July 5th, 2011
03:13 PM ET

Hoard of treasure uncovered in Indian temple

By Harmeet Shah Singh, CNN

New Delhi (CNN) - Jet-setting spiritual gurus. Gilded temples. Sprawling ashrams. Tons of offerings.

India's religious wealth belies the nation's dire poverty.

An inventory under way of a hoard of jewels, gold, diamonds, gems, antique idols stashed for hundreds of years in a centuries-old Hindu shrine in southern India is generating comparisons with the economic costs of the country's mega programs and foreign investment plans running into billions of dollars.

Under orders of India's Supreme Court, officials since last week have been auditing precious royal offerings kept in underground vaults of the famed Sree Padmnabha Swamy temple in the coastal state of Kerala.

Read the full story about the new focus on India's religious wealth
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Asia • Hinduism • India • Money & Faith

soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Loneli

    I have thoroughly enyejod reading your stories on Belief Net in the past. How about an account of what religion/ spirituality mean to Urban India? (Now that you're here, we'll have a first-hand account at that!:))

    November 8, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  2. peakarach

    Why do most of if not all white people keep saying that Christianity was their religion when in fact it came from the Middle East country?

    July 7, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • DiamondSky

      White Westerners are not even the majority of Christians in the world. They should stop bashing other people's religion(Christianity).

      July 8, 2011 at 4:26 am |
  3. Odessa

    Tom, I don't have time to write a book on religion from scratch here. You are the one who defend pagan religions without any knowledge, only because you hate the exclusive claim of Christianity. Truth is exclusive. I gotta go now. See you again. Praying for you. If you are really a woman, I hope you could have some other name, a female name.

    July 7, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • forum

      every time you point a finger at others.. your other four fingers point back at you.

      July 10, 2011 at 12:38 am |
  4. Odessa

    Christians stole nothing from Hinduism. There is nothing to learn from Hinduism except for the utter futility of paganism. Some fantastic enetertaining imaginations, maybe. Mankind has some common information as God's creation and as the descendants of Adam and Eve and then of Noah. India needs Christianity and needs to free Dalits.

    July 7, 2011 at 9:54 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What is your background, Addled? Have you studied Hinduism? Buddhism? Judaism? What do you actually know about other religions and how did you get your education?

      July 7, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Odessa

      My home countries have Buddhism, other Eastern religions and atheism. Tom, if you don't agree with me, just point that out. I'll try to answer you in my best ability.

      July 7, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Odessa

      Tom, I finished high school and college just like you did. But I could be as old as your mother or grandmother.

      July 7, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Still no answer. You haven't been able to explain anything about other religions in anything but denigrating and dismissive terms. You don't know a thing about them except that they're not what you believe.

      The fact that you live somewhere in which there are Buddhists doesn't mean squat. I live where there are Chinese. That doesn't make me knowledgeable enough about them to pass judgment on their culture.

      And really, don't even imagine you are old enough to be my mother or grandmother, you twit. Age does not =wisdom.

      July 7, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • peakarach

      Don't you know by now that both Christianity and Islam are Arab religions?

      July 7, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • peakarach

      Don't you idiot know by now that both Christianity and Islam are not only evil religions but they are both came directly from the Middle East countries?

      July 7, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • DiamondSky

      @Tom, Another reason Americans cannot keep a few years of marriage is because they belittle elderly people. Aged people have great wisdom on life. @Peakarach, yes, things in the Middle East educated the barbaric Europe, as usual, long ago. So return the favor by providing them the Bibles they need.

      July 8, 2011 at 4:31 am |
  5. Saturn36

    can you even imagin how much wealth muslims and christians systematically have stolen in india for centuries., thank god this was hidden at the temple, otherwise it would have been stolen looted and plundered like all of India by the worsh...ippers of the satanic gods of poverty ...allah and christ .there is a reason why modern history starts with the discovery of the wealth of india..... as it was this wealth that financed european and islamic pseudo devellopment.

    Its time India sends an armada to to the west and to the middle east and steals everything back......with intrest !

