This seer now has another dream.
This time it tells of a far bigger gold haul buried around the ancient remains of temples in Fatehpur, 80 km south of Kanpur.
The revelation comes when the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is all prepared to take up excavation at the King Ram Bux Singh’s fort in Unnao, merely on the seer’s dream.
The seer, the head priest of revered Shobhan Sarkar temple sent his emissary Swami Om to the district magistrate Fatehpur, Abhay Kumar on Tuesday to commission digging at Adampur—another site for 1857.
Adampur, a small village on the banks of river Ganga, six km north of Malwa, has many ancient temples close to the riverbed.
Swami Om says no less than 2,500 tonnes of gold was hidden in those ruins.
“Gold in Unnao is buried deep, at least 20 metres from the surface,” said Swami Om. But the gold in Adampur could be retrieved easily.
“I can show it to anyone. It is buried close to the surface. All we need is proper security and the right intent.”
The swami had earlier met Adampur gram sabha members who passed a resolution for excavation on a condition similar to one put forth in Unnao – twenty percent of the find would be spent on development of Adampur and the rest would remain with the government.
His meeting with the collector was about learning the status of the resolution, which has been forwarded to the state government.
The collector who spoke to him on the telephone assured to mail him his feedback by Tuesday night.
However, he said he would comply with the directives of the state government about the excavation.
Back in Unnao, the fort has become a centre of attraction for people.
The district authorities are monitoring the clearing of points marked for excavation.
“The dense bushes covering the places are being removed like the ASI experts wanted us to do,” said Vijay Shankar Dwivedi, subdivisional magistrate, Bighapur.
The ASI, which will begin digging up the places from October 18, will rely on basic way of excavation using spades and shovels.
Its experts will not employ the non-destructive technique, which entails heavy use of technology.
PK Mishra, superintendent archaeologist, ASI UP circle clarifies that the terrain requires the old way of digging.
“Experts have seen the place several times and think that would be the right way for excavation.”
Sold on a dream? ASI starts digging for gold at Unnao fort
The hunt for about a 1,000 tonnes of gold a seer told officials lies buried at a nineteenth century fort in an Uttar Pradesh village started on Friday.
A 12-member team comprising archaeologists, geologists and workers began digging a mound in the ruins of the fort built by Raja Rao Ram Baksh Singh, in Duandia Kheda village in Unnao district, 100km from Lucknow, after a meeting with local officials.
The hunt has created curiosity after reports that highly-revered local seer Shobhan Sarkar told Union minister Charan Das Mahant that the country’s financial troubles will ease to a great extent if the gold was excavated and spent on public welfare.
But Unnao district magistrate Vijay Kiran Anand sought to downplay the seer’s prophesy angle, saying the excavation was planned after the Geological Survey of India had noted the presence of some valuable metals beneath the earth at the fort.
Superintending archeologist, Archeological Survey of India’s Lucknow circle, PK Mishra echoed Anand’s sentiment.
“For us even an earthen pot is of immense importance. We are least bothered about gold and we do not work on dreams. We are just following the orders from Delhi,” Mishra said.
He said the presence of a non-rocky substance at the depth of 20-metres noticed during the geological survey was the only “proof” that prompted the excavation.
But Swami Om, Sarkar’s disciple, said his guru has a handwritten map of the GSI, which clearly mentions the presence of a treasure.
And the man behind it all, Sarkar, feels he may have put himself in trouble by prophesying something many will find hard to digest.
“I have written more letters about the presence of gold in Kanpur and Fatehpur districts. But the one in the neighborhood (Unnao) is enough to save our economy,” said the seer.
“I have even asked them to send me behind bars if I am proven wrong,” he said. His followers are equally firm.
“We know that baba’s dream will come true. He has performed many such miracles before,” said Virendra Tiwari, one of the seer’s followers from Barabanki district.
The excavation, expected to take a month, will be filmed, the district magistrate said. Hundreds of local villagers and the seer’s followers in neighbouring districts thronged the site when the digging started.
Dream and Digging
Sarkar had dreamt that Raja Rao Ram Baksh Singh, who gave his life for the country fighting the British in 1857, told him to take care of the gold buried in the remains of his fort. The seer shared his dream with one and all, including Mahant who did not dismiss it as joke. Instead, Mahant visited the village and this is how the ASI and GSI got active.
Consequently, the central government directed the district magistrate of Unnao on September 3 to make arrangements for the excavation. On the directives of the district administration and the government, a team of the ASI officials surveyed the area indicated by the saint and found the signs of the presence of the precious metal 15-20 metres deep.
The ASI experts have made it clear that they will go extremely slow when it comes to digging. They have advised the workforce not to dig more than three feet in eight hours.
“Workers have been instructed to go slow and remain a bit gentle; they should not generate extra-force when hitting the surface. ASI doesn’t want to damage any historic artifact it might hit upon in the process,” Mishra said.
The ASI has not opted for the technologically driven non-destructive technique it normally applies in such works because of the terrain where dense forest cover pose a problem.
The ASI experts reached Unnao on Thursday and met the district magistrate before the taking up the excavation. The administration, on its part, has sanitized the points marked for digging and banned the entry of general public.
On Friday, a havan was conducted by Shobhan Sarkar, who appeared to his disciples for the first time. When the ASI officials reached the site on Thursday, they fell at the seer’s feet and asked for his blessing. “Baba, hamari madad karo (Baba, please help us).” The seer then promised to conduct a havan just before the digging started.
