In secret vaults below Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala a huge treasure has been found on Monday. In six chambers, five of which have been opened so far, a treasure of more than £12 billion lay hidden for more than a hundred years.

The sight must have been stunning for the crew opening the vaults: Sacks filled with precious diamonds, tons of gold coins and jewellery that no eye had seen for over a century. A treasure worth more than the country’s entire education budget.

A treasure of that worth in this area is not too surprising: For many centuries lucrative trade routes passed through the region. Traders would come to the temples and make valuable offerings, to please deities as well as local rulers.

Several temples in India are known or estimated to have large treasures like this. What is going to happen with the money is still debated – whether it will be invested in the Hindu community or used for the public good – as ownership of the treasure is unclear.

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