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Missing Chola-era temple idols, case booked after 47 yrs
The Idol Wing police on Thursday registered a case after 47 years on the theft of seven bronze idols from an early Chola period temple near Kumbakonam.
Sources from Idol Wing police said that on May 12, 1971, the locks of the 1,300-year-old Chola temple dedicated to Natanapureeswarar Shiva at Thandanthottam village, located 10 km from Kumbakonam, were broken and five bronze idols were stolen.
The stolen one-foot tall Krishna Kalinga idol; one and a half foot tall Krishna idol; two and a half foot tall Agasthiyar idol; half foot tall Ayyanar idol and half foot Amman idol are valued to be Rs 60 crore. The Idol Wing sources said that in spite of the HR and CE department and police officials then being aware of the incident, no case was registered on the same. The complaints of the people in the locality were also not paid heed to for 47 years.
Additionally, a year after this theft, in 1972, two more bronze idols of Nataraja and Kolu Amman were stolen. The stolen Nataraja idol was even traced to a museum in London, which was later moved to the USA.
17 more idols, apart from the stolen ones, belonging to this temple now lie within the strong room of the Uppiliyappan temple in Tirunageshwaram.
Vasu Aiyar filed a complaint about the stolen idols and also filed another complaint claiming that besides the 17 idols in Uppiliyappan temple, many other antique idols were stolen and replaced with fake replicas.
Based on his complaints, the Idol Wing police have registered a case under sections 457 (house breaking), 380 (theft), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC and section 25 (1) of The Antiquities and Art Treasures ACT, 1972. Investigations are on.
The temple dedicated to Natanapureeswarar Shiva at Thandanthottam village is being maintained by the Village Welfare Society and is not in the control of the HR and CE department.