India has always been a land of tales. Some of these old tales speak of great Indian treasure mysteries. There are many tales of diamonds in river, hidden chambers and secret tunnels. Here are some that are the favourites of treasure hunters.
Captivating Indian treasure mysteries
The Charminar is one of the most popular tourist destinations but very few know that it also holds the title of hiding a great Indian treasure. There are secret tunnels that run below the monument.
It is believed that the then sultan, Md. Quli Qutub Shah commissioned these tunnels for the safety of the royal family. These hidden tunnels would be used as safe passage in case of emergency escapes. The tunnel starts from the Charminar till the Golconda Fort. It is also said that these tunnels were also places for hiding the Nawab’s immense wealth.
Surveys have been conducted by the Hyderabad Municipality and Archaeological Department and indeed, the lost tunnels have been found and mapped. It is also found that these well built tunnels go to two destinations. Search is still going for secret passageways and hideouts which are hiding immense wealth of the Nawabs.
About 150 km away from Delhi in the state o Rajasthan, is the spectacular Alwar Fort. A huge fort situated on the heights of the Aravalli, Alwar Fort has also been called the Bala Quila. The fort is itself a treasure trove of art and architecture but it is an old Mughal tale that makes Alwar Fort one of the Indian treasure mysteries.
Not much is known about the treasure except that Jahangir had seek refuge here at one time and hid his royal treasure here. Among other riches, he had a priceless drinking cup cut entirely out of emerald. Interestingly, it is said that some part of the treasure has been recovered, yet the major part remains undiscovered.
The news of the treasures of Jaigarh Fort were at its zenith during the Emergency rule imposed by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. On her orders, a curfew was imposed in the city of Amer and a contingent of the army was sent to the Jaigarh Fort to search the treasure.
It was long believed that Man Singh, Akbar’s trusted nobleman, had hidden huge amounts of gold, diamonds and gems underground and among secret vaults in Jaigarh Fort and Amer Palace. If word of mouth is to be believed, Indira Gandhi ordered a search upon appeal from her son, Sanjay. As the ruling king and queen did not support this venture nor did the kingdom, strict measures were taken.
It is said that they found a part of this treasure, which needed sixty trucks to be carried away. No official records exist as to what happened to the booty, and some conspiracy theorists smell foul play.
The reigning queen, Rajmata Gayatri Devi has described the incident in her autobiography although she does not mention about the disclosure of treasure. Many believe that the treasure is still hidden.
The locals also say that the royal hidden treasure was used to build the city of Jaipur. Nobody knows for sure what happened.
However if you plan to plunge into treasure hunting, beware of the curse of Ma Kali. Among the valuables, some of these belong to the temple goddess of Maa Jessoreshwari which is the patron goddess of the royal family since Man Singh’s time. It is believed that the goddess punishes anyone who would look at the treasure with greed and lust. Locals say that just after the treasure was ‘looted’, Sanjay Gandhi passed away in the plane accident, and within a short span Indira Gandhi was assassinated. Later her elder son Rajiv was also assassinated.
Is there any truth to this, we all wonder. The Jaigarh story remains as one of the biggest Indian treasure mysteries.
Krishna River Treasure
India’s beautiful rivers not only provide life saving water but also the most precious of gems. Many dive into the waters of the Krishna River in search of diamonds. It is not very surprising at all. The rivers Son and Subarnarekha that flow have derived their names from gold, which could be found in their waters. Locals could be seen filtering the river sand and water and discovering gold particles since thousands of years.
When it comes to diamonds around the world and the most famous ones, 8 out of 10 were mined from India – the most famous being the Kohinoor. In India, the Golconda mines of Andhra Pradesh were the most famous. Along the 300 km of the Krishna River, a number if mines carried out intense diamond extraction for centuries. No wonder the Krishna was also called the Diamond River. Geologically, the Krishna Valley is actually the source of the most wonderful diamonds of the world.
Perhaps we should go for a dive in Krishna River.
Sri Mookambika Temple
If you have heard of the unbelievable wealth of the Padnabhaswamy temple, you will be happy to know it was not the only one.
The Mookambika Temple in Kollur, Karnataka is also said to be one of the biggest Indian treasure mysteries. Like Padnabhaswamy, it also holds a locked underground chamber with a naga motif. How much wealth is stored there, we can only guess. For an estimate, the goddess idol is adorned with jewellery worth more than 100 crores.
The immense wealth of the Mookambika Temple owes to the contributions of the royal family and her worshippers through the centuries.
Sonbhandar in Bihar is one treasure straight from the story books. The cave has a hidden door locked with a script that reminds one of the khul ja sim sim tale. It waits in open daylight for anyone to come and discover its riches. Read more on Sonbhandar Caves here.
Dasghara is a small town located near the famous Tarakeshwar pilgrimage in West Bengal. This quaint place has an interesting tale of treasure mystery and history that goes by the word of mouth. It is said that the local zamindar family had quite a substantial amount of wealth. They constructed many civic needs around the town, one being a large lake. As the tale goes, at one time the zamindar family faced an attack and to hide their wealth, ten gharas were filled up and hidden inside the waters of the lake. Still today, many dive into the waters to search for this lost treasure.
However, there is one treasure that is out in the open in Dasghara – the Gopinath Temple. It is one of the most beautiful terracotta temple in Bengal. The walls are adorned with tales of the Ramayana and Mahabharata. If one understands the value of heritage, this is no less than a great Indian treasure.
Treasure of Mir Osman Ali
The immense wealth of Osman Ali has been the greatest of Indian treasure mysteries.
Mir Osman Ali was the seventh and last Nizam of Hyderabad. The tales of his immense collection of jewellery is still unbelievable.
Not only was Mir Osman Ali the richest man of the world in his day but even today he stands among the top ten wealthiest men ever. No one actually knows to what extent his wealth actually was. But during the British rule and after India’s independence, it is believed that he hid most of it away in fear of it being taken away.
The Guinness Book of World Records had named him the wealthiest man in the world. After he passed away in 1962, whatever remained was mindboggling. In 2019, a few articles of his were auctioned at Christie’s in New York. In the auction, his few jewelleries were sold at Rs. 700 crore. It was sold by Nawab Najaf Ali Khan, his grandson. A diamond necklace brought him 17 crore and the Nizam’s ceremonial sword a whopping $1,935,000 (Rs 13.4 crore).
As treasure hunters believe, the Nizam’s hidden treasure is actually still out there. Perhaps one day, it will be discovered.
Is Treasure Hunting Legal In India ?
Want to go treasure hunting? Sadly treasure hunting laws are not very friendly in India. The Indian Treasure Trove Act was laid in 1878 and is considered outdated. Reforms are being put forward.
Anything found under 3 feet and more under the ground and with a value of more than Rs. 10 is considered a ‘treasure’ as per law. This means any such object found should be reported to the local authority. The police or concerned authority will first check for any claimants. If claimants are found, the treasure will be divided among the person who found it and the claimants as per Court’s orders. If there is nobody to claim it, everything goes to the finder. However, this applies only for treasures which are less than a hundred years old.
If you find a treasure that is more than a hundred years old, the Central government will decide on its fate with the help of the Archaeological Survey of India. It is necessary so that the antiquities of the country are preserved and taken note of. Without the permission of the government, the finder has no right on the findings.
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