A Hindu seer, Shobhan Sarkar dreamt that 1,000 tonnes of gold was buried under the ruins of the 19th Century fort in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao District. Shobhan Sarkar wrote to the prime minister a few weeks back, saying the king had come in his dreams and asked him to get the treasure dug up and hand it over to the government of India to tide over the economic crisis.
Shobhan Sarkar said the gold belonged to King Rao Ram Buksh Singh. Archaeology officials say the dig is not linked to the dream, but a routine attempt to look for cultural artefacts.
Officials said the survey of the fort of the late ruler of Unnao, Raja Rao Ram Bux Singh, at Dondia Khera village will begin at 11 a.m. after ‘puja’ is performed by Hindu seers. Unnao is 50 km from the state capital Lucknow.
While many do not rule out the discovery of some gold, they say it is not possible for 1,000 tonnes of gold being buried under the fort as Raja Rao Ram Bux Singh was a ruler who presided over a zamindari stretching not more than 25-30 km.
Raja Rao Ram Bux Singh fought the British along with Rani Laxmi Bai of Jhansi during the 1857 mutiny and was overthrown in the process. He went into hiding only to be captured in Varanasi after which he was sent to the gallows.
Thousands turned up at the site as the news of the dream occurring to venerated seer Shobhan Sarkar spread and the district administration has now banned the entry of people into the fort premises.
Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) starts its excavation of find gold supposedly buried in Unnao. ASI says it may take the agency five weeks to hit the treasure. Unnao police have barricaded excavation points and deployed armed police personnel.
Geologists who have surveyed the site say there is a possibility that the site contains some metal.
Uttar Pradesh state authorities, as well as local officials, also said they had a right to the wealth and that the “treasure trove should be used for the development of the state”.
The former royal family that has remained the temple’s trustees since India’s 1947 independence has said the treasure belonged to the Hindu deity Vishnu, who is also known in the region as Padmanabhaswamy.