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5 Fascinating Facts About the Gold Craze in India and Its Neighbouring Countries.

A Yoga Trainer, Therapist and Research Scholar, delving deep into the world of ancient knowledge.

India is the richest country in terms of gold. Every year India exports 40% of the total gold production. It has 4000 tons of gold in temples while 15000 tons of gold are in the Indian homes. India and its neighbouring countries, have craze for this yellow metal. According to Ramayana, the kingdom of Ravana was made of gold. Some scholars claim that Cambodia, the land of Ravana’s grandfather, was full of gold in the ancient time.

1. Rich religious traditions

Tradition says that the temples are the abodes of god residing on the earth which should be decorated beautifully. With this mind set, Hindu, Jain, Sikh and Buddhist devotees offer gold and money to their temples to make them magnificent.

The goddess of wealth Lakshmi is depicted with pots full of golden coins. Lord Kubera, the half-brother of Lankan king, Ravana, is the Yaksha king who is semi-divine god. He is worshipped as the lord of wealth. There are many mantras and shlokas in the Hindu religious text to please him.

There are many temples which have considerable amount of gold in their possession. Normally temples run many educational institutions and do social services from the donations that they receive. Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala,is the richest religious place of worship on earth. Five out of seven vaults of the temple have Rs. 1.2 trillion worth of gold. A life size gold statue of lord Vishnu, the18 feet gold chain, 500 kg of gold trunk are few items of this treasure.

Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) temple in Andhara Pradesh, earned an interest of 70 kg of gold from the Punjab National Bank on the deposit of 1311 kg gold of its gold in 2016.

The golden temple of Amritsar of Sikhs has 160 kg of gold on its dome. Soni ji ki Nasiyan, the famous Jain temple in Ajmer has the main chamber made of 1000 kg of gold.

All the idols of Gautam Buddha are either made of pure gold or gold plated. The idol of Gautam Buddha at the Wat Traimit in Thailand, is made of 5,500 kg og gold.

Golden statue of Gautam Buddha

Golden statue of Gautam Buddha

2. Golden spirituality

The metal gold is associated with the masculine divinity as yellow colour depicts the sun and fire which are essential for life's existence. It also represents the mental power which connects the soul to the cosmic divine.

Gold is used by spiritual seekers to balance the Annahat (Heart) chakra, Ajna (Third Eye) and the sahastar (Crown) chakra. Wearing gold ornaments attracts positive cosmic vibrations which clean up the impurities of the body aura.

Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi


3. Glittering ancient gold extraction technology.

Scholars often wonder about the source of the enormous amount of gold in the ancient India. There were very few gold mines in this region. Many religious texts have revealed the methods of gold extraction.

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Mahabharata mentions about Pipilaka gold extracted from the auriferous soil of ant hills. According to Mr. R. K. Dubey, Professor of metallurgy, IIT Kanpur, India had technology to extract gold from 3 types of gold deposits.

1.Alluvial Placer deposits- The hymns of Rig Veda has detailed description of extraction of gold from the river beds of Indus river. Even today natives of Jamshedpur in Jharkhand state sieve sands from the river beds of Subarnarekha river to get fine gold particles. This river literally means "line of gold".

2. Vein deposits- Many Hindu texts have mentioned the names of the mountains which yield gold, like Sumeru, Udai, Soma and so on. Gold is deposited in these mountains were in the forms of veins or crust.

Liquid ore- Atharvaveda has the detailed description of the method to extract gold from a special liquid.

In 3rd century BC, Kautilya, in his book Arthashastra, mentioned a mysterious high density greasy liquid as a source of gold. This liquid ore was obtained from holes and cracks of the mountain ranges. According to this book, one part of that liquid enabled the conversion of 100 parts of copper or silver into gold which got deposited on the surface of the less cathodic metals like silver and copper.

But the exact chemical composition of this liquid is still a mystery as many texts of ancient times containing such information were destroyed by the Islamic invaders.

4. Shining social and economic status

No marriage in the Indian subcontinent is complete without gold jewellery. Both the bride and groom get gold gifts from their families and friends. Gold ornaments gifted to the bride is called Stri dhan or wealth of the lady and belongs to her as social security. In South India an average middle class family gifts half to one kg of gold to their daughters. These gold ornaments not only have ornamental value but also have emotional value as jewelleries are passed on through generations of women down a family.

People love to invest in gold because it is easily available and has a good resale market value. Large amounts of money can easily be converted into coins, biscuits or bricks of gold which can be conveniently stored at home or in bank lockers.

5. Sparkling health.

0.2 milligrams of gold is present in 70 kg of human body. Gold is one of the important micronutrients essential for body functions. Gold is vital for proper brain functioning. Highest concentration of gold is in the lymph nodes. It is also needed for the proper functioning of adrenal gland, renal cortex, reticuloendothelial system.

Many skin products use gold particles as it is very beneficial for the treatment of skin ailments. In Ayurveda, gold dust is used for many herbal medicines. Many herbal tonics have gold and silver dust to enhance strength and immunity.

In every aspect of human life, gold plays a significant role. This fact was acknowledged in the ancient times. People of these Asian countries especially Indians, have special affinity for this lustrous metal. Present generation is intrigued by this valuable gold.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Nidhi Gautam

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