View Full Version : $22 billion worth treasure found in old Indian temple


Karachi
07-05-2011, 01:54 AM
Hidden treasure unearthed at Indian temple valued at $22-billion

A vast treasure trove of gold coins, jewels and precious stones unearthed at a lightly guarded Hindu temple in India was expected to grow further in value Monday as the last two secret vaults sealed for nearly 150 years are opened.
The government has increased security since the treasure's discovery in recent days, which has instantly turned the 16th-century Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple into one of the wealthiest religious institutions in the country.
Four vaults recently opened at the temple in Trivandrum, the capital of the southern state of Kerala, held a vast bounty that unofficial estimates peg at $22-billion.
The treasures unearthed so far include statues of gods and goddesses made of solid gold and studded with diamonds, rubies, emeralds and other precious stones, crowns and necklaces, all given as gifts to the temple over the centuries.
The volume of gold and silver coins was so enormous that the investigators weighed the coins by the sackful, rather than counting them, officials said.
The temple, built by the maharajas who ruled the then-kingdom of Travancore, remained under the control of the erstwhile royal family after India's independence in 1947.
India's Supreme Court ordered the inspection of the vaults after a lawyer petitioned a local court asking the state government to take over the temple, citing inadequate security. The current Maharaja of Travancore had appealed to the Supreme Court against the petition.
The inventory began last week and the final vaults were to be unlocked Monday afternoon. The public knew the temple had treasures but not the quantum.
Before the trove was uncovered, there was almost no visible security at the temple, save for a few local security guards patrolling the complex with batons, mainly for crowd control.
Kerala's police chief, Jacob Punnoose, said he sent extra police officers to guard the temple and is planning a high-tech security system to protect the treasure.
“We plan to enhance security in a manner which will not interfere with the activities of the temple or devotees,” Mr. Punnoose said.
The security plans include the installation of digital electronic networks, closed circuit cameras and metal detectors at the entrance and exits of the temple.
Manoj Abraham, city police commissioner, said two battalions of special armed police would provide security outside the temple complex.
“Later, we will discuss with temple authorities and members of the former royal family what kind of permanent security system should be put in place,” Mr. Abraham said.
Every year, devout Hindus donate millions of rupees worth of cash, gold and silver to temples. Some temples in India are so wealthy, they have formed trusts which run schools, colleges and hospitals that offer free treatment to the poor.
The discovery has sparked a debate over the future of the treasure trove.
Vellappally Nateshan, a Hindu leader, said the wealth should remain with the temple authorities.
Some social activists in Kerala have demanded the treasure be handed to a national trust to help the poor.
Kerala's top elected official, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, however, assured the people that the wealth would remain with the temple.
“It is the property of the temple. The government will protect the wealth at the temple.”
Mr. Chandy said the government would bear the cost of stepping up security at the temple and ensure that worshippers were not inconvenienced.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/asia-pacific/hidden-treasure-unearthed-at-indian-temple-valued-at-22-billion/article2085658/ (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/asia-pacific/hidden-treasure-unearthed-at-indian-temple-valued-at-22-billion/article2085658/)

Karachi
07-05-2011, 01:55 AM
India's $22B treasure trove has great 'archeological significance': expert

While one of India's richest temples is garnering worldwide attention for its estimated $22-billion treasure trove, a Canadian researcher says archeologists, scholars, economists and even jewellers are eager to flock to the site to study its historical impact.

The haul from the underground chambers of a medieval Hindu temple in Thiruvananthapuram, India, included enormous quantities of gold coins dating back to the era of French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte, and silk bundles full of diamonds, jewelry and Belgian gold — all artifacts that could help researchers paint of a picture of what world trade looked like between the 16th and 19th century, said Amitava Chowdhury, a Queen's University history professor who was an archeologist in Mauritius for several years.

"This finding showed the kind of international trade in billions of precious items, the evolution of jewelry and stone cutting, coins from all over the world. As an archeologist, what's interesting to me is what you can find out about various cultures based on these precious commodities," he said.

K.N. Panikkar, an eminent India historian, told international reporters the treasure was most likely a combination of gifts donated by devotees to the shrine built by Travancore maharajas.

The donations help illustrate how wealthy local and international merchants were and what they had on hand to offer to their deities, Chowdhury said.

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.

"No archeologist has ever experienced vault after vault being opened and treasures being discovered like this," Sengupta said in New Delhi, adding that many of the Hindu shrines across India were "very rich."

Chowdhury said there are thousands of temples in South India but only about 20 are in the same league as this latest hoard of treasures.

