Hidden treasures used to make for a really intriguing fable in our childhood. But what if I told you that they exist,and that they’re lying somewhere waiting to be found by someone. For all you know, treasures around the world have been waiting for you all this while. Maybe you’re the one destined to solve the mystery, and bask in its glory. Let’s not waste any more of your precious time here, and get on it.
1. Nadir Shah’s treasure
The Persian invader Nadir Shah invaded India in 1739, entering Delhi with an army of 50,000 men. The loot also led to the massacre of 20,000-30,000 innocents in Delhi. It is said, that the loot was so massive that his treasure caravan was said to be 150 miles long.
Legend has it that on his way back to Persia, Nadir Shah was murdered in his tent. But according to historical records he was actually murdered in 1747. Sounds suspicious, right?
If the tale is to be believed, his assassin, Ahmad Shah, succumbed to an illness and died a gruesome death, but locals believe before his death, he managed to conceal the bulk of Nadir Shah’s treasure somewhere in the labyrinth of tunnels in the Hindu Kush Mountains. Nadir Shah’s loot included millions of gold coins, sacks of jewels, the sacred Peacock Throne (now in Iran) and the fabled Koh-i-noor diamond, which today can be found in the British Crown Jewels.
2. Sonbhandar Caves
The Sonbhandar caves are a couple of really strange cave chambers in Rajgir, Bihar, that are hollowed out of a single massive (seriously, incredibly big) rock.
Dated to be as ancient as the 3rd–4th century AD by the inscriptions, the western chambers are believed to have been the guard room, and the doorway is supposed to lead to King Bimbisara’s Treasury.
Inscriptions in the Sankhlipi script, etched on the wall of the western cave, and so far not deciphered, are believed to give the clue to open the doorway. The British tried to cannonball their way through the supposed doorway, a mark that can still be seen, but failed. The treasure, according to folklore, is still intact.
3. Mir Osman Ali’s Treasure
Mir Osman Ali was the last Nizam of Hyderabad ruling over a kingdom the size of England. In 2008, Forbes magazine listed the Nizam as the “fifth all-time wealthiest” person with a net worth of $210.8 billion, while TIME magazine called him the richest man in the world in 1937. Inheriting the throne in 1911, the kingdom’s treasury was almost empty because of his father’s extravagant lifestyle. Ruling over a period of 37 years, he got the state’s finances back on track and acquired fabulous personal wealth on his path to success.
Coming to the point, his personal wealth is said to be stored in the underground chambers of King Kothi Palace (now Hyderabad) where he spent most of his life.
Among his treasure was the famed Nizam jewelry (173 magnificent pieces) studded with rubies, diamonds, pearls, sapphires and other precious stones beautifully embedded in gold and silver. The jewels haven’t been recovered by anyone till now.
4. Wreck of the Grosvenor, South Africa
One might have to make way out of India to find this treasure. Grosvenor is thought to be the richest and the biggest British East India Company ship to ever have gone missing. The Grosvenor left from Madras for England via Ceylon in March, 1782 with precious cargo on board. On August 4th, 1782, it got wrecked on a reef about 700 miles northeast of Cape Town, South Africa. The cargo
The ship was later claimed to have been found, and only a tiny portion of the treasure was salvaged. But the rest of the treasure is still out there in the deep, waiting to be discovered. If the treasure is found in international waters by an Indian, he might have a strong case in declaring its ownership as it will either be taken by the Indian government or by the finder.
5. Padmanabhaswamy Temple Chamber B, Kerala
Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, shot to international fame when an underground vault (vault A) was opened under court orders in June, 2011. What the officials saw inside was astonishing. All kinds of jewelry, crowns, statues, common household articles made out of gold and studded with all kinds of precious stones. The antique value of the total treasure trove was estimated to be in the range of $22 billion, which is about 13,96,01,00,00,000 rupees!
The Supreme Court Of India later ordered that vault B be opened only after proper documentation of the articles found in vault A and preservation of it. According to the local legends and temple priests, the treasure in vault B is protected by giant serpents, and that breaking it will be inviting a massive disaster.
Treasure in vault B is estimated to be considerably more than what was found in vault A according to the priests. Vault B is yet to be opened.
6. $63 Million hidden in Bedford County, Virginia, U.S.A
It is said, that in 1816, Thomas Beale and a few men he was traveling with came onto a large sum of gold and silver while mining somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Estimated to be a staggering $63 million in today’s valuation, all of the men wanted to make sure their next of kin would get the money should anything happen to them.
Beale wrote three ciphers to safeguard the wealth. One described the exact location of the treasure, the second described the contents of the treasure, and the third was a list of the men’s names and their next of kin. Beale then entrusted Robert Morriss, a Lynchburg innkeeper, with the safekeeping of a box containing the ciphers. Morriss was supposed to wait at least 10 years before opening it. At this point, if Beale did not return for the box, a key to the cipher was supposed to be mailed to Morriss. But it never arrived. For years, Morriss and a friend tried to decode the three ciphers, but they could only manage the second cipher (the one describing the contents of the treasure).