    July 7, 2011 at 5:33 am |
  6. Rajat Gupta

    Do Britishers feel bad they dint manage to steal this treasure while they were looting and plundering other parts of India during their 200 years of anarchy and oppression of the country? Perhaps if they could have located, destroyed and plundered this temple the british queen could have adorned her crown with another jewel apart from kohinoor diamond – which was also looted from India

    July 7, 2011 at 2:45 am |
  7. Odessa

    Hindus need Jesus. Even if the entire continent of India is made of gold, only Jesus can save the human souls there. Do we acknowledge the value of treasures? The Bible has the universe-amount of treasures in it and nothing is comparable. Read Proverbs. Treasure of the Planet Earth = the Holy Bible. I won't die to get gold but I can die to get the Bibles.

    July 6, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
    • Rajat Gupta

      Hinduism is much older then Christianity and has survived well to date. There is no difference between Jesus or a Hindu god, if u understand that both faiths are just manifestations of a deeper underlying faith in a supreme power which may live in the hearts of different people in different sizes and shapes ( or without shape). hinduism doesnt need Jesus as Jesus already exists in Hinduism if u understand the essence of it. Open up your mind and you would notice all gods are one.

      July 7, 2011 at 2:41 am |
    • Odessa

      @Rajat, no, the Bible is older than anything including Hinduism thus the Christian faith is older than Hinduism. Jesus is not with Hinduism because the theology of Hinduism is false. Hindus must trust in Jesus ALONE for salvation.

      July 7, 2011 at 9:50 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Don't you ever get tired of being completely wrong, Addled? How can anyone be so ignorant and still earn enough dough to own a computer and a chair to sit in?

      July 7, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "The Bible is older than anything"? Bwah!

      July 7, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • Odessa

      Tom, yes, the Bible covers more than 6,000 years old back, though started to be written 3,500 years ago. Nothing covers such ancient things as the Bible does. And on earth nothing is so original and complicated as the Bible to this very day.

      July 7, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Comedy gold. I love watching Addled make a fool of herself. It's the only thing at which she excels.

      July 7, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • peakarach

      Don't you idiot know by now that both Jesus and Muhammad was born as an Arab?

      July 7, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • peakarach

      lol! How can Christianity (2000 yrs old) is somehow older than Hinduism (7000 yrs old)?

      July 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • DiamondSky

      @Peak-, Jesus was a Jew as Man, the promised Messiah, the Offspring of Abraham and of King David. Hinduism is pantheism, therefore it cannot be loder than the Old Testament faith which is the monotheism.

      July 8, 2011 at 4:39 am |
    • yorkermania

      hindus need jesus? true odessa....ignorance is bliss! hinduism has existed for 10s of centuries before jesus came into existence. no point talking to you of something u can never comprehend.

      August 16, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  8. T-Party

    Gold, industry,technology,education,free enterprise, are useful ....Lawyers liberals and religious folks are useless

    July 6, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
  9. jj

    'HOARD'? Would this site call the vatican's hidden stash a hoard? Are we denigrating our Hindu neighbors a bit?
    It may be time for a little soul searching – and recite 20 hail marys!

    July 6, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  10. Muneef

    A friend of mine from that part of the world commented with the following comments;

    ""Yes, five vaults full of precious stones, gold and silver have already been opened in Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala .
    Assessing the treasure's value will be very hard – estimates run to hundreds of billions and billions of dollars.

    Still many vaults to open, but the indian supreme court decide to stop the checking due to security reasons since the whole world eyes looking to this temple

    As per the report , this temple is the richest temple in the world.....

    Now we are all wondering that from one of indian temple found this much of tresure.  How much of our such precious worth stolen by british and portugise while they ruled our country.   Many of our hindu temple they destroyed for such kind of things...   As you are aware that one of our world precious daimond which namely kohinoor still with british queen.  In 1877 british east inda company seized kohinoor from India..""

    July 6, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Muneef

      As it can be seen that the West was able to make up their wealth from invading other countries taking all that is precious from them whether were hoarded treasures or other resources such as Oils&Minirals...

      July 6, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Don Camp

      And where do you suppose this treasure came from? Did it fall from the sky into the laps of Hindu priests? No it came from the rich of India (there are still plenty of those) and ultimately from the poor, who are the source of all wealth. If Britain and Portugal "looted India." it is little different from the rich of India looting their own countrymen. That is how the world has always worked.

