Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Hidden treasure found under Nepalese palace

A huge stash of gold and silver ornaments has been discovered by workers renovating a former royal palace in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, the government said Tuesday.

The treasures, thought to be more than 500 years old, were hidden in a store room under the sprawling 16th-century Hanuman Dhoka palace, a UNESCO world heritage site, a spokesman for the culture ministry told AFP.

"There are coins and ornaments that look like offerings to the gods and goddesses," said Jalkrishna Shrestha.

It was not immediately clear how much the haul was worth but the spokesman estimated that there were around 300 kilos (650 pounds) of treasure hidden in the store room.

"We expect to find more such treasure as the renovation continues," he said.

The 4.5 million rupee ($65,000) government restoration project at the dilapidated palace, which housed Nepal´s royals until the late 19th century and is now a museum, began two months ago and will go on until September.

Nepal´s former king Gyanendra was deposed in 2008 after Maoist rebels who fought a decade-long battle against the country´s centuries-old Hindu monarchy came to power.

Gyanendra, who was widely disliked, came to power in 2001 after the former crown prince shot and killed nine members of his own family including the king and queen before turning his gun on himself.


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