$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. seethapathi


    July 5, 2011 at 6:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. Shawn

    22 billion is not as much as you people make it out to be. The US rakes in over a trillion in taxes alone every year. This find isn't going to catapult India into some new era. In fact, it looks like the find is going to stay half buried, and half embezzled into politician's pockets.

    July 5, 2011 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Amadeus

      Thank God British,French,Dutch,Portugal formr piracy later colonial rulers mighy regret they had missed a fortune that could fil a huge size of north sea convert to land could use this fortune to make proud we are western world and this £9 billion could help to make their budget more rich and order India to beg for devolopment loan from World bank now you realize how these western countries became rich between 16 century and 20th century

      July 5, 2011 at 7:16 am | Report abuse |
    • tokyo joe

      who says religion doesn't pay

      July 5, 2011 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      youre retarted. dont ever compare a nation's spending to this. thats the most absurd comparison ive ever heard. 22 billion isnt that much?

      July 5, 2011 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  3. Common Sense

    Why would you expect an Indian Temple to give up offerings that people made to their God and not expect the same from US churches? Much of this is gold and silver artifacts. Maybe the best way to safe guard the treasure would be to send it on a world tour and send the proceeds to support the poor.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jon

    The question is......What would Mother Teresa or Gandhi do? 100s of millions going hungry in India and a "temple" holds on to $11 billion ? Hmmmmm...

    July 5, 2011 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Name

      Nothing. They're both dead. Try and keep up with the news, please.

      July 5, 2011 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
  5. malmn

    This story is hoax. Guaranteed. Whoever has visited India extensively understands that there are always plenty of these crazy types stories over there and that they always turn out to be BS.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Drakie

      This is so very true dude....

      July 5, 2011 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
    • AHC

      It ain't hoax. The Supreme Court(of India) is monitoring everything.

      July 6, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tommy

    If they want to protect it they should build a museum and put it all in the public domain, then everyone will know exactly what there is in the horde and through this common knowledge it will be difficult for items to go missing in the night. Also the whole country would benefit greatly from the tourism it would produce and I would like to see it as it as there is nothing better to do with it than to admire it.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
  7. tunnel rat

    Now that everyone knows this treasure is there how many tunnels do you think are on the way to it.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
  8. pramod

    What is the point of it all... It might as well have been left buried.

    Now a bunch of crooks, or someone like the British empire will run around trying to steal or loot it...

    I wish it had stayed unnoticed for another 1000 years.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
  9. Matter of survival

    I think US should attack India asap before the likes of Russians or Chinese go there.It would not be difficult for us to go there as all the Indian politicians & Bureaucrats are as corrupt as the Pakistanis and would help us to sneak in easily in exchange for Villa's and and letting there kid's study here in our school's and Universities .We need all the money and oil in the world so we can remain Super Power No-1.

    July 5, 2011 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      Hey A** H***, how about trying to save your economy instead of attacking someone else.

      July 5, 2011 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. BJP

    We just won a jack pot Hooray!

    July 5, 2011 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
  11. Aj

    British empire built less than 5% of rail roads we use today in India, they built those rail roads to transport their loot(Muslim Invader took large bounty though, read history).
    Its like you loot everything from us then you laugh at our apathy.. crazy!!!!!!!!
    Now dont lecture us.

    July 5, 2011 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  12. AgreeToDisagree

    Lets make the Temple Committee the new replacement for the rotten IMF and have it indebt . . . er bail out . . . poor nations. I think India could do no worse than IMF has and this shows that this temple is more viable than IMF itself having more disposable resources. There are 1000s of temples in India btw, don't discount a Brahmin Monetary Fund headed by India's greatest spiritual leaders.

    Who needs the locust style West's IMF and it's Fed Reserve aligned policy makers and plutocrats when we can have a moral and monetarily sound force like the Brahmin's leading the world 's economy? Poor nations indebted to near death by IMF, ready to throw your bad IMF deals back in the face of the IMF with a New Deal from the Brahmin Monetary Fund? India your time to shine has come, with help from the other BRICS nations, use those Kerala Temple funds (representing India's littlelest of efforts) and make a permenant ally out of the PIIGS, the newest ally nations of the BRICS !

    And when the IMF has disbanded, (just like in Indiana Jones) we can have them pluck their beating hearts out of the fallen 'Monetary Rapist' which has tyrannised the developing world for the last century. Lets make a meal of plutocrats, that empire of greed has reigned long enough !

    July 5, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. treasure!!

    The money belongs to the Royal family of travancore kingdom and there is no need of dragging India's poverty in this. India is developing and it does not depend on such treasure for abolishing her poverty.
    i do not understand a thing that whenever something interesting or positive happens in india, why the whole western world start reminding her of her poverty. Nuclear bomb tests, Common wealth games, space program, IT, medicine, economy..industry.. you just achieve something and lo, there is a complete brigade of so called developed nations criticizing her and giving lessons on poverty. Please stay out of this, we do not want you, to decide what should be done with the treasure. Namaste.

    July 5, 2011 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  14. prakash raja

    indians were one of the greatest scientists, doctors, astrologers., etc., even before british and mughal rule, some 2000 yrs ago, our temples had this representation of sun god surrounded by 9 planets (2 being non planets); one of greatest system of medicines with almost zero side effect were the siddha system of medicine; indians invented zero; indians were the master of yoga and have many self realized beings; indians are intellects, mathematically strong and has a fantabulous art and culture. on the other hand western nations have contributed to the world in the recent past – for about 300 yrs or so; whereas india has been a rich source of inspiration from time immemorial and will continue to remain so. at the end of the day its all about sharing – east shares something with west and vice versa. we are all dependent on each other and distant cousins

    July 5, 2011 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      You missed the Indian advances in the metallurgical sciences.

      July 5, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • AHC

      @ Andrew:Look at the Iron Pillar at Sarnath(Called Ashok Stambh – Our Nation Enblem) lies in open Air without ruslting......that's metallurgical advancement. The pillar was erected around 304–232 BC

      July 6, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kevin

    Looks like the British missed something....

    July 5, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
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