Indian treasure worth €1bn recovered from vault unopened for 140 years

Indian treasure worth €1bn recovered from vault unopened for 140 years

A TREASURE trove, estimated to be worth more than €1 billion has been recently recovered from an underground chamber that had remained unopened for nearly 140 years in a 16th century temple in India’s southern Kerala state.

Gold and silver bullion including 17kg (37lbs) of coins from the Napoleonic and East India Company’s era, precious stones and diamond and emerald-studded jewellery form part of the cache discovered from the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Hindu temple in Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram.

According to local folklore generations of wealthy Travancore maharajas, who built the temple more than 400 years ago, had hidden immense riches within six of its thick underground stone vaults, three of which had not been opened since 1872.

After independence in 1947, Travancore merged with nearby Cochin (modern day Kochi) to become Kerala in 1956.

Reports from Thiruvananthapuram indicated that other than gold sovereigns and precious stones the booty from vault A included gold ropes, some of them in the shape of 9ft long necklaces weighing 2½kg – more than a ton of the yellow metal in the shape of rice trinkets and innumerable, decorative gold sticks.

Vaults B and E are still to be opened.

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