Armed commandos cordoned off the South Indian temple, which he anticipated is slated to become the India's richest temple.

The site will probably become a "unique place on the Indian heritage map," adding another layer of protection to the region, Chowdhury said.

For now, surveillance will be in place around the clock and security forces are setting up a special control centre, including a three-tier security ring involving 100 armed policemen.

"It seems to be the only thing you can do in this situation. Decisions might be made to move the hold and ancient coins to a more secure location later on," Chowdhury said.

Since India achieved independence from Britain in 1947, a trust managed by descendants of the Travancore royal family has controlled the temple, AFP reported.
http://www.edmontonjournal.com/technology/India+treasure+trove+great+archeological+significa nce+expert/5047937/story.html (http://www.edmontonjournal.com/technology/India+treasure+trove+great+archeological+significa nce+expert/5047937/story.html)

sthek
07-05-2011, 02:22 AM
they haven't even found 50 percent of treasure :)

Karachi
07-05-2011, 01:54 PM
Glittering details emerge of Indian temple treasure







THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, India - Treasure discovered in the vaults of a south Indian temple includes 450 golden pots, 2,000 rubies and crowns inset with jewels, according to an inventory drawn up by officials.


The draft list leaked to the media on Tuesday itemised an array of priceless goods kept in the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple ranging from 400 gold chairs to a statue of Lord Vishnu decorated with 1,000 diamonds.


With the seventh and last vault still to be opened at the medieval complex, estimates of the hoard's value have varied widely but officials said one figure of $22 billion could be far too low.


"The actual value of the assets found so far is much more than what has been published," said C.S. Rajan, a retired High Court judge on the seven-member team assessing the Hindu temple in the state of Kerala.


"The formal list which will be deposited with the Supreme Court will be much more detailed," he told AFP.


The final chamber will be opened after a decision expected soon from the Supreme Court, which is monitoring the inventory process.


The four square-metre (43 square-foot) unopened vault is reinforced with iron walls, has a single entrance and is believed to have an underground chamber, a temple official told AFP on condition of anonymity.


So far, 65 sacks and three iron boxes of items have been found in the temple's vaults.


The treasure hunt has drawn large crowds of devotees and onlookers to the shrine.


"Security will be tightened and if necessary additional forces will be deployed," assistant director-general of police Venugopal K. Nayar said in Thiruvananthapuram.


State authorities have posted armed policemen inside the temple, which is famous for its intricate carvings, while security personnel were also manning its ancient gates.


The temple, which has 365 pillars to denote each day of the year, was built hundreds of years ago by the local ruling kingdom of Travancore.


Kerala-based historian Rajan Gurukkal said a "major chunk" of the stored riches reached the kings in the form of "tax, gift and bribes".


"The looted wealth of conquered states was also stocked in the temple," Gurukkal told the Mail Today newspaper.


The Supreme Court ordered the cellars to be opened for an inventory after a lawyer lodged a petition saying that the temple controllers were incapable of protecting its wealth.

Senior Hindu figures say that the temple's governing trust has the responsibility to look after the treasure as it was donated by the former royal family

http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6038/5902067444_e9f35f74bc.jpg

Padmanabhaswamy Temple: Statues of gods and goddesses made of solid gold and studded with diamonds, rubies and emeralds. Crowns and necklaces. Gold and silver coins in such numbers, they were weighed by the sackful, rather than counted. And barely any sec

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/...#ixzz1R9Rw6ygX (http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Glittering+details+emerge+Indian+temple+treasure/5051341/story.html#ixzz1R9Rw6ygX)

afghan
07-06-2011, 01:09 AM
why dont pakistanis claim a part in the treasure found, it was left by their ancestors.

Karachi
07-06-2011, 01:48 AM
^ what are you talking about? it belonged to a hindu kingdom in south india. Infact even the famous Kohinoor diamond which muslims and british took later, orginally belonged to a hindu temple

afghan
07-06-2011, 08:26 AM
^ what are you talking about? it belonged to a hindu kingdom in south india. Infact even the famous Kohinoor diamond which muslims and british took later, orginally belonged to a hindu temple
on several occasions the pakistanis have asked that kohinoor belong to them. that hindo kingdom is long gone.

Mina
07-06-2011, 10:53 AM
India is a very rich country. With the right leaders the entire country can live a life with standards. It has done alot in the past 60 years or so, wishing them all the best for future.

Gulbabo
07-06-2011, 03:42 PM
waaaaaaaaaaaaa yeee... what a good news... i would love to see some pictures of the stuff they found.

that golden 'morti' the bed looks so glamurous...stunning.

