Tue, 15 Oct 2013 19:30:00 GMT | By Reuters

Sadhu dreams of buried gold, UP government starts digging

Swami Sarkar's dream haul of 1,000 tonnes would be enough to replace all of India's imports for a year and would be worth at least $40 billion


Sadhu dreams of buried gold, UP government starts digging (© Reuters)

Unnao: The government is digging for treasure after a sage in a village in Uttar Pradesh dreamt that 1,000 tonnes of gold was buried under a ruined palace, and wrote to the central bank about it.

The Archaeological Survey of India has sent a team of archaeologists to the village of Daundia Khera in Uttar Pradesh. They are due to start digging on Friday, Praveen Kumar Mishra, the head archaeologist in the state, told Reuters.

Yogi Swami Shobhan Sarkar says the gold he dreamt of belonged to a nineteenth-century ruler, Rao Ram Bux Singh. He says he wants it in government hands to help India recover from an economic crisis.

Not everyone is so keen to put bullion into the Reserve Bank of India's vaults. Temples sitting on about half as much gold as in Fort Knox are resisting efforts by the central Reserve Bank of India to audit their holdings.

Indians buy as much as 2.3 tonnes of gold, on average, every day - the weight of a small elephant - and what they don't give to the gods is mostly hoarded.

That is costing the economy dear, since India has few gold mines. Gold imports totalled $54 billion or xx crores in the year ending on March 31, 2013, a major factor in swelling the current account deficit and undermining the rupee.

Swami Sarkar's dream haul of 1,000 tonnes would be enough to replace all of India's imports for a year and would be worth at least $40 billion.

The archaeologists plan to dig two 100-square-metre blocks beside the palace. Mishra, however, warned that there was as yet no proof that any treasure lay beneath the soil of Daundia Khera village.

"We are still searching for the exact location and whether there is any treasure. It is all in the future," he said. "We often just find pottery and metal antiquities, like agricultural tools or kitchen tools."

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