Skip to comments.Treasure estimated at $10 Billion found in secret vaults in Indian temple
Posted on 07/01/2011 8:54:57 PM PDT by cold start
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The legend of El Dorado was definitely not set on the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple. But the seven-member panel, which is drawing up a list of assets at the famed shrine here, had a feel of the lost city of gold as they set foot in one of the two secret vaults located inside the sprawling granite structure which gives the Kerala capital its name.
On Thursday, the team assisted by personnel from the fire services and archeology department opened the locks of vault A to find a narrow flight of stairs leading down to an underground granite cellar. Oxygen was pumped frequently into the chamber and artificial lighting provided to enable the observers to work inside.
What they saw inside was startling, sources said. Gold coins dating back thousands of years, gold necklaces as long as nine feet and weighing about 2.5 kg, about one tonne of the yellow metal in the shape of rice trinkets, sticks made of the yellow metal, sack full of diamonds, gold ropes, thousands of pieces of antique jewellery studded with diamonds and emeralds, crowns and other precious stones lay scattered in the chamber marked 'A'.
Friday threw up far more surprises in the form of 17 kg of gold coins dating back to the East India Company period, 18 coins from Napolean's era, precious stones wrapped in silk bundles besides over 1,000 kg of gold in the form of coins and trinkets and a small elephant made of the yellow metal, sources said.
There were also sovereigns bearing the 1772 seal indicating they were from the reign of the then native king Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma. There are a total of six vaults marked A to F in the shrine. The A and B cellars have never opened since 1872.
Reports said the value of the recoveries so far from vault A alone may exceed over Rs 50,000 crore. This doesn't take into account their antique value. With chamber B, yet to be opened, speculation was rife that the shrine would pip Tirupati Balaji, who too has been assessed at a little more than Rs 50,000 crore to a distant second. No official confirmation has been forthcoming on the value of the recoveries.
Retired Kerala high court judges Justice M N Krishnan and Justice C S Rajan appointed observers by the Supreme Court said, ''It's difficult to give an exact date about when the stock-taking would be completed. The B and E vaults remain to be opened. We think it may take another week.''
Asked about the value of the assets, Justice Krishnan said the committee was drawing up the inventory of items and were not determining their price. The panel had set out on the job on June 27 and opened three vaults marked C, D and F till Wednesday. Assets found in these chambers were estimated to be worth over Rs 1,000 crore.
The wealth discovery has raised questions on the shrine's security. As of now, the internal security is managed by the temple employees, but this may be inadequate in the light of the events.
GOD'S OWN BOOTY
* Gold coins dating back thousands of years, gold necklaces as long as 9 feet and weighing 2.5 kg; one tonne of gold in the shape of rice trinkets; sticks made of gold, sack full of diamonds, gold ropes and thousands of pieces of jewellery studded with diamonds and emeralds
* 17 kg of gold coins dating back to the East India Company period; 18 coins from Napolean's era, precious stones wrapped in silk bundles besides over 1,000 kg of gold in form of coins and trinkets and a small elephant made of gold
* The value of recoveries from vault A alone may exceed over Rs 50,000 cr. With chamber B yet to be opened, speculation is rife the shrine would pip Tirupati Balaji's assets, which too has been assessed at over Rs 50,000 crore
4.5 crore = $1 million
50,000 crores = $10.1 billion
The Supreme Court also endorsed a ruling by the high court in Kerala, which ordered the state government to take over the temple and its assets from the royal trust. It also ordered the trust to hand over responsibility for the temple's security to the police.
I’ve read the value at being $500M. It gets to a point where you can value something.
Interesting gold find in India.
That should just about cover Obama’s vacation costs. Too bad it in India.
where do I send my claim form??
Think that was an early estimate. Another vault has subsequently been opened on friday & the $10 billion figure is what is now being widely reported. In any case, such instant valuations need to be taken with more than a pinch of salt. However the amount of gold found there does indicate a substantial value to the findings.
Heraldo is SO pissed!
