Over the last two months, thousand of people descended on an abandoned stone quarry in Rajasthan’s Tonk district, looking for historical gold coins, apparently from the 4th and 5th century. This has prompted police to clamp prohibitory orders and mount a round-the-clock vigil to stop the treasure hunt from going on any longer.
The coins, the police say, are precious. They have now launched a massive hunt to retrieve the coins. Every day for the past week, loudspeakers mounted on police vehicles have been going round Janakipura and adjoining areas asking villagers to return the coins.
According to the Jaipur branch of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), “Two types of coins (recovered from the site belong) to the times of Samudragupta (335-380AD) and Kumaragupta I (414-485 AD) have been found at Janakipura site.”
The ASI team suspects that someone could have possibly buried the treasure near the quarry.
That the coins are invaluable has sent the police into a tizzy. Prem Singh Nathawat, the station house officer of Diggi police station, believes the villagers have taken away nearly 2,000 coins from the quarry.
Five personnel from the Rajasthan Armed Constabulary are now standing guard at the quarry to discourage villagers from further scouring for coins, as police teams raid surrounding villages. In the past week, they have recovered nine coins.
With the administration on alert, locals from 10 nearby villages have decided to lie low. Though littered with discarded food and footwear left by the crowd that melted away, the quarry is quiet for now. But the villagers say the gold rush is not over. It has just been interrupted, many of them said.