$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. tilmeismoney

    Now every thief in the world knows about it , it won't be ther for long. You can kiss it good bye.

    July 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tommy from Sandlot

      Kiss it goodbye

      July 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • ME

      The Indian government.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Redbeard

    Seriously, before the cow walks the plank, gimme me booty! (Can it swim, or should I fit it with a lifejacket jic?)

    July 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Stikky

    wow. Looks like we gonna have to start answering their telephones.

    July 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bob from Pittsburgh

    The indian goverment should protect the site at all cost. last time someting like that found was in Peru Hiram Birham found MachuPichu and together with the University of Yale stole all the gold and valuables, Today the University of Yale refuses to return what belongs to Peruvians..

    July 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duchess

      Not entirely accurate. While Yale had refused to return the artifacts to Peru for many years, I believe they reached an agreement sometime in late-2010. In March 2011, the first batch of 350 artifacts were returned to Peru and I believe the remaining items will be returned over the next year or so.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • jended

      The Duchess is correct. Yale has reluctantly begun to return the stolen Machu Pichu artifacts to the Peruvian government.


      July 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duchess

      I would also add that, while doubtless priceless to the Peruvian people, the artifacts were primarily bones, pottery, etc. I don't think gold is at issue here.

      July 5, 2011 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. montyross

    as soon as the war is over the price of gold will return to prewar prices@ 330 oz, why do you think every one is trying to compel the masses to buy gold, buy low sell high.

    July 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kelly

    That temple looks beautiful. What wonderful carvings. I hope that gold will be used to help the poor.

    July 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Scrooge McDuck

    Launchpad, ready the helicopter!

    July 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Africa

    There are plenty of hidden treasures/ temples of gold in the content of Africa; Once upon a time Africans ruled the entire planet, we had more money than one could imagine, but then the war started somewhere in the 1500’s and a lot of our treasure was stolen, Africans started hiding their treasures, built the pyramids, to avoid our content from being totally robbed; Then slavery came about and rob Africa of trillions of dollars, However there are plenty more treasures yet to be discovered in Africa, worth trillions, once Obama gets reelected Africans will feel more comfortable revealing some of the secrets.

    July 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • jameswest

      this article here is about India .I understand the african thing but it kind of sound out of sync with here.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dom

      You clearly are an illiterate conspiracty theorist who has never read a history book or comprehended a calendar. Sorry, had to be said.

      July 4, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gilganuggah

      Ruled the entire planet huh?!? Let me guess this was with the aid of the ancient aliens!!!!!

      July 4, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joseph Muga Omera

    haha! Nìce! Now gve it to the poor

    July 4, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Christopher R. Walkins Jr. II

    oh Great... hurry lets find WMD or some excuse.. lets get it!!! time to attack India... they are terrorists right? oh wait they are not Islamic ... ah wait but they have a muslim population of several million therefore they are harboring terrorists.. LETS ROLL get that gold!!!!!

    July 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob Van Der Holtcamp

      India has muslims in their population numbering in the millions = terrorists living freely among the general populace = India is terror state... lets attack them and get the gold and bail out the banks, CIO's once again maybe 2nd time a charm?

      July 4, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Karon

    They should use some of that wealth to clean up their nasty slums.

    July 4, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ihatewalmart

    The tradition in india in small towns rely on getting baptised by urine under a cow! This religion has had no faith in the god or gods of hinduism. I do believe this indian cult had perished and stole and pigridged for years due to an army of gurus. If we go to war over there 30 billion treasury america will be owned by india. Any comments? NO racist comments please as this is about money and not about race

    July 4, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. rand

    Think they'll give just SOME of it to the poor people of India?

    July 4, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MrsMarissa237

    Dad is this why you loved India so much?!!! Gosh I may go to India to see myself, the Taj Mahal, etc, he wished he never came back, its true.

    July 4, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MrsMarissa237

    Happy Birthday Dad, & me, its my birthday too, treasure, temples, nice caring peaceful sustaining people, thank you so much, I will pass it on to my son

    July 4, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
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