Local rumors indicate sightings of an anglican wearing dusty clothes, wide-brim hat, and a bullwhip being pusued by Nazis.
Eat your heart out, King Tut.
Amazing that a stash like this exists where families live on a certain piece of sidewalk, and a sacred cow can walk into your house and eat what little food you have....
And yet generations and generations of Indians have lived in squalor.
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You are right on! The Kohinoor diamond, the Blue diamond, and many other world famous diamonds have origins in Indian mines, and now reside in British hands. Going back a few years, India was the only country with diamond mines. No wonder Columbus was looking for India!
It is amazing that this hoard was put away - as recently as the 19th century - and then forgotten. One would have expected people to know of it.
Here’s a link to a discovery of antique firearms that ended up in some palace in Nepal. Some American was travelling and heard rumors of it. He finally asked the right people and they went to go have a look. The entire palace was used for storage - it was filled with firearms (never used Gatling guns, etc.). It took him 30 years to buy them and get them out.
Temple of boom in Thiruvananthapuram: Rs 1 lakh crore and counting ($20 billion +)
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Call it the mother of all treasure hunts. The stock-taking by a panel of experts at the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple has catapulted the shrine located in Thiruvananthapuram to the country’s richest, with reports claiming that the value of recoveries may have touched close to Rs 1 lakh crore, more than Kerala public debt of Rs 70,969 crore.
With one more “secret” vault yet to be opened, the figure in all likelihood will go up further. But sources said the figures could only be speculation as it wasn’t possible to determine the antique value of the precious gems and jewellery. “These are antique pieces and it’s not possible to determine their prices,” said historian and former director of Indian Council of Historical Research M G S Narayanan. In other words, the worth of the treasure could be intimidatingly higher.
The Supreme Court-appointed committee on Sunday refused to confirm reports about the value of the recoveries, saying that its mandate is limited to making an inventory of the assets.
Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy said the treasure would remain with the temple. “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,” Chandy told reporters on Sunday.
Chandy said the police would patrol the shrine 24X7 and a control room had already started functioning. “Permanent security arrangements will be put in place only after consultations with the chief priest of the temple and the Travancore king who is the caretaker of the shrine,” the CM said.
A source said the seven-member panel was stunned by what it found in the secret vault marked `A’ during its inspection on Thursday. There were close to 1,000 kg of gold coins, some of these from the East India Company era and Napolean’s period, about one tonne of gold in the form of rice trinkets, sack full of diamonds said to be from Burma and Sri Lanka, a rope made of gold and thousands of pieces of rare ‘sarappoli’ necklaces.
The stock-taking continued next day as only 30% of the assets could be counted on Thursday. Again there were surprises in the form of a three-and-a-half feet tall idol of Lord Vishnu studded with diamonds, emeralds and rubies, an 18-feet-long ornament used to adorn the deity and weighing 35 kg and 1 feet tall human figurines weighing 1 kg each. There were coins marked 1772 indicating they were from the era of former Travancore ruler Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma better known as `Dharma Raja’ for his strict adherence to the rules of ‘dharma’.
Entry was strictly forbidden for the media and public to the site. There are six vaults marked A to F in the shrine. The A and B cellars have never been opened after 1872. The panel had set out on the job on June 27 and opened three vaults marked C, D and F till Wednesday.
The observers, retired Kerala high court judge Justice M N Krishnan and Justice C S Rajan, said it was difficult give an exact date when the stock-taking would be completed. The B and E vaults remain to be opened.
Narayanan said there were specific documents called ‘Mathilakam records’ which speak about the history of the shrine and about how the assets came into it. “The temple has been known since the 9th Century and figures in the writings of that time. Native ruler of Travancore (then pricely state) Marthanda Varma had given away all the wealth to the deity and ruled the kingdom as the Lord’s agent.”
“Travancore was a very prosperous state and with its port facilities, traded in spices, sandalwood and ivory. The foreign currency recovered from the vaults may have come in through the trade route,” he added.