Sunday, July 03, 2011

10bn euro worth' of treasure found in Indian temple in Kerela

Digs at a Hindu temple in India's southern state of Kerala have led to the discovery of an 8bn euro treasure. The underground rooms at the temple have been found to contain thousands of silver and gold necklaces and precious stones, currently estimated to be worth some 500bn rupees.
Kerala authorities say the estimate is a preliminary one. According to Secretary of State K. Jayakumar "there is still another secret room we have to open. It has remained close for 140 years."
With the conclusion of the Supreme Court-appointed expert panel’s five-day treasure hunt, the Padmanabhaswamy temple — given prominence by the Travancore royal family in the 16th Century — has turned out to be one of the richest shrines in the country. When the second secret chamber, last opened 136 years ago, was accessed on Friday, the seven-member panel found valuables worth RS15,000 crore, taking the total recovery to Rs50,000 crore, sources said. This amount could finance the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme for a year.

New finds include Kashi pearl necklaces, five sacks of gold coins, jewels, diamond-studded plates, rubies and emeralds. Metal lamps and gold coins of different eras were also recovered.

If a necklace found on Thursday was 18 feet long, Friday’s treasure hunt yielded 536 kg of 18th century gold coins and about 20 kilos of British East India Company’s gold coins. Some experts have, however, questioned the valuation of the treasure.

“I don't know how people value such objects. Antique value can’t be fixed overnight,” said Kerala Council for Historical Research director PJ Cherian.

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