$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. Shakilz

    This money could come to good use for the people of India. India claims it wants to be part of the Global Economy but treats its owns citizens like garbage. A country with so much wealth but very little for its citizens. All of this belongs to the people of India–not the corrupt regime of India and certainly not some royal family.

    July 4, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. brandon

    I was wondering where I left my wallet!

    July 4, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kiki The Monkey

      Well, looks like there will be a real life basis for some director to make a crime film called "The Indian Job" soon.

      July 4, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. zake173

    I disagree on that.I believe that the that the people should work for themselves and that the government should not intervene.And $22 would not end poverty...it would just waste money.Even if the poor people were given large amounts they would not know how to invest, for if they would know how to invest they would not be in poverty.

    July 4, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Awesome

    Why are there 17 pages of hate,racism, religious hatred. When do we ever learn that we are one race, i.e. the human race. All the other differences are perceived differences. Are we as human being going to mature up??

    Lets not post anything negative.

    July 4, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • 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 4, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • veda

      great lines, u r awesome.

      July 4, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sree

    The wealth of Sri Padmanabha Swami Kshethram is the lord himself. Economic glitters are for the feeble minded. It was guarded intact by sincere souls and should remain that way.

    July 4, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. malmn

    Wow. I was just there last year. I wish I had found that booty.

    July 4, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Orion

    Please read this about the treasure. I'm originally from this place. so true:


    July 4, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John Davidson

    I have never seen such a consortium of such laughably and pathetically ignorant comments. I feel sorry for you stupid people; you'll never know you're stupid, and you'll continue to believe the inferior thoughts that flow through your brains. It takes a considerable level of intelligence in order to determine one's intellect and since stupid people do not have that level of intelligence, they cannot determine anyone's level of intellect, including and especially their own. As someone born and raised in the U.S. who has traveled the world extensively, I've never seen a more pitiable population than Americans. They take their freedom in particular and numerous other luxuries they live with on a daily basis all for granted and subsequently have the audacity to make comments which their statements prove they indubitably know nothing about. It's this same reason why they also tend to make such ignorant comments on sites such as these; they're subliminal inferior complex makes them inclined to in order to feel better about themselves, believing that their "wealth of knowledge" in teaching others their fascinating "facts" will do something to further progress their self-esteem. And by the way, anyone who knows basic world history knows that we would be decades if not centuries behind if it weren't for India; they were doing what the Greeks did millennium before the Greeks ever thought of it (along with countless other ancient groups), including sophisticated mathematics that most of these dumb Americans couldn't do in a dozen lifetimes. Keep bumbling your comments on sites though; I understand it makes ignorant, unsuccessful, (usually) ugly people with low self-esteem feel better.

    July 4, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      I totally agree..

      July 4, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      John.. the comment I sent was for you.. (I agree with what you said).. Not that idiot Drew who is probably a high school drop out and doesn't know Iran from Iraq on the world map

      July 4, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • keshava

      Okay Mr Smarty pants ... If India is so gr8 and the USA so un gr8 .... what has India given to history thought and understanding. Did they create penicillin? ... Did they create the scientific method ... thermal dynamics, Chemistry, calculus, algebra, E=Mc2, gravity and mass, radios and radars, the TV, The cell phone, airplanes, Jet engines, computers, GPS. women's rights, equal rights, human rights,

      The only thing India ever gave the world was the caste system and slavery.

      July 4, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bearscot

      Nice rant John Davidson. Projecting a bit are we?

      July 4, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kumar

      Mr "Keshava"

      Without the number system, all your above mentioned inventions would be worthless.

      Albert Einstein said: We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.

      July 4, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Victor

      Kumar – Your argument is as poor as the curry-eating nation you hail from.

      July 4, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kumar

      Not long before the US becomes a poor Burger eating nation. Oh sorry i forgot to mention the fries and coke.

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

      @keshava Start with the invention of the zero and negative numbers. Indian mathematicians were calculating pi , square roots, and trigonometry long before any other culture. Our linguistics and phonetic systems come almost directly from the early Sanskritists (My first Masters was in Sanskrit.) The conventions used in almost ALL of our early plays from Sophocles to Shakespearre come from the much earlier Indian literature. Read Kalidasa to see what I am referring to. Having lived in India for two years, and having studied their history, culture, language, and people for over a decade, I can't attest that their contributions are much greater than you could possibly imagine. John is quite right.

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

      by the way the jet engine was made by the germans and the british 🙂

      July 28, 2011 at 5:37 am | Report abuse |
  9. Ron

    What a beautiful temple! It would be a wonder to see up close. Sad to see that the gifts left for the temples deities, are thought of in merely monetary terms today. They should stay in their temple. But it is also too bad that these religious artifacts are unlikely to be displayed. They must surely be a wonder to behold.

    July 4, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. punjab

    Give the money to the people so they may squander it!

    July 4, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. prakash

    i think dont involved politics just give it some poor people in street and some child who not get education

    July 4, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. deep


    July 4, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. PhilG.

    I believe that property belongs to the people that this temple belongs too-i.e. it's worshippers and those who maintain it..

    Not the government there.

    Sounds like the loyal givings of generations of followers.

    Hands off their loyalty,government.

    July 4, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Kevin

    Thank you for letting us know where we can happen upon 11b in stuff!

    July 4, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. soondog

    Why won't some of that money come back to the US government after all the billions we have given them over the years? You find some extra dough lying around the house, you pay back some bills with it. Or at least some better training in English to all those tech support people?

    July 4, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      America was giving money to India? Dude, read a newspaper. Obama was just there begging for our business. You are thinking of Pakistan. Sorry, it takes an elementary school education to know the difference. How about getting some online classes from an Indian HS student in English?

      July 4, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
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