Friday, July 29, 2011

Hindu Temple in Kerala, India, Unearths Treasure Trove of $22 Billion


Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala,
India, draws world attention with the discovery of hidden
treasures in its underground vaults
Photo courtesy:

The sixteenth-century Hindu temple in Thiruvananthapuram – formerly known as Trivandrum – of the State of Kerala, South India, in early July yielded a treasure trove of over US$ 22 billion, secretly stashed in its deep underground vaults, reports The Daily Telegraph. In the last 140 years, these vaults remained unopened. Indian antiquarians mentioned the find’s worth as “astronomical!”

Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, dedicated to the Hindu god of Vishnu, was originally built by the feudal lord, Maharaja, of Travancore. Since its inception, pilgrims and devotees have been offering votive gifts in the forms of money, gold and diamond ornaments, and precious gems and stones.

The present treasure trove comprises of ornaments of gold, diamonds and precious stones. In addition, there are also thousands of gold coins of the day, including coins issued by the British East India Company (1600-1858) that first came on trading purposes but later became ruler of parts of India.

After the independence of India in 1947, the Indian government gradually took over the rule of the feudal states and kingdoms, run by maharajas. So was the case of the kingdom of Travancore. The Indian government allowed members of the royal family of Travancore to manage the trust of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple.

Because of long complaints of mismanagement, the Supreme Court of India recently ordered the State government of Kerala to manage the trust to ensure the security of the temple’s valuable assets. As part of the inventory of the valuables, a thorough search of the temple grounds came into effect and, thus, discovery of the secret treasures came to light.

Until this find, the Tirupathy temple in the State of Andhra Pradesh of South-East India was considered the richest Hindu temple in the country.

Muslim Invasions and Looting and Destruction of Hindu Temples in India

At different eras, Muslim invaders, usually from Persia and Afghanistan, invaded India which was famous for its richly temple treasures in the forms of Hindu devotees’ offerings.

Mahmud Shah of Gazni (971-1030) invaded India 17 times. In his 16th invasion, he ordered his soldiers to attack and destroy the ancient Hindu temple of Somnath in Gujerat. Rajput Hindus put up a brave defense, but ultimately Muslims broke it and reached the temple gates. In front of the temple there was a huge pillar in the shape of a phallus, locally called Shiva Lingam, which was encrusted with precious gems and stones and revered as a symbol of reproductive power. Soldiers destroyed this lingam after pillaging its valuables. They also robbed the temple of unforeseen treasures – gold and diamond ornaments, jewels and precious stones worth about 20 million dinars and destroyed it.

Mughal ruler Aurangzeb was famous for destroying many Hindu temples in India. Before their destruction, of course, Muslim soldiers first looted the temples of their treasures.

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