In the end, the entire effort was for a lost cause! By Sunday evening, reports of a hidden treasure of yore, apparently hidden under a tunnel at the foothills of Naubath Pahad in Vidyaranya School campus, could not be verified. The earthmovers dug till 10 feet deep at the spot but nothing came out. The excavation was postponed for Monday.

The Archaeology Department officials took up excavation activities after receiving a sworn affidavit from nine persons. The persons who reported included workers employed during construction of a building adjacent to the Vidyaranaya School campus. The affidavit was also signed by a Coal India executive, Sitaram Raju, whose children are studying in the school.

“I happened to know one of the construction workers who spotted a tunnel and a hall near the foothill of Naubath Pahad. I also saw a glimpse of the gate when I visited the spot as a parent. We are not interested in creating any nuisance here. We just wanted to bring it to the notice of authorities,” Mr. Raju said.

Initially, the Archaeology Department officials employed labourers for digging work. By Sunday noon, it became clear that they had to dig deeper. Earth-moving machine was brought to the spot by afternoon and eventually excavation work picked up pace.

“We are not sure about the background of people who had submitted the affidavit. I have been to the school since my childhood and there was nothing here except for an open area. There were no accounts or legends of hidden treasures. The family of Rameshwar Rao of Wanaparthy Samsthan, who lived here, would have known about it,” said co-convenor, INTACH, P. Anuradha Reddy, who is related to the Rameshwar Rao family. Throughout Sunday, the digging work continued with little success.

“We have decided to continue the excavation work for a few hours on Monday. By noon if nothing comes out, then we would call-off the excavation,” Director of Department of Archaeology, Prof. P. Chinna Reddy said.