Treasure Worth Billions Was Found in Hindu Temple in India

A huge treasure has been found in a Hindu temple in southern India.

The thousands of necklaces, coins and precious stones have been kept in at least five underground vaults at the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple which is renowned for its intricate sculptures. Photo: Ahisgett/Flickr

Indian officials report that a huge treasure has been found in a Hindu temple. It is in southern Kerala state, near the tip of the subcontinent. The temple was dedicated to the god Vishnu, and the foundation of the current tower was laid beginning in 1566. Devotees had been donating to the vaults for hundreds of years.

Among the discoveries was an ancient gold idol of Lord Vishnu studded with precious diamonds and emeralds. Sources said its value could not be assessed due to its antiquity. There were also human figurines made of pure gold, each weighing 1 kg as well as 18-foot-long jewelery weighing 35 kg used to adorn the deity. Bags of coins and precious stones were also found in the chamber marked A.

The AFP news agency quoted Kerala Chief Secretary K. Jayakumar as saying the find had been estimated as worth more than $11 billion. He said archaeologists would examine the discovery in detail to determine its actual value. The AFP reported the treasure was found in at least five underground vaults of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. One more secret chamber will be opened. It has not been opened for nearly 140 years.

The seven-member panel, which is drawing up a list of assets in a Hindu temple, 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 firemen 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.

Since India’s independence from Britain in 1947, the temple has been controlled by a trust managed by descendants of the Travancore royal family.But the Supreme Court recently ordered that the temple be brought under state control. The news of the treasure has prompted a heightened police presence, Kerala director general of police Jacob Punnoose told AFP that a commando force for security was in the planning. [via Hindu Digest, Today MSN, Yahoo! News and The Times of India]

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