Saturday, October 19, 2013

Indian gold hunt sparked by holy man's dream begins

A sadhu's dream of hidden gold treasure at Raja Rao Ram Bux Singh's fort in Uttar Pradesh, India, prompted a team of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to survey the area and begin excavation work on Friday. The sadhu, Shobhan Sarkar, had dreamt that 1,000 tonnes of gold was buried in the remains of the fort situated in Daundaia Kheda village.

According to Sarkar's follower, Swami Omji, Raja Rao Ram Bux Singh, who was martyred during a 1857 fight with the British, came in the dream of Sarkar and told him to take care of the gold buried in the remains of his fort. Sarkar convinced Union minister Charandas Mahant of his dream, leading to which a team of ASI and Geological Survey of India (GSI) officials surveyed the area. Officials said after 'puja' was performed by Hindu sadhus the digging began.

ASI officials have been camping at the site for the last three days and have completed marking the area of the potential treasure trove amid tight security. Thousands turned up at the site as the news spread. The district administration has now banned the entry of people into the fort premises. Preliminary findings, officials say, have suggested presence of "some metal underneath the earth", following which ASI teams decided to begin the excavation.

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Experts, however, are not too sure about the possibility of gold buried underneath. While many do not rule out the discovery of some gold, they say it is not possible for 1,000 tonnes of gold to have been buried within the fort as Raja Rao Ram Bux Singh was a ruler who presided over a zamindari stretching not more than 25-30km. "He was not a big king and hence it looks unlikely that such a huge gold reserve would be found there," said D P Tiwari, former head of the History and Archaeology department at the Lucknow University. For the villagers, however, Shobhan Sarkar's words are sacrosanct. Mahendra Pratap Singh, a descendant of the late Unnao ruler, says people firmly believe that if the seer has said it, the gold must be somewhere there.

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