Anantapur: In the wake of one of the largest discoveries of treasure in India at the 16th century Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala, treasure hunters and gangs have become active in nearby areas.
As per a newspaper report, Tuesday, several groups of hunters and gangs are believed to be involved in digging work in Anantapur district, in Andhra Pradesh, in a bid to find gold, jewels, precious stones and antiques belonging to the Vijayanagara empire. The gangs are carrying out excavation work at forts, temples and other monuments of the Vijayanagara empire using hi-tech scanners and other equipment to find the hidden wealth, sources said.
According to a police official several gangs are currently operating in Penukonda, the summer capital of Vijayanagara kings. It is believed to be an area having troves of gold, diamonds and other jewellery. Along with Penukonda the entire hillock region in Gooty, Ratnagiri and Madakasira mandals where the Vijayanagara rulers had forts and monuments are being dug up by the gangs.
It is said that diamonds and gold jewellery were transported on elephants, horses and bullock carts to Penukonda by the Vijayanagara rulers from their capital Hampi in Karnataka to protect the wealth from Muslim rulers in the 16th century.
One Kaleswar Baba of Penukonda is currently facing charges of allegedly building a huge palace and multi-storied buildings with the help of hidden treasures of Vijayanagara rulers recovered 10 years ago.
Locals say Baba had even encroached upon areas of the Vijayanagara fort and illegally raised structures there. There were also allegations that he was helped by district officials and politicians in this exercise.