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The Unsolved Mystery of Gold Beneath the Subarnarekha River




“Subarnarekha” meaning “Streak of Gold”. A river that flows part the trip states of Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal. You must be thinking that the name is related to any ancient mythological events or tales. But the truth is, the river truly has pure gold in the water beneath. And it’s not a recent phenomenon, the gold has been there in the river bed for years. The river has been recently been on the headlines of major newspaper houses.

A “Storehouse” of Gold

The mystery is yet to be deciphered of this unusual occurrence. Its truly an astonishing circumstance to witness such huge amounts of gold in a river. An estimated amount of 60 to 80 gold particles are extracted in a month. Scientists have tried to find out the source of this gold, but till now they have not been able to discover the solution behind this strange phenomenon.

The History behind the river Subarnarekha

The river mainly crosses past the Ratnagarbha region in the state of Jharkhand. Both the main river and its tributary Karkari are triumphed with gold particles for years.

The 474 km long river started from Rani Chuan in Nagdi village near Ranchi in Jharkhand. Before merging into the Bay of Bengal, it passes through the neighbouring states of West Bengal and Odisha. It is believed that gold was first mined at Piska, a village in Ranchi, near to the originating point of the river. Later gold particles were discovered in the river bed and sand beneath.

Gold extraction happens year around

The local tribal workers in the surrounding region are employed to filter the sand and extract the gold from the river bed. The activity happens throughout the year except during the monsoons. The size of the gold particles are of that of a rice grain and sometimes even smaller than that.

In the Tamar and Saranda regions, the work has been carried out for generations. People from different indigenous communities are engaged in the sand filtration and gold extraction work. Almost every member of the household is engaged in the gold mining activities. It’s a tedious work and sometimes involves days to complete the extraction work.

Churning out the gold particles from the river bed throughout the day is hectic and requires immense patience. It’s the sheer hard work of the locals that results in gold particles being filtered out from the river bed and then handed over to goldsmiths for further polishing and preparing jewellery.

Do you know?

The legendary novelists Rabindranath Tagore and Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay have mentioned about the river Subarnarekha in some of their novels and poems. Besides the famous Bengali film director, Ritwik Ghatak, had directed a film named Subarnarekha in Bengali focused on the partition of Bengal.

With high hope that the mystery will be revealed sometime in future, let us feel proud of this absolute wonder on Indian soil.