7. Nuestra Senora de Atocha, Key West, Florida, U.S.A
A few hundred years back, in 1622, the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha was heading back to Spain when it was caught in a hurricane off the coast of Key West, Florida. A number of ships got wrecked in the hurricane, all of which were carrying an enormous cargo of gold, silver, and gems that has been valued to fetch around $700 million today.
But most of the loot has already been found. In 1985, treasure hunter Mel Fisher found $500 million of the buried treasure less than 160 kilometers off the coast of Key West. Experts believe there is still plenty of treasure to find. The original captain’s manifest states there are still about 17 tons of silver bars, 128,000 coins of different values, 27 kilos of emeralds, and 35 boxes of gold.
8. Hidden treasure of San Miguel
In the 1700s, Spain had one of the richest treasure fleets to ever be assembled at the time. By 1715, they had a fleet of 11 such ships, all filled to the brim with silver, gold, pearls, and jewels, estimated to be worth about $2 billion today. The plan was to leave from Cuba for the mainland just before hurricane season hit, hoping the hurricane season would be a deterrent to pirates and privateers.
However, just six days after leaving the shores of Cuba, a hurricane hit them, sinking all the ships, killing thousands of sailors, and swallowing every bit of gold, silver, and jewelry along with it.
Since then, seven of the ships have been recovered, but experts believe only a small amount of the valuables on the ships has been found.The one ship that has yet to be found is the San Miguel — the ship that experts believe contains most of the treasure. But where is it? Well, most of the ships that have been found have been located off the eastern shores of Florida, although some of the ships may have made it farther out to sea before sinking.
9. Gold Dust in Lake Guatavita, Colombia
South Americans living around this lake have a rather strange ritual of sorts. The indigenous people around Lake Guatavita in Colombia, South America, liked to please their water god. To do so, a priest would cover himself in gold dust and then toss pieces of gold into the lake. As you would expect, there’s quite a bit of gold sitting at the bottom of the lake thanks to the tradition.
Sadly though, if you’re looking to hunt for this treasure it might be a bit difficult. The Colombian government has banned anyone from trying to drain the lake to find the treasure, so you might have to skip this one.
10. Nazi treasure in Lake Toplitz, Austria
Nazis, at their evil best, had hatched a plan to flood Britain and America with fake currency and destroy both countries’ economies. Part of this plan was to drop counterfeit money out of airplanes. This was of course, assuming people wouldn’t notice a rainfall of pure cash, let alone think something unusual is going around. Titled Operation Bernhard, the notes that Nazis had forged by their various prisoners of war were so good they were almost indistinguishable from real currency. The project was canceled in 1945 because Germany was being put under pressure by America.
Not wanting to waste years of hard work or not knowing what to do with it, Nazis packed up their printing presses, the fake notes and stolen gold and priceless art, and set off for the Austrian Alps. Upon arriving at Lake Toplitz, they tossed every last bit of their riches right into the lake.
Lake Toplitz isn’t just another lake in beautiful Austria. The lake is located so far up a mountain that even fish can’t live in it below a certain depth because there’s no oxygen to breathe.
In 2002, an expedition was launched to find the lost treasure, but one thing stood in their way – Austria. They really do not like talking about the Nazis and can throw people in jail for mentioning them. Eventually, a team was given 30 days to find the treasure, an incredibly tight schedule for what they were trying to do. Their cameras could only see three feet into the lake at any time, and if they moved too low or too fast, silt would build up and blind the cameras’ already limited visibility. To make matters worse, they got lost in the dense maze of fallen trees that had piled up in the lake over the years, and their boat was mercilessly pounded by hailstorms. To top all of this, the navigation system was struck by lightning and stopped working.
Despite all the shenanigans, the expedition still managed to find some of the Nazi’s counterfeit money. All the gold and artwork (worth millions and millions) is still down there though, just waiting for someone absolutely insane to go and recover it.
11. La Chouette D’or, the Golden Owl hidden in France
In 1993, a mysterious man with an alias, “Max Valentin,” apparently hid a golden owl in the French countryside. He promised to reward 1 million francs to whoever found it. He gave 11 clues to the owl’s whereabouts, but it has yet to be found. Over the years, however, hunters have busted up concrete and burned down buildings in search of the owl, but nothing’s come off it.
Valentine died in 2009 and it’s unclear whether the owl even exists. In an interview in 1997, however, Valentin assured hunters that he had periodically checked on the hiding spot to make sure it was still there. Apparently, someone had come close, as Valentin saw disturbed ground near the actual site. As of now, it appears to be the closest anyone has come to the treasure.