The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 14, Number 28, July 10, 2011, Article 20


Nick Graver forwarded this article from The New York Times on the recently announced treasure hoard in India. Thanks! -Editor

A court-ordered search of vaults beneath a south Indian temple has unearthed gold, jewels and statues worth an estimated $22 billion, government officials said Monday.

The treasure trove, at the 16th century Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple, is widely believed to be the largest find of its kind in India, catching officials in the state of Kerala by surprise and forcing the government to send two dozen police officers to the previously unguarded shrine for round-the-clock security.

The discovery has also revived questions about who should manage the wealth, much of which is believed to have been deposited at the temple by the royal family of the princely state of Travancore, which acceded to India when the country became independent in 1947. Some of the vaults under the temple have not been opened for nearly 150 years, temple officials have said.

Temples in India often have rich endowments, mainly from donations of gold and cash by pilgrims and wealthy patrons, but the wealth discovered at Padmanabhaswamy dwarfs the known assets of every other Indian temple.

To read the complete article, see: Beneath a Temple in Southern India, a Treasure Trove of Staggering Riches (

Arthur Shippee forwarded this one. Thanks! -Editor

Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple What should India, rising but still plagued by poverty, do with a newly discovered treasure of gold coins, statues and jewels in the vault of a Hindu temple, valued at some $22 billion?

Suggestions are pouring in from across the country and the world. Some say it should be used to establish universities and colleges. The man who brought the court case that resulted in the unveiling wants it handed over to the Kerala state government. Others want a subway system.

But here in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala formerly known as Trivandrum, many people — including the state’s top elected official, Hindus and the royal family that once ruled this part of India and still oversees the temple — argue that the treasure should remain, largely untouched, at the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple where it has been housed for centuries.

Their attitude partly reflects a suspicion that public officials entrusted with large sums of money will pocket much of it and mismanage the rest.

To read the complete article, see: A $22 Billion Question for India: What to Do With a Treasure? (

The amazing thing about this is that there are still more unexplored vaults yet to be opened. Thanks to David Klinger for sending this article. -Editor

With five vaults uncovered, a team named by the country's Supreme Court to monitor the treasure hunt said the valuables could be worth up to a trillion rupees or $22 billion.

"The size of it is staggering," Chowdhury said. "But the archeological significance perhaps outweighs the monetary value of it."

A sixth vault was to be explored Monday while a seventh vault — reinforced with iron walls — will be opened only under direction from India's top court, Agence France-Presse reported.

Chowdhury said the seventh chamber is likely the oldest in the temple and could contain dazzling artifacts dating back to the 16th century when the temple was constructed.

India's national conservation agency, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), said it was stunned by the findings.

"Right now we are working in absolute darkness and we only know that fabulous treasure is pouring out," ASI Director-General Gautam Sengupta told AFP.

To read the complete article, see: India's $22B treasure trove has great 'archeological significance': expert (

Philip Mernick forwarded this from the BBC. Thanks! -Editor

Temple Security Officials in the Indian state of Kerala are drawing up a security plan for a temple where vast amounts of treasure are reported to have been found.

The Supreme Court wants to know how the riches will be kept safe before a sixth vault is opened, possibly next week.

Five temple vaults have been inventoried but the sixth and last chamber - which has an iron wall and was last opened 136 years ago - is said to contain much more.

"The temple and its treasures are important for us and it's our duty to provide adequate security for them," Kerala Finance Minister KM Mani said.

To read the complete article, see: India: Security plan ordered for treasure temple (

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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