Indian man finds gold ornaments and antiques while digging plot of land for housing development

But he won’t be able to enjoy his find, as the treasure is now under government control

Shweta Sharma
Friday 09 April 2021 13:43 BST
The copper pot found buried in the plot contained gold and silver earrings, necklace and beads
The copper pot found buried in the plot contained gold and silver earrings, necklace and beads (Telangana government )

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Louise Thomas

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Real estate in expanding cities and towns in India is of enormous value, but never as much as when it yields buried treasure.

A plot of land being excavated by a real estate developer in a southern Indian village turned up a pot of jewels containing exquisite gold and silver ornaments and other antiques.

On Thursday, the treasure trove was discovered in Pembarthi village in Telangana when earthmovers struck a metal pot while working on the land of Hyderabad-based real estate businessman Mettu Narsimha.

The unusual sight baffled the labourers and triggered hysteria among villagers who gathered on the farmland as word spread.

The locals, who believed that the ornaments were given as offerings to a goddess at a temple that existed in that spot in the past, started holding prayers, burning incense sticks and offered flowers at the site.

The copper pot contained about 189.8 grams of gold, 1.72 kilograms of silver ornaments, a ruby weighing 6.5 grams, along with other antiques, reported The News Minute, citing authorities.

Local authorities of Telangana’s Jangaon district took over the site and the treasure and began a hunt in the land in hope of finding more such treasure.

The owner of the land, Mr Narsimha, was caught on camera behaving hysterically upon reaching the site and touching the treasure. Attempts were made by villagers to calm him down.

“After we were informed of the discovery, we recovered the valuables and sent it to the Collectorate. Further, instructions have been issued to the property owner against any digging activity in the premises until further orders,” Rajendra Prasad Jangaon district officer said.

The hoard, buried in a copper pot, contained about two dozens of gold earrings, 51 gold beads and 11 gold neck chains, and other valuable items.

Officials of the federal Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) also reached the site of the finding but decided that the treasure would remain with the state government at the Warangal Urban district treasury.

The villagers and local council member are now demanding a temple be built on the site.

“There have been talks in the past about the existence of a temple here. Many did not believe it. But after the recovery of the pot of the gold, now we are sure about it,” he said while appealing for construction of a temple at the site,” A Anjaneyulu Goud, a local council member, told The Indian Express.

The origin of the ornaments and the period they belong to remain unknown. However, district officials say “if the property is over 100 years old, it belongs to the government.”

“There is no need for any notification then as per the Indian Treasure Trove Act, 1878. If anyone claims ownership of the property, that should be proved by that person. So far, we don’t have anyone claiming any ownership,” official A Bhaskar Rao said.

An archaeologist would examine the treasure trove to reveal further details of the finding.

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