ASI to widen gold hunt after Unnao fort proves barren

The Archaeological Survey of India has stopped digging for gold treasure at the fort of Raja Rao Ram Bux Singh in Unnao, as ASI officials said that excavations have confirmed that there is no buried crock of gold at the fort.

However, this is not the end of the hare-brained dream inspired by the vision of some Hindu 'seer'.

The ASI, a supposedly scientific body, has said it is planning to expand the excavation area, having identified another site near the Ganges. A decision for excavation there will be taken in the next fortnight.

The ASI, in its abortive gold rush at the fort, did unearth some historical artefacts such as bangles, toys, a stone figurine and pottery pieces from the 'Buddhist era'.

The excavation began on 18 October after the seer, Shobhan Sarkar, dreamt that as much as 1,000 tonnes of gold was to be buried under the ruins of the 19th century fort.

Sarkar had approached his devotee, union minister of state for agriculture Charan Das Mahant, and the Prime Minister's Office, following which the survey and excavation were undertaken (See: Gold rush in Unnao).

Preliminary findings suggested presence of "some metal underneath the earth", following which ASI teams decided to proceed with the excavation.