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India's buried treasure brings hundreds seeking fortunes after holy man's dream

A holy man said a long-dead king came to him in a dream, told him to let the government claim 1,000 tons of gold worth $50 billion to stave of economic crisis.

India gold rush buried treasure 10 18 2013Enlarge
An Indian woman places traditional gold jewellery on a statue of the Hindu goddess Durga inside a worship place on October 10, 2013. (DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world in India these days, as hundreds gather hoping to take home a piece of a $50-billion golden ticket.

The madness centers around an 18th century fort in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, once the domain of King Rao Ram Baksh Singh.

A Hindu sadhu — or holy man — triggered widespread interest when he told a local government official that the dead king appeared to him in a dream.

The king asked the sadhu, Shobhan Sarkar, to care for 1,000 tons of gold buried underneath the fort.

In fact, Times of India reported King Singh told Sarkar that the government should receive the gold to help with the economic crisis.

Needless to say, the announcement prompted villagers in the area to descend on the site.

Officials with the Archeological Society of India rebuffed the notion, saying that while they did detect metal at the fort — and they’re digging to investigate — it’s not gold.

Probably.

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“Archaeology doesn’t work according to the dreams of a holy man, or anybody else,” the ASI’s Syed Jamal Hasan told the Associated Press. “Archaeology is a science. We are carrying out this excavation on the basis of our (previous) findings.”

That hasn’t stemmed the flow of curious onlookers in UP, one of India’s poorest states, home to 200 million people.

Security barriers and guards were posted around the site, BBC reported.

But, if there is gold there, what would happen to it? That’s not clear.

The AP interviewed the long-dead king’s descendants, who suggested they deserve at least a share.

The state's chief minister wants everyone to benefit.

“I only want there be a goldmine in every district of the state,” Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav told Times of India.

More from GlobalPost: Who wins from India’s economic woes?

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/india/131018/india-buried-treasure-gold-Uttar-Pradesh-Sarkar-singh