Till a few days ago Daundia Kheda was a non-descript village on the banks of the Ganga in Unnao district-southwest of Uttar Pradesh capital, Lucknow.
Today, the village of 3,000 people is under the global spotlight.
Since Friday afternoon archaeologists began excavating for a purported treasure after local seer, Shobhan Sarkar, said he had dreamt that 1,000 tonnes of gold lay buried in the grounds of what was a 19th century fort.
“Till 5 pm, the workers had dug a further eight inches (20 centimetres) at the site. They dug 15 centimetres (six inches) on Friday,” said district magistrate, Unnao, Vijay Kumar Anand.
Local, seers, media and securitymen dot the 500-metre stretch of road that connects the village with the main road.
“We came to know about the gold from newspapers. I am here to see baba’s dream come true,” said Virendra Kumar, a seer from Barabanki.
Yet others claimed gold figured in their folklores. “Our elders often narrated stories of gold hidden under the fort. It is nothing new for us,” said Chandra Bhanu, a 55 year old shopkeeper.
Historians, though cautious in their statements, were not convinced about the dream.
DP Tiwari, former head of Lucknow University said during the war of Independence in 1857, the period that the king Raja Rao Ram Bux Singh belonged to, most of the rajas fleeing from the forts carried their treasures along with them. So, there is no chance of finding 1,000 tones gold,” he added.
Echoing Tiwari’s argument, CB Mishra a noted archaeologist and former head of lucknow circle of ASI said since the fort was on the river bank, there was a possibility of some precious artifacts buried there. He didn’t, however, buy the claim that 1,000 tonne gold was buried under the fort.