$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. em

    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.

    July 5, 2011 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  2. BCUSF

    So this is what the Temple has been doing with donations, they been buying gold, diamonds etc.. and put it in a vault and then continue to tell the worshipers that they need more money...... hmmm interesting...

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

      No, the Kings of Travancore have been keeping the money and treasures safe from the erstwhile British and Muslim invaders like Tipu Sultan by burying them in this temple.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
    • hindu

      No. This treasure is six enturies old donated by the local king..

      What people don't remember is that there is used be atleast fufty temples in India like that..but muslim invaders and britishers looted all that bcz that treasure was in plain sight..

      ANybody know koh-e-noordiamond, the one in hte possession of the world's biggest looter..british queen,,

      July 5, 2011 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
    • sree

      i think it would be nice to get more details before giving a comment. take it in a positive sense.

      July 5, 2011 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      That strikes me as a an ignorant statement BCU, maybe you must have been drawing from your own personal experience with American televangelists; this is an old temple, please educate yourself next time.

      July 5, 2011 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  3. Liz

    I don't know much about India but I just read an article that a man that owns a company donated $5,ooo to a village and now the village has a couple of wells of water vs. how they use to walk miles and miles to get water. Now it may not be enough to wipe out poverty but it would be a start to help get the kids of the streets.

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

      These treasures have enormous antique value and will be preserved in their original condition. A Museum will be built around the exhibits that will bring in tremendous tourism revenue and the gold bricks and blocks can be put in a bank trust to earn interest that could be used for philanthropic activities.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
    • gopi

      India has a wide spectrum in every aspect, wether in terms of richness, culture, reces , religious belief.

      July 5, 2011 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Mub

      Yes, it will be preserved and the poor in India will keep dying of hunger. Shame ..... 🙁

      July 5, 2011 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
    • RVR

      Well said ! Any time real treasure for any country are the People and Leadership. No matter what how many such treasures come out.....if people and leadership doesn't have right Ethics & Morals .....identified money will never be spent for the social causes.... Thanks RVR

      July 5, 2011 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. America

    it will soon be ours 😉

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

      no america, just no

      July 5, 2011 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
    • india

      also TROLL ALERT

      July 5, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
    • nsk

      didn't u learn yet from your mistakes? still couldn't win-over Iraq properly and thinking of taking on India...joke of this millenium!

      July 5, 2011 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
    • nsk

      hey, by the way, if u need any help to cope up with ur debt ceiling trauma, India may be able to help u...if not China may start selling their bonds and push USA into deeper troubles...

      July 5, 2011 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
    • gopi

      You r LATE,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, British were before you, they looted so many

      July 5, 2011 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      You don't have to worry about your treasure, America has not won a decisive war since Vietnam anyway. You have to wonder how on earth they think they will tackle an Iran or Syria. India is more than safe. India's real threat is internal and Pakistan.

      July 5, 2011 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. Snoop Dog

    POLICE and 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 12:47 am | Report abuse |
    • WorldIsRound

      You have some deep psychological problems with accepting India and its people – you will be at peace if you work on them.

      July 5, 2011 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
    • nsk

      Which part of the world do you live in? Are u in Africa or Antartica, where its difficult to get access to general knowledge and daily news? Grow-up kid. Even though, there is poverty in India, the wealthy population of India is larger than the whole population of the USA (if you take 33% population of India = population of the US). And this 33% population are not immersed in debts like the people of USA where the average debt is more than $8000. hahaha..use some mathematics to cultivate some common sense...good luck buddy

      July 5, 2011 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
    • WorldIsRound

      @nsk, this guy is not American, I believe he is a Paki or Arab supremacist.

      July 5, 2011 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
    • nsk

      @ WorldIsRound, You may be right...Thats why his Math and Engiish sucks! May be he needs to join the call centers in India and learn some English and may be then he can worry about his Math. Anyways, Arab land wont be there for long. Once USA taps into alternative energy, the whole world will pack them to the land of their virgins.

      July 5, 2011 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
    • lord quas

      i agree with snoop dog. the poor outnumber the wealthy and it's the same in the U.S. India is corrupt and so is the U.S. government. Neocon and neoliberal capitalist policies breed inequity

      July 5, 2011 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  6. MrId

    Cue Hollywood movie – "Temple Take-down!!!"

    July 5, 2011 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
    • gopi

      Sorry.. its going to be BOLLYWOOD, strong fights with in- between Songs and Dance

      July 5, 2011 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
  7. osama

    so anyone down to go and rob this temple of all its treasure with me? ill let you keep your head

    July 5, 2011 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  8. nope

    For $11 billion India could build a couple more nuclear bombs.

    July 5, 2011 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
  9. tsmithe

    Don't worry, the IMF and world bankster thieves are in high gear developing a plan or scheme to relieve India of it's wealth like so many other countries.

    July 5, 2011 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
  10. Walto

    ummm...CNN the total wealth estimate (with one vault yer to open) is $22bn not $11Bn. Get your facts right.

    July 5, 2011 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  11. Gerry

    Pffbt, rubies? Gold figurines?? Coconuts??? They should trade it all for something REALLY valuable, like a stake in Facebook.

    July 5, 2011 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
  12. Adan

    Where is G.W Bush...we can wage a fake war and steal all those billions...

    July 5, 2011 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
  13. Dr.Tong

    If the treasure belongs to the temple, then what was the point in revealing it? Now the temple is in jeopardy and, sooner or later, it will be looted. STUPID.

    July 5, 2011 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ajit

    This is the wealth that was kept as reserve money in case of floods and famine by the intelligent maharaja. And that was 150 years ago. It was never plundered by the British, since it were inside the temple. British in fact protected the money, since the majaraja was an aly.

    July 5, 2011 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. Kris

    DON'T WORRY MATES!!! The politicians of India will help themselves to the 11B in the temple so FAST that it'll make it look like there was only $11. There is no hope for that country past 2020 simply because the corruption is so high that'll it make the spin of the earth's axis go faster.

    July 5, 2011 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
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