The hustle and bustle in and around Daundia Kheda village, Uttar Pradesh, has faded.
People gather near the fort of Raja Ram Baksh Singh in Daundia Kheda village of Uttar Pradesh's Unnao district. (PTI Photo)
The gold rush flagged off by seer Shobhan Sarkar's dream has crashed on the grounds of reality.
But a fresh urgency of sorts has crept in at the excavation site. The catch word, this time, is: 'Pack up'.
Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Geological Survey of India (GSI) officials are all set to march out of the village in Unnao district after a month-long futile gold hunt - during which they have laid their hands on pottery, a few beads, toys, bangles and bricks.
It all started on October 18 after Sarkar dreamed of gold buried at Raja Rao Ram Baksh Singh Fort. The seer 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.
"We have hit soil in the first trench, which indicates there is nothing underneath. It is just a matter of three days… we expect to reach the same conclusion in the second trench," an ASI official said.
Police officials manning the site are desperate to return home. "We are glad that this drama is finally coming to an end," said Surendra Singh, an officer on duty.
The stalls that had mushroomed in the area - just like the ones that came up near the ill-fated farmer's house in Bollywood flick Peepli Live - have vanished.
However, Srakar's supporters have yet to let go of the golden dream. "The gold is there. The moment the government agrees to Sarkar's specifications on the excavation, we will see 1,000 tonnes of gold," said Ashutosh Shukla, a student undergoing a BSc course at a college run by Sarkar's ashram. Shukla's brother, Ashish, echoed similar sentiments.
However, Unnao district magistrate Vijay Kiran Anand had tried downplaying the seer's prophesy angle, saying the excavation was planned after the GSI had noted the presence of some valuable metals beneath the earth at the fort.