$22 Billion found in Indian Temple

LP

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In Southern India a story that sounds like the plot line of a Hollywood adventure is unfolding. Over the past week, on orders from the country's Supreme Court, a panel has found a treasure estimated to be worth $22 billion in the underground vaults of a Hindu temple in Trivandrum, India.

The AP reports:

Inside the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, investigators were counting the staggering hoard of gold coins and statues of gods and goddesses studded with diamonds and other precious stones. Outside, small groups of armed policemen patrolled the temple grounds in the heart of the Kerala state capital, Trivandrum.

Metal detectors were hurriedly installed at temple entrances after six days of searches revealed a treasure trove of artifacts, statues and temple ornaments made of gold and embellished with jewels.

The valuables were donated to the temple by devotees over hundreds of years, and India's erstwhile royal family has been the custodian of the treasures.
The vaults had not been opened in about 150 years and the treasure spans some 500 years. India's Supreme Court ordered that the vaults of the temple be inventoried after a man filed a suit that worried about how the trust was caring for the riches.

In some ways, that's where the story gets interesting. With the find, India is in the middle of a heated discussion about what rights to afford former royalty and what should happen to riches like these that include historic pieces destined for museums. The Christian Science Monitor offers a condensed family history:

The temple is controlled by descendants of the royal family of Travancore, the former princely state of the region. It is believed the former rulers donated much of their wealth to the temple, where it lay in safe keeping for decades. Offerings by the many worshippers making pit stops there along the global trade routes probably also contributed to the treasure.

It was no stumbled-upon find, however. While the vaults have been kept under lock and key for around 150 years, the wealth has been on the public record.
Still, $22 billion (yes, billion with a "B") is a lot of money. We wondered why it wasn't put to use. The Hindu newspaper reports that the royal family ruled Travancore as "padmanabha dasasas," which means they were servants of the temple's deity. The BBC explains a bit better in between some legal history:

The Supreme Court stayed 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.

The members of the Travancore royal family entrusted their wealth to the temple because they consider themselves to be servants of its presiding deity. The deity, Padmanabhaswamy, is considered by devotees to be an aspect of the Hindu God Vishnu in eternal sleep.

But there was a public outcry when the Maharajah attempted to retain control of the temple by citing a special law, with many arguing that the wealth belonged to the people now.
The panel appointed by the Supreme Court has opened five of the six vaults. The panel managed to open the sixth vault but found an iron wall inside it, reports the BBC. As if the story couldn't get any weirder, The Hindustan Times reports the sixth vault has a snake on the front door and quoting an unnamed royal family source, it reports that opening it "might be a bad omen."

The Guardian reports that the sixth vault has "special locks" but experts should be able to examine them and open it by Friday. The Guardian also reports that the inventory is being conducted under the watch of police, but no pictures or video of the vaults will be taken or released because it "is strictly prohibited" within a "sacred space."

Update at 9:30 a.m. ET, July 6: "India's Supreme Court Takes Steps To Protect $22 Billion Treasure."

Update at 2:43 p.m. ET. On The Value Of The Treasure:

As we said, $22 billion is an almost unimaginable number. But that is likely a conservative estimate. The Hindu reports that the panel is simple counting and weighing the valuables. "Their value, including antique value, is not being assessed," The Hindu reports.
 

Alok

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Nuts, I used to live within walking distance from that temple for the better part of my teenage years and been there a few times. It is not at all surprising that they just found it though. Hindu temples often have chambers with deity figurines that are opened really rarely, especially on holy occasions. I can imagine a massive shitstorm of politics coming in when they try to figure out what to do with the money.
 

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The money should be where it is presently... for the temple. Fuck royalty fuck politics and government. The royals donated all that to the temples, so hencethereforthalas it belongs to the temple.

I'm sure the rest of the big temples in India have huge amounts of gold and jewels stashed away. Tirupati was the richest temple in the world, and still is the most frequented temple, but I think the anantha padmanabaswamy temple here might be much much richer.
 

thevictor390

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I agree, but it's still important to know roughly what's in there, now that it's public it's a huge theft risk (or would seem to be).
 

Cowboy

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I don't mean to offend anybody but seeing as India has plenty of poverty problems, shoulden't atleast part of the 22 billion be used to help people in need instead of keeping it in the temple? Seems like a no brainer.
 

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I don't mean to offend anybody but seeing as India has plenty of poverty problems, shoulden't atleast part of the 22 billion be used to help people in need instead of keeping it in the temple? Seems like a no brainer.
Isn't that a slightly...socialist outlook? Surely you aren't advocating confiscation of private property. Let them do with it what they may.
 

Cowboy

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Isn't that a slightly...socialist outlook? Surely you aren't advocating confiscation of private property. Let them do with it what they may.
I quess it is somewhat although I wasen't thinking about confiscating it, (for Gods sake keep a government away from everything that involves huge amounts of money) more like the temples helping out communities around them, like most religional institutes (claim) to do.