ScimitarXEdge
07-06-2011, 06:34 PM
on several occasions the pakistanis have asked that kohinoor belong to them. that hindo kingdom is long gone.

The Kohinoor belonged to Abdali too.

ScimitarXEdge
07-06-2011, 06:35 PM
waaaaaaaaaaaaa yeee... what a good news... i would love to see some pictures of the stuff they found.

that golden 'morti' the bed looks so glamurous...stunning.


you are such a materialistic shallow phony, I can't imagine how you could even claim you're a seeker of 'God's pleasure"

Gulbabo
07-06-2011, 06:44 PM
you are such a materialistic shallow phony, I can't imagine how you could even claim you're a seeker of 'God's pleasure"

are you following my posts? this is beyond funny. I am embarassed for you.

http://watchplayread.com/files/2009/08/DoubleFacePalm.jpg

ScimitarXEdge
07-06-2011, 07:10 PM
are you following my posts? this is beyond funny. I am embarassed for you.




Nice try; but its plainly obvious you're trying to scapegoat your phoniness here.

next time, try being less materialistically minded, maybe your posing as some sort of enlightened soul will come off more believable.

afghan
07-06-2011, 08:04 PM
The Kohinoor belonged to Abdali too.
i know but it was stolen by ranjit singh from shah shuja.

KhalsaWarrior
07-07-2011, 04:46 AM
i know but it was stolen by ranjit singh from shah shuja.

I believe acquired is the correct term.

sthek
07-07-2011, 07:52 AM
dunno how much can be found in final vault.

there are few more temples in southern india with this kind of jewels

afghan
07-07-2011, 10:11 AM
I believe acquired is the correct term.
you can any term if you want, this all happaned when shah shuja was sheltered by ranjit sigh in panjab, and shah shuja was hiding the kohinoor in his residence, not to let anyone put the hands on it. but ranjit singh ordered his men to keep close eyes on shah shuja, finally it was found and taken away by ranjit singh from his residence.

afghan
07-07-2011, 10:12 AM
dunno how much can be found in final vault.

there are few more temples in southern india with this kind of jewels
india is still a Golden bird, with many undiscovered treasures.

KhalsaWarrior
07-08-2011, 07:39 AM
you can any term if you want, this all happaned when shah shuja was sheltered by ranjit sigh in panjab, and shah shuja was hiding the kohinoor in his residence, not to let anyone put the hands on it. but ranjit singh ordered his men to keep close eyes on shah shuja, finally it was found and taken away by ranjit singh from his residence.

So how did the Koh-i-noor get in Shah Shuja's hands in the first place? Ever read about that?

afghan
07-08-2011, 02:20 PM
So how did the Koh-i-noor get in Shah Shuja's hands in the first place? Ever read about that?

