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Unnao gold hunt: ASI stops digging, no gold found

After days of digging at a 19th century fort in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) today ended the excavation at the historic fort.

It is to be noted that digging was started after a seer named Shobhan Sarkar had claimed that he had dreamt of 1,000 tonnes of gold lying buried inside the fort. But the ASI's decision to call off the digging means that the India's highly ambitious gold hunt had failed to yield any result.

The ASI officials said that no hidden gold was found in Unnao as claimed by seer Shobhan Sarkar. The digging at Raja Rao Ram Bux Singh's fort, near Daundia Kheda village, in Unnao, had started on October 18 amid tight security.

The ASI officials said that remnants of a brick wall and other debris were found during digging but there was no sign of 1000 tonnes of gold.

The story goes like this. Seer Shobhan Sarkar saw in his dream that huge quantity of gold was lying buried inside the fort and approached his devotee, union Minister of State for Agriculture Charan Das Mahant, and the PMO, urging them to ask the ASI to excavate the fort and take out the precious metal. The Geological Survey of India conducted some tests at the fort and accepted the presence of "some metal underneath the earth", following which ASI sent its team to start digging at the fort.

The digging at the fort has prompted many people to resort to illegal digging at forts and temples across the state in search for hidden treasures. In Bahraich, some people dug a huge pit at the Charda Fort looking for gold. "No seer has ever dreamt about Charda. The only possible connection between Daundiya Kheda and Charda forts is that they have a mound and are associated with the 1857 revolt," said a local professor.