In view of massive public build-up, the Unnao police have barricaded the excavation points and deployed armed police personnel. “All measures are in place to check the public entry,” said Sonia Singh, SP Unnao. Other than 16 Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel, one sub-inspector and four armed constables will remain at the site round-the-clock.
“The situation is being monitored on a day-to-day basis. No one will be allowed to get even close to the excavation site,” she said.
Unnao seer sees another dream, local king’s descendants want gold share
Ever since the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Geological Survey of India (GSI) teams have camped in the Daundia Khera village of Unnao district to begin excavation near a 180-year-old Shiva temple, sparks have been flying. In the latest, the descendants of the local king have staked their claims to the 1,000 tonnes of gold not yet dug out.
For a quick recap, a local priest, Swami Shobhan Sarkar, had claimed early this month that the 19th century local king Rao Ram Baksh Singh had appeared in his dream and told him about 1,000 tonnes of gold lying buried near the temple. The king was hanged to death by the British rulers during the revolt of 1857 and his palace, situated near the temple, was destroyed.
The seer convinced a Union Minister, Charan Das Mahant, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industry, who in turn convinced ASI and GSI to inspect the place. A team of experts visited the area on October 12 and drilled two holes at a point shown by Swami Shobhan Sarkar. About 20 metres deep, the drilling machine hit something that seemed different from earth. The excavation is set to begin on Friday. (Read more)
Descendants stake claim
Meanwhile, many of the descendants of the former king have come forward and staked their claim to the expected gold haul. Rao Chandi Pratap Singh who claims to be the fifth in line of the king told reporters that he was confident about the presence of gold at the said location. He also said an attempt was made even earlier to dig out gold, but a fierce attack by hornets forced the diggers away. Singh appealed to the government that a portion of the excavated gold should also be given to the direct descendants of the king to help them restore his fort.
Swami’s second dream
Meanwhile, the seer, Swami Shobhan Sarkar, is on a dreaming spree. In another surprise for the authorities, Sarkar has claimed he has seen another dream of a far bigger gold haul buried around the ancient remains of temples in Fatehpur, 80 km south of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh.
According to a report in Hindustan Times, the seer has sent his emissary Swami Om to Fatehpur district magistrate Abhay Kumar to commission digging at Adampur, another site of the 1857 mutiny. Adampur, a small village on the banks of the Ganga, has many ancient temples close to the riverbed.
Swami Om claimed no less than 2,500 tonnes of gold was hidden in those ruins.
Whither scientific temper
With the pace Sarkar has been dreaming, he is becoming a more powerful hope than any that RBI chief Raghuram Govinda Rajan can offer. As investigating agencies wonder if Sarkar can help them trace the whereabouts of India’s black money stashed abroad and petroleum experts in the Middle East wonder if Sarkar also has oily dreams, don’t you think the ASI people would also be digging the grave of scientific temper once they begin digging for gold? That the drilling is not based on excavation or archaeological evidence but a seer’s dreams says a lot about the ASI and GSI. If they do end up finding gold, they will stand discredited as the credit will go to the priest. If the rush doesn’t end in gold, they will stand discredited for believing in dreams. Either way, the seer’s dream is sheer nightmare for scientific temperament.
Indian treasure hunt sparked by holy man’s dream
Archaeologists have begun digging for treasure beneath a 19th-century fort in northern India, after a Hindu holy man said a king had appeared to him in a dream and told him about the cache.
The treasure hunt began after Shobhan Sarkar, a Hindu swami, relayed his dream to a government minister who visited Sarkar’s ashram last month.
The swami said the spirit of King Rao Ram Baksh Singh, who was hanged in 1858 after rising up against British colonial forces, had told him to take care of the 1,000-ton treasure worth almost £30bn hidden under the fort in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
Indian geological and archaeological officials who surveyed the area on Sunday found evidence of metal about 20 metres underground, district magistrate Vijay Karan Anand said.
The Archaeological Survey of India said it would begin digging under a temple contained within the ruins of the old fort.
A host of interested parties have already lined up to stake a claim to the treasure, believed to be in gold, silver and precious gems. One of the king’s descendants, Navchandi Veer Pratap Singh, said: “If gold is really found there, we should get our share.”
Uttar Pradesh state authorities, as well as local officials, also said they had a right to the wealth.
“The treasure trove should be used for the development of the state,” the local MP Kuldeep Senger said. Uttar Pradesh, with a population of 200 million, is one of the poorest and least developed states in India.
Residents of the impoverished Daundia Khera village, who have no access to electricity, said they had long known about the treasure from stories told by their elders. “Everyone in the village knows about it,” said 60-year-old Vidyawati Sharma, who learned the stories from her father-in-law.
Locals have found silver and gold coins in Unnao district, according to the swami’s disciple Om Ji. No one knew exactly where the treasure was until the late king visited the swami in his sleep, he said.
Authorities set up barricades as thousands of people descended on the village. People were offering prayers at the temple within the fort’s ruins.
Locals said they hoped Sarkar’s vision turned out to be real, as he was “revered as God in this area because he has done a lot for this place,” said Chandrika Rani, a schoolteacher.
Indian officials are also unearthing another treasure trove found two years ago in a 16th-century Hindu temple, and have barred the media and public from the excavation site in the southern state of Kerala.
The discovery made the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple the richest known religious institution in India, with bagfuls of coins, bejewelled crowns and golden statues of gods and goddesses. The supreme court has ordered a full inventory of the treasure.
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.