Anantapur, Jul 19: Following the massive treasure haul at the Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala, treasure hunters have begun an expedition to grab a piece of the rich treasures during the Vijayanagara empire that have been buried in secret cellars in parts of Anantapur district, in Andhra Pradesh. [Read: Treasures in AP temples worth more than that of Padmanabha?]
Illegal excavation work is in progress at forts, temples and other monuments with the help of hi-tech scanners and other equipment to find the underground treasure troves, revealed sources. Police officials claim that gangs are operational in Penukonda, believed to be the summer capital of the Vijayanagara kings. Sources claim that an insane amount of gold, jewelery and diamonds are likely to be found here.
The organized gangs are also spreading their excavation work in areas like Gooty, Ratnagiri and Madakasira mandals that housed Vijayanagara forts and other monuments. Folklore says how gold and diamonds were transported on elephants, horses and bullock carts to Penukonda by the rulers Vijayanagara from capital Hampi in Karnataka to prevent looting by Muslim rulers in the 16th century.
Rumours are rife that a person named Kaleswar Baba from Penukonda who is currently building a huge palace and other buildings allegedly got part of the hidden treasure more than 10 years ago that helped him fund the construction. There are also sources who claim that Baba encroached upon certain parts of the Vijayanagara fort and surrounding areas and is alleged to have built illegal structures there. Certain district officials and politicians is believed to have helped him in this.