The Mystery of Koh-i-Noor: Gift or Deceit?
Rani Sircar
"I undertook the charge of it in a funk, and never was so happy in all my life as when I got into the Treasury at Bombay. It was sewn and double-sewn into a belt secured round my waist, and through the belt fastened to a chain round my neck... My stars, what a relief it was to get rid of it..."
"It" was the Kohinoor diamond, and the quotation is from a personal letter written by the Marquis of Dalhousie, Governor General of India who annexed the Kingdom of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
The Kohinoor and Darya-i-noor diamonds and Timur’s Ruby had been in the toshakhana, or private treasury of the Maharaja of Punjab, since the time of Maharajah Ranjit Singh (1780-1839). He had wrested both the Kohinoor and Timur’s Ruby from his prisoner Shah Shuja, the vanquished ruler of Afghanistan, and acquired the Darya-i-noor from an ancient family in Hyderabad. All three gems passed into British hands, when, at the end of the second Anglo-Sikh War in March 1849, Punjab was annexed by the East India Company. Dalhousie confiscated all the property of the "State of Lahore" to the "use the Hon’ble East India Company except for the Kohinoor which is appropriated for Queen victoria." However, this gem was, ostensibly, gifted to her by the 12-year old. Maharaja Dalip Singh, surviving minor son of Sher-e-Punjab.
From Dalhousie’s private letters we learn that the court of Directors were "ruffled" that they were thus prevented from presenting the gem to the Queen themselves, and he complains that at the same time "the Daily News and my Lord Ellenborough are indignant because I did not confiscate everything to H.M and censure me for leaving even a Roman Pearl to the court". Poor Dalhousie! His act of homage to his Queen not only made him feel like "a bundle to hay between two asses", but also laid him open to the accusation that by sending the Kohinoor to Queen Victoria, he had sent here something "which always brings misfortune to its possessor".
Dalhousie scoffed at this superstition and countered that all the emperors and kings who had owned the gem were prosperous and mighty, and maintained that when Ranjit Singh asked Shah Shuja, the erstwhile Afghan ruler, the value of the Kohinoor, Shah Shuja had replied, "its value is Good Fortune for whoever possesses: it has been superior to all his enemies." But Dalhousie must also have known the other, more publicised, version of Shah Shuja’s reply, "its price is lathi (heavy stick/blows). My forefathers obtained it by this means; you have obtained it from me with many blows; after you a stronger power will appear and deprive you of it using similar means".
The Kohinoor, the Darya-i-noor and Timur’s Ruby were all shown at the Great Exhibition held in London in 1851. Timur’s Ruby was subsequently presented with other jewels of Queen Victoria by the East India Company. Set in a necklace with three other rubies, it still forms part of the Crown jewels of England. Ranjit Singh had worn the Kohinoor first in an armlet for four or five year, then as a sirpesh, or turban ornament, for about a year; then again in an armlet. Queen Victoria wore it in a brooch, then in a bracelet and, later, in a small circlet specially made
for it. Succeeding kings of England had it set in the crowns of their consorts. Re-cut to half its original size, the Kohinoor is at present set in the English Queen Mother’s crown, and both India and Pakistan from time to time assert their claims to it.
As for the Darya-i-noor, it was sold after the Exhibition by public auction in 1852 for the late Nawab Sir Abdul Gunny of Dacca, for, it is believed, Rs. 75,000 by the Government of India auctioneers: Messrs Hamilton and Co., of Calcutta. The gem was again for sale with Hamilton’s in 1912 as the then Nawab Sir Salimullah Khan, G.C.I.E. was in financial difficulties. Hamilton’s describe their Darya-i-noor as "encircled by 10 large magnificent table diamonds of the first water and of the utmost brilliancy, free from all impurities, in a rich gold-enameled setting, in the form of an armlet, and also suited for a head ornament, with 10 pearls." According to them, the Darya-i-noor, had been for ages in the possession of the Mahratta Princes, and afterwards passed, at a cost of 130,000 rupees to the ancestor of Nawab Serajool Moolk, the then Minister of Hyderabad; subsequently, it reached Punjab and was in the possession of the Maharajas Ranjit Singh, Naunihal Singh and Sher Singh".
There seems, however, to have been another Darya-i-noor, for, in a letter to Sir J. R. Dunlop-Smith who was Political Aide-De-Camp to the Secretary of State, J.B. Wood, the Additional Secretary to the Government of India in the Foreign Department, wrote on January 6, 1912: "I may mention in case there may be any misapprehension on the subject that the Darya-i-noor which is with Hamilton’s is quite different from the Darya-i-noor which is the subject of a law-suit between His Majesty and Amir (of Afghanistan), and the family of Amin-ud-Daulah. The latter, it appears, has been in the possession of Amin-ud-Daulah’s family since 1839 when it was taken from Shah Shuja of Afghanistan..."
Queen Victoria, officials of the East India Company, and later, Queen Mary, were all curious about the early history of the three jewels, and interesting stories were unearthed and recorded about them between 1852 and 1912. According to the Iranians both the diamonds were worn by their legendary king, Afrasiab. But that the Kohinoor was in Iran prior to its being taken there from Delhi as part of his loot by Nadir Shah in 1739, is improbable. However the early history of the Kohinoor is shrouded in uncertainties and legends.
