New Delhi, Oct. 21: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) today discounted the chances of finding a vast cache of gold at an Uttar Pradesh village and said its hunt had more to do with matters “historical” than the precious metal.
An ASI official said the excavation at Daudiya Kheda in Unnao district had reached a depth of about 5ft till Monday evening and yielded glass bangles, shards of pottery and toys and a part of a wall that could be around 300 years old.
“The wall is made of burnt bricks, or lakhori, as we call it. It was widely used during the Mughal period. It possibly dates back to the 17th century,” ASI additional director-general B.R. Mani said in Delhi.
The excavation had started on Friday, a month and a half after a local sadhu, Shobhan Sarkar, wrote to various government departments and apparently referred to a dream. The sadhu today said it was not a dream but an interaction with a king’s soul.
But Mani said: “In over 150 years of excavations by the ASI, no one has ever recovered gold of such a huge value as claimed by the sadhu. Gold is often pilfered and it is highly unlikely that such a large cache of gold will remain for so long. Let me be very clear. We are not looking for gold. We don’t believe in dreams.”
The official said the ASI was primarily exploring the site for its historical and archaeological value.
Mani said the ASI had some 1,000 proposals with it that spoke of some dream or the other. “We don’t accord them much value,” he said, but added that a report filed by the Geological Survey of India had shown “unique anomalies” that “piqued our interest”.
Mani said Raja Rao Ram Bux Singh, who was hanged by the British during the 1857 war, was a “petty” chief, and associating 1,000 tonnes of gold with him would be an “overestimation”.
The largest amount of gold the ASI had found till now was around 12kg. It was, however, a “chance find”, Mani explained, after villagers at Mandi in Uttar Pradesh came across a pot full of gold on the Ganga’s banks in 2001-02.
Sources said the ASI was hopeful of finding 17th-century cannons and other weapons at Daudiya Kheda. The wall, though, has stirred hope among residents that it might lead to an underground storehouse of treasure.
“Only a small part of the wall has been revealed now; it is difficult to say whether it is part of a storehouse,” Mani said. “It definitely is part of a structure, but what that structure could be is not evident yet.”