A $11.2 billion treasure has just been discovered in a southern India temple according to AFP. The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is nearly 500-years-old, and the thousands of necklaces, coins and precious stones have just been discovered in "at least five underground valuts." The Indian government has indicated that one more secret chamber is yet to be opened, and speculate that whatever treasure could be inside has been sealed for 140 years. AFP:
"The temple, dedicated to Hindu lord Vishnu, was built hundreds of years ago by the king of Travancore and donations by devotees have been kept in the temple's vaults since.
A necklace found on Thursday was 18 feet (six metres) long. Thousands of gold coins have also been found.
Since India achieved independence from Britain in 1947, a trust managed by descendants of the Travancore royal family has controlled the temple.
But India's Supreme Court recently ordered that the temple be managed by the state to ensure the security of valuables at the shrine.
Until now, the Thirupathy temple in southern Andhra Pradesh state was believed to be India's richest temple with offerings from devotees worth 320 billion rupees.
The revelation about the huge riches in the Padmanabhaswamy temple has forced police to sharply step install security cameras and alarms."
How does the saying go? Leave no door unopened, no stone unturned.
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The 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. This figure is expected to grow Monday as the last two secret vaults sealed for nearly 150 years are opened.
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 operation began last week and the final vaults were to be unlocked Monday afternoon.
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.
Vellapally 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."
Chandy said the government would bear the cost of stepping up security at the temple and ensure that worshippers were not inconvenienced.