout banks and chrysler...i don' t thnk chrysler is in india

      July 4, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Timetraveler

      How about educating them so that they don't each have 19 kids? That would be a good start to ending poverty. Not to mention putting a dent in the world's worst offender of population explosion.

      July 4, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jan

      I agree. This is just too much to be maintained as a religios shrine when your people go hungry, beg and need medical help. Don't distribute it directly, but build clinics and create multiple places where people can shower, grow food in a community farm and have safe deliveries of babies.

      July 4, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Literacy

    Hey "SalSal Gamboni drank the bong water"....if guys like you stop worrying whether Kim Kardashian's butt is real or not and start working.......NOBODY would be able to take the jobs or money away from you.

    July 4, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. tim

    Hindus don't think as we do, to their belief people born in poverty did something in another life to deserve it, they have something to learn so they can reach a higher plain of existence in their next life and it's wrong for anyone to interfere in that lesson.

    July 4, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • wrekk

      Do you realize how silly that sounds? Someone is living in poverty, dieing of hunger or preventable disease, but we shouldn't help them? I've travelled in India and stared into the eyes of those children – to turn away and not try to help is to deny them of their humanity and dignity.

      July 4, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Shailendra

    Lickily these were stashed 150 years ago when the British did not had hold over all of India and south was relatively untouched. Otherwise the treasure would have adorned the British empire instead of being the property of the temple. We should not forget that most of the wealth in England has been amassed from India.

    July 4, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. john

    @JR: )ou must be one of those illiterate persons as it should be can't actually read not can't actual read.

    July 4, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. john

    @JR: You must be one of those illiterate persons as it should be can't actually read not can't actual read.

    July 4, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Literacy

    Hey "SalSal Gamboni drank the bong water"......if people like stop worrying if Kim Kardashian's b**t is real or fake and start working then........NOBODY will be able to take your jobs or money away from you !!

    July 4, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |


    July 4, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Timetraveler

      You mean "a few", not "few". For some reason Indians can't learn this difference. The way your sentence reads it means virtually nobody exploits the poor.

      July 4, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. barko

    dig up the temple and claim the prize USA

    July 4, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Cherry

    Being a Keralite and coming from Thiruvananthapuram I feel unrest somehow on this revelation. This a was a serene temple then. All these years this huge treasure was kept safe. As per the old people in Thiruvananthapuram, this temple was the, then king's special treasury and the took money from it as loan and the savings/treasure were kept safe only to be taken in the time of a great depression in future. The fact that this treasure of centuries were kept safe and hidden from all the invaders including the British, has to be appreciated. Hope this wouldn't end in the hands of corrupt politicians and would not be used by ill minded people. Hope this will be used only for good things or be kept safe as it was always. Well, wondering what would be there in Churches and Muslim's mosques!!

    July 4, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |


    July 4, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
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