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Back home after 100 years! Stolen idol to be reinstalled at UP temple

An idol of Goddess Annapurna that was stolen from Varanasi almost a century ago and was just discovered in Canada is poised to be returned to its proper location and will be gracing the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi later this week. The idol, which has arrived in Delhi, will be transported to Aligarh, from where it will be transported to Kanauj on November 12 and finally to Ayodhya on November 14. After that, on November 15, the idol will be carried to Varanasi and then to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

Yogi Adityanath, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, will consecrate the idol on that day. It measures 17 centimetres in height, 9 centimetres in width and 4 centimetres in thickness. The recovery of the Annapurna statue follows the discovery and return of a number of treasures in recent years to the country of origin. According to the report, 157 sculptures and paintings considered to be from India have been discovered overseas, and talks are underway with the relevant governments to return them to their rightful owners. 157 artefacts and antiques connected to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, as well as cultural items, were recently given back to India during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the United States.

The 157 pieces on display range in size from a one-and-a-half-metre bas relief panel of Revanta in sandstone from the 10th CE to the 8.5-centimetre-tall, beautiful bronze Nataraja from the 12th CE. Officials from the Uttar Pradesh government arrived at Delhi Airport to receive the idol, which will be returned to the state.

‘UP govt will take out a 4-day Mata Annapurna Devi Yatra to Varanasi. On 15th Nov, the idol will be installed at Vishwanath Temple by CM Adityanath’, said Awanish K Awasthi, Additional Chief Secretary, Home Dept, UP Govt.

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Three statues stolen 42 years ago from the old Rajagopalaswamy temple in Tamil Nadu were found in London last year and returned to the temple. This 15th-century temple’s four bronze statues of Lord Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman were stolen in 1978. Porayar police had registered a case and even arrested three individuals, but the idols could not be found. After information was supplied by a Singapore-based nonprofit organisation, three of the four stolen idols were found from an antique collector in London.


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