Just seems weird for a religious 'anything' to keep sitting on a pile of money (be it in gold and treasure) in this day and age in a region that could realy use the help, besides, even if they spend half they would still be rather wealty woulden't they?

Even the worlds richest Nerd donates to charity remember.....
 
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RaptorJesus

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Luckily enough Kerala has a socialist government. But 22 billion is a drop in the bucket for the poverty in india. There are probably 600 million people living in poverty in India if not more, so you could give each of them 40 bucks and run your way through the money.

What should be done is the temple should own all of the pieces, with some being displayed in INDIAN museums. Half of our national treasures decorate British museums and if I had my way India would carpet bomb the UK and claim back every piece of stolen heritage.
 

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What should be done is the temple should own all of the pieces, with some being displayed in INDIAN museums. Half of our national treasures decorate British museums and if I had my way India would carpet bomb the UK and claim back every piece of stolen heritage.
Just make sure not to damage any of the Egyptian, Greek, or Chinese artifacts on your way out.
 

Cowboy

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if I had my way India would carpet bomb the UK and claim back every piece of stolen heritage.
There are people on here who will be willing to help you with that I think.....

That said, I haden't realised things were bad on that scale, I keep forgetting India is so crowded.
So my plan is indeed a dud.
 

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Since it has never been on the market, I do not think it should be assessed with a monetary figure, nor should it ever.

How would it influence Karma, should be the question.
 

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I quess it is somewhat although I wasen't thinking about confiscating it, (for Gods sake keep a government away from everything that involves huge amounts of money) more like the temples helping out communities around them, like most religional institutes (claim) to do.

Just seems weird for a religious 'anything' to keep sitting on a pile of money (be it in gold and treasure) in this day and age in a region that could realy use the help, besides, even if they spend half they would still be rather wealty woulden't they?

Even the worlds richest Nerd donates to charity remember.....
In referring to the temple I mentioned previously (Tirupati), quite a lot of poor people save up money for months to afford the bus ride for their families to the temple. As they continue on in their pilgrimage up the 9 km of steps to the temple, passing by all the rich fuddy duddies in their cars chanting mantras and all that, they know they aren't forgotten. The temple caters to all pilgrims that make the climb. They get free lodging and food during their stay there. That's correct. Free lodging and food. And this is in a temple that is frequented by 50,000 - 100,000 people DAILY. The temple supports all and anyone that is in dire need of food or shelter is welcome. There's not much more that temples can do. They need to maintain everything, obtain provisions, provide for the priests, etc etc.

Luckily enough Kerala has a socialist government. But 22 billion is a drop in the bucket for the poverty in india. There are probably 600 million people living in poverty in India if not more, so you could give each of them 40 bucks and run your way through the money.
This. There's a lot of things we can do to help the poor, but the main thing that needs to be done is to wipe the corrupt government clean. Fucking police and other officials taking bribes and shit. The bureaucrats are nothing but hopeless wasteful sacks of shit (not all of them mind you of course... we have some family members that did great work in the government... but quite a few... enough to really crush hopes and dreams). The best thing that we can do and in fact my family is attempting to do is to create schools. We're planning on creating a school for the extremely poor. They will receive free education that is comparable and competitive enough to give them a great chance of getting into the best universities. The family must provide proof of their destitution. Any families that are well-to-do and wish to provide money or bribes in order to enroll their child will be rejected. The plan is in the works atm, we're speaking with a bunch of people in our neighborhood that we know are willing to do this in the name of my late uncle and if we get some funds going and a plot of land to start working, then we can get this in motion. I can't wait.

What should be done is the temple should own all of the pieces, with some being displayed in INDIAN museums. Half of our national treasures decorate British museums and if I had my way India would carpet bomb the UK and claim back every piece of stolen heritage.
FUCK.... YES. BHARATHA FUCK YEAAA.

Bharath and Bharathaa are names for India

Just make sure not to damage any of the Egyptian, Greek, or Chinese artifacts on your way out.
We could form a coalition of the willing to lynch those fuckers.
I'm in for the Greek stuff :lol:. Maybe BlaRo and Labcoatguy are in for the Chinese stuff.
Dibs on any Native American artifacts we find.
I love you guys. No homo.


Since it has never been on the market, I do not think it should be assessed with a monetary figure, nor should it ever.

How would it influence Karma, should be the question.
This, honestly. The jewels and gold and all that are devotional donations by royalty and others. They are not meant to be melted down or converted into anything.

As for Karma... ask Buddha... Vishnu is currently on break and will be back in his office on Thursday.
 
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RaptorJesus

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FUCK.... YES. BHARATHA FUCK YEAAA.
Bharat Mata ki Jai.

I love America to death, and will never really be Indian as I wasn't born there. BUT my family has many IA and IAF officers that have served and lost their lives in the Indo-Pak wars of 65 and 71, so their is a strong vein of nationalism that runs through my veins.
 

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That's awesome just to stumble upon it like that, if I was walking along in the basement and suddenly found 22 billion, I'd do a dance.


Obviously that belongs in a museum.
 
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