Archaeologists Dig For Treasure after Tip From Hindu Holy Man
Archaeologists have launched a furious dig for treasure beneath a 19 th century fort in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh in India after a well-known Hindu holy man predicted a substantial cache of gold and silver lay buried beneath the monument.
The decision to start the dig began after Hindu swami Shobhan Sarkar relayed a dream he had to an Indian government minister, in which the spirit of a former king appeared to him and told him of a nearly $50 billion cache.
The swami said the spirit of King Rao Ram Baksh Singh, who was hanged in 1858 after rising up against British colonial forces, told him to take care of the 1,000-ton treasure hidden under the late king's fort in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
While researchers have not yet searched the area, preliminary investigations reveal that there may be some truth to the story. A survey of the area using high-tech equipment found signs of heavy metal about 20 metres underground and, according to the impoverished residents of the nearby village of Daundia Khera, stories of the treasure have been passed down through the generations, however, no one knew exactly where the treasure was buried until the late king supposedly visited the swami in his sleep.
The archaeological dig has already attracted thousands of interested locals to the site as well as plenty of people who are lining up to stake a claim to the treasure. Uttar Pradesh state authorities, as well as local officials, say they have a right to the wealth while the king’s descendants are claiming the treasures must go to them. Others have argued that the treasure trove, if it is found, should be used for the development of the state since Uttar Pradesh has a staggering population of 200 million and is one of the poorest and least developed states in India.
While plans to excavate the area followed immediately after the government minister was told of the vision by the Holy man, archaeologists have been quick to defend the reason for their dig.
"Archaeology doesn't work according to the dreams of a holy man, or anybody else. Archaeology is a science. We are carrying out this excavation on the basis of our findings at the site,” said Syed Jamal Hasan, an agency official from the Archaeological Survey of India.