Daundia Khera fort: The Indian Eldorado?

Indian archaeologists were sent scrabbling to a ruined fort in Uttar Pradesh after a charismatic guru (known as a godman) revealed he had dreamt of a huge cache of buried gold at the site.

The godman, Shobhan Sarkar, said he had a dream that 1,000 tons of gold lay buried in the remnants of a fort in Daundia Khera village, about 500km southeast of New Delhi.

"The dead ruler's spirit has been roaming the palace and asking for the gold to be dug up. It is a hidden treasure for the country," Sarkar said.

The fort belonged to Raja Rao Ram Bux Singh, a 19th century local ruler and Indian martyr who fought the British during the country's struggle for independence in 1857 and has long been associated with local stories of hidden treasure.

Soon after officials of the the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Geological Survey of India (GSI) had surveyed the site, the results indicated the presence of metal under the ground.

Will India find another Padmanabhaswamy treasure?

This latest excavation, which started on 18 October, echoes a similar incident in 2011 when a multi-billion dollar gold cache was found at the Padmanabhaswamy temple in the southern state of Kerala.

The trove worth $4.9 billion (£30.6 billion), consisting of gold jewels and other precious metals, was discovered in the temple's secret chambers. It remains in the temple's custody.

The government has been considering taking over custody of gold treasure in several temples in a bid to shore up its ailing economy but will have to fight relatives of Raja Rao, the local government and the state government of Uttar Pradesh which have already staked their claim for the king's hidden treasure.

Experts, however, believe that 1,000 tons of gold is probably too big a trove to have been possessed by a small ruler such as Rao.

Instead the gold may have belonged to a number of other prominent Indian rulers of 1857, including Rani Lakshmi Bai, who could have given their gold to Rao for safekeeping.

Local people, however, are convinced the swami's dream is true and hundreds of villagers gathered to help out with clearing the site.

"People treat the swami like a god. I am 100 per cent certain," village headman Ajay Singh told The Independent.

"I heard stories as a child. We are hopeful," Sagar, a villager who cleared the ground for excavation, said.

Indian archaeologists have started digging at a ruined fort following a godman's dream that 1000 tons of gold may be found at the site. (Photo: Reuters)