It was found in a mine on the banks of the river Godavari during the lifetime of Krishna, and belonged to Karna, king of Anga, one of the heroes of the Mahabharata, says one account. Another attributes the yield to the mines of Golconda. Quarried in the Kollur mines on the banks of the river Krishna, in antiquity, it was misplaced and forgotten for centuries, says a third account. Most accounts agree that the rajas of Malwa owned the Kohinoor for many generations, until Allaudin Khilji appropriated it on becoming emperor at Delhi in 1304, and also that the Ghori, Tughlaq, Syed and Lodi rulers at Delhi all possessed the gem in turn, until Timur took it away from Delhi to Samarkand in 1399. More than three centuries later, Timur’s descendent Babar, the first Moghul emperor in India brought it back to Delhi in the 16th century.
However, a strong tradition identified the Kohinoor with the diamond given to Humayun by Bikramjit, Raja of Gwalior in 1526 after the Battle of Panipat. In his memoirs, Babar writes: "of their own free will they (Bikramjit’s people) presented to Humayun a peshkesh (tribute) of... precious stones. Among these was one famous diamond, which had been acquired by sultan
Allaudin. It is so valuable, that a judge of diamonds valued it at half of the daily expense of the whole world... on my arrival Humayun presented to me a peshkesh, and I gave it back to him as a present".
On the other hand, Mir Jumla, a diamond merchant, with concessions to mine, the Kollur mine is supposed to have re-discovered the gem and presented it to Shah Jehan in 1636 or 1637.
It is more or less certain that the Kohinoor was part of the loot that Nadir Shah took away from Delhi to Iran in 1739, and that his son gave it to Ahmed Shah Durrani of Afghanistan as nuzzur (a present to a superior). And it remained in Afghanistan till Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab took it from his prisoner Shah Shuja, king of Afghanistan, in Lahore in 1813.
While all these accounts have certain strands in common, they do not establish that the Kohinoor was known as the Kohinoor before the 18the century, and many questions remain unanswered. Did the French jeweller Jean Baptiste Tavernier see the Kohinoor in 1665 when Aurangzeb showed him the state jewels? And was it the Kohinoor to which Tavernier referred in his writings as "The Great Moghul’s Diamond"? Is the Kohinoor identical with the diamond which Humayun gave to Babar and is often called "Babar’s Diamond"? Are the Kohinoor, "The Great Moghul’s Diamond and "Babar’s Diamond" one and the same stone? Some authorities maintain that both the Great Moghul’s and Babar’s diamonds were taken to Iran in 1739 by Nadir Shah, and that it was Nadir Shah who on first seeing the former called it the Kohinoor, or Mountain of Light, and Babar’s Diamond subsequently came to be known as the Darya-i-noor, or Ocean of Light. It is possible that "Babar’s Diamond" was Shah Shuja’s Darya-i-noor which was seized from him by Amin-ud-Daulah’s grandfather. What is certain is that the gemstone we call the Kohinoor was extracted from Shah Shuja by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1813.
About Timur’s Ruby nothing is known before it fell into Timur’s hands when he plundered Delhi in 1398-1399 but it is possible to trace the story of this engraved ruby with some breaks for the next 500 years. The largest inscription is in Persian, but in Arabic script, and reads, in translation: "This is the ruby from among the twenty five thousand genuine jewels of the King of Kings the Sultan Sahib Qiran (Timur) which in the year 1153 (A.D.1740) from the collection of jewels of Hindustan reached this place" (Isfahan). This inscription was evidently cut into the stone by the order of Nadir Shah.
Much involved in research into the history of the three gems, J.R. Dunlop-Smith found that, after Timur took it with him to Samarkand, the ruby remained with his successors for about a century and a half. Did Babar perhaps take this ruby as well as the Kohinoor with him to Delhi? Anyhow, much later, Shah Abbas I, the greatest of the Safavi Kings of Iran presented it to Jehangir who promptly had his own and his father’s names engraved on it: "Shajahan", "Alamgir Shah" (Aurangzeb) and "Farukhsiyar" were later also engraved on it in Persian.
Both Hamid (1650) and Inayat Khan (1658) state in their memoirs, that when the ruby was presented to Jehangir (1605-1627), it had the names Mir Shah Rukh, Mirza Ulugh Beg and Abdul Latif (Timur’s successors) engraved on it. These names are no longer on the ruby which shows sings of having been abrased. Jehangir, or one of his successors, probably had them removed, since the oldest inscription goes back only to 1612.
The ruby was taken again to Iran by Nadir Shah after the sack of Delhi in 1739. Ahmad Shah Abdali, also known as Ahmad Shah Durrani, who had an important command in Nadir Shah’s army, seized the ruby in the confusion following Nadir Shah’s assassination in 1747. Later Ahmad Shah founded a kingdom in Afghanistan, with his capital at Kabul, and his name is the last engraved on the ruby. On Ahmad Shah’s death in 1772, the gem passed to his son, Timur Shah, and eventually to Timur Shah’s youngest son, Shah Shuja, from whom Maharaja Ranjit Singh took it. It is one of the largest rubies in existence, and also one of the most famous.
[Courtesy: The Statesman]
i have to agree with the above, but the tragedy is english will never return these stones, when ever india will ask for kohinoor the pakies will be there to claim it as theirs, it wont be a surprize if iran and afghanistan will claim it as well. At the end will remain in UK.