ASI's digging for buried gold in Daundia Khera sparked a media frenzy in October 2013
The village in Uttar Pradesh which saw a gold rush last October on the basis of a sadhu’s dream of 1,000 tons of buried gold will now be turned into a tourist attraction in its own right. The state administration plans to spend Rs. 2.76 crore ($460,000) on developing Daundia Khera in Unnao district.
In October 2013, the village came into the international spotlight when the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) launched an official excavation to hunt for the gold that holy man Shobhan Sarkar dreamt was buried in the fort of Raja Rao Ram Baksh Singh, a martyr of the 1857 revolt against British rule.
"He (Singh) comes to my dreams on a white horse and requests me to liberate him from the cycle of birth and death. He is the custodian of the treasure. But he is tired of protecting it. He wants me to ask the Government of India to take it and improve the economy of the country," Sarkar told Mail Today in October.
The embarrassing spectacle came to an end when, despite digging for four weeks, the ASI found no gold in the fort, only a few pieces of antiquities. The government agency packed its bags and left, followed by the media and the curious crowds that had gathered. Daundia Khera slipped back into insignificance with its dilapidated roads and lack of electricity.
Nine months later, the state administration seems to think the fort could become a tourist destination. It is located near the river Ganga where pilgrims visiting the nearby Chandrika Devi and Kameshwar Baba temples take a holy dip.
Rs. 1.10 crore ($183,333) has already been released to the UP Housing and Development Board (UPHDB) and the Tourism Department to develop the riverfront, and build changing rooms, toilets and catering facilities for visitors.
“Attractive landscaping will be done around the fort, along with walking tracks. The approach road to the village and the fort will be developed and electrification will be done around the area,” P K Singh, Joint Director, UP Tourism, told The Indian Express.
Local Samajwadi Party MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar told the newspaper that he had urged Tourism Minister Om Prakash Singh to develop the area as it holds “historical significance”. Sengar claimed he made the demand before the gold rush last year.