Gold coins, diamonds and other precious stones revealed in vaults at a Hindu temple in southern India may be value $20 billion, officials said as they ready to open two more underground chambers at the site.
Bags of diamonds, an 18 foot gold necklace and 19 kilograms (42 pounds) of gold coins are with the items found so far, according to the website of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala. The vaults were opened once a local lawyer asked the courts to take store of what was in the temple amid accusations that it was being mismanaged.
“These vaults haven’t been opened for well more a hundred years,” said Ananda Padmanabhan, an attorney representing Sundara Rajan, who brought the case to court. “It consists of all from gold chains and ornaments, coins, and statues of gods and goddesses.”
The temple is run by a trust restricted by descendants of the royal family of Travancore, who ruled an area that is now part of southern Kerala state waiting after the country gained independence from the British in 1947. The treasure is consideration to have been given to the temple by the royal family, the Times of India reported.
The Kerala government has deployed a 24 hour police existence in and around the 16th century temple following the discovery. Other items in the opened vaults take in gold ropes, and antique jewelry studded with diamonds and emeralds, according to the temple’s website.
Kerala’s chief minister, Oommen Chandy, said the treasure will stay in the temple and won’t be sold off as a argue begins about what to do with the haul.