The idols have been displayed to allow the public to identify and check the originality of the idols belonging to the temples in their villages.

Ancient idols theft 107 recovered sculptures displayed at TN templeScreenshot from Puthiyathalaimurai news video
news Idol Theft Saturday, February 17, 2018 - 18:29

In a move to help with their identification, 107 recovered ancient idols have been kept for inspection by the public at Pasupatheeswarar temple in Pandanallur village near Kumbakonam.

On February 14, the statues were taken from the Nageswaraswamy temple in Kumbakonam to Pandanallur under the supervision of the Idol Wing of the Tamil Nadu Police.

“The arrangements have been made to allow the public to identify and check the originality of the idols belonging to the temples in their villages. In this regard, village elders and temple authorities from surrounding villages have been invited to the temple in Pandanallur,” explains Idol Wing DSP Ramesh.

Ancient bronze idols belonging to Kizhkattur Vajradhambeswar temple, Aaralur Vishwanadhaswami temple, Kurichi Mariamman temple and Amridhakadeswar temple, Neivaasal Thadakapuriswarar temple, Marathur Sarvalokanadhaswamy temple and Serugudi Virupaatishwarar temple have been kept on display, so that village elders and temple authorities can confirm that they are the original idols and have also not been altered in any way.

At the end of the display period, IG Pon Mannikavel will assess the results of the inspection and make a formal announcement to the public.

It may be recalled that an executive officer (EO) of the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) Department was arrested in November last year in connection with the theft of six idols that were stolen from the Pasupatheeswarar temple a few years ago.

According to a report in the Hindu, A Ramachandran (63), the retired EO of the temple, and Raja (37), a head clerk, were produced before the Kumbakonam Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Court and remanded in judicial custody.

Similarly, in October last year, six panchaloha idols were stolen from the Srinivasa Perumal temple in Perungudi.

Over the last year alone, multiple cases of theft in connection to ancient idols have emerged in Tamil Nadu. In the past, idols have been smuggled to dealers in Mumbai and New Delhi before being shipped off to art galleries abroad.