      So let the guardians of the temple keep it. It will turn to dust one day along with them. Seek the treasure that lasts, Jesus said. That's still good advice.

      July 7, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  11. Muneef

    Beware of Professional Religionists

    [9:34] O you who believe, many religious leaders and preachers take the people's money illicitly, and repel from the path of GOD. Those who hoard the gold and silver, and do not spend them in the cause of GOD, promise them a painful retribution.

    [9:35] The day will come when their gold and silver will be heated in the fire of Hell, then used to burn their foreheads, their sides, and their backs: "This is what you hoarded for yourselves, so taste what you have hoarded."

    July 6, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      Muneef... how pleasant.. what a loving god you have invented...how can any one with any intellect really think that this was ever said.....

      July 7, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  12. GSA

    Hopefully they set-up charities, give to charities, feed and provide clothing and shelter for the needy, etc.
    Also my parents are from India and they can back up the fact that @David Johnson left this treasure there (as backed up by ancient scriptures) so it is rightfully his.....and half mine as i'm sure he would agree to.

    July 6, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  13. Sammyr76

    That money should be used to help assuage the hunger and poverty that is so prevalent in indian society. There is no God, of any religion that would oppose the use of church funds for charity. It does no good just sitting there entombed. Lets feed some people INDIA!!!

    July 6, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • forum

      if temple takes care fo the people, then declare kerala a hindu kingdom and throw the government of india into indian ocean as the govt is incomptetent to take care of its people..

      July 10, 2011 at 12:33 am |
  14. suryah

    wow that's really great to found in my motherland

    July 6, 2011 at 3:59 am |
  15. Odessa

    Treasure at the hands of oppressors is garbage and a further cause of planetary pollution. Use it to improve the life of 300 million Dalits. Everyone has limitless treasure from God: life. Being able to see the colors of the skies and stars and appreciate the love of Jesus surpass any treasure.

    July 5, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • Herbert Winston

      What a beautiful statement. How honly is it really, to hold on to billions in 'offerings' rather then use that to help the people. What would a loving divine creator choose?

      July 6, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • Odessa

      Herbert, billions is a mere number. God has the entire universe and much more. It's foolish and evil of every one of us not to use what we have in helping others. We don't bring a penny with us only decades later or anytime when we face God. Remember that. I want to see the sky. It's horrible I haven't seen the real sky for years and years. No amount of money will give me the pleasure though I'm happy I have enough to eat now. Let's be thankful and do our job.

      July 6, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
  16. Kebos

    Huh, a vast amount of treasure in a place of worship!? Who'd have thunk it.

    July 5, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
  17. Muneef

    Wow how much the Vatican must be having in stored !

    July 5, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • TCS

      The Vatican has loads of treasures, but it is all artwork and really old sacred text. Money-wise, the Vatican doesn't really have that much.

      July 6, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • Sammyr76

      The Vatican has to have loads of gold and silver along with tons of precious stones stolen from latin american cultures like the Incas not to mention the aztecs and mayas! What a treat it would be to take a peak into thier vaults!

      July 6, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • DiamondSky

      Europe makes great money BECAUSE of Vatican. Europe should pay taxes to the Catholic Church.

      July 8, 2011 at 4:40 am |
  18. David Johnson

    Yes, I believe I left this treasure there, in a past life. I will be by to collect it!


    July 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  19. Rob Surette

    The reporting on the Nancy Grace show And Jane Velez Mitchell is down right deplorable ...sicking and flat out wrong..These people are sensationalist... they speak with venom in there voice about issues and people that are not to be taken lightly....and this particular CNN channel and it's producers should not be allowed to continued by the powers that be at CNN. Case in point ....the Casey Anthony trial....There reporting would literally make me sick to the point of shutting of the TV....Please take them off the air waves....

    July 5, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Peace2All

      I can't seem to get to the rest of the article. Are there some kind of comments from Nancy and Jane that would warrant such a tangent having nothing to do with the article at hand here...?



      July 6, 2011 at 2:58 am |
  20. Chubby Link Checker

    That link does not work. Please fix it. Thanks.

    July 5, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
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