There are many cases of idols of deities being stolen from southern temples over 40 years old. Three bronze statues were stolen from South Indian temples now found in the united states. The bronze sculptures have now returned to the Indian government officials. Bronze statues represent some of the most acclaimed deities. Three idols were discovered – Lord Rama, Goddess Sita, and Lord Lakshmana.
These idols belong to the Vijayanagara Empire Temple located in the Tamil Nadu state, which was built in the 15th century, these idols were stolen from its temple in 1978.
Vijayanagar is one of the most important trading centers in the world.
The sculptures were recovered due to help from the efforts of groups of enthusiasts, police investigation teams from two countries, and Indian diplomats.
The recovery of these statues began four years ago, where the website of the British Antique Dealers Association was created by a member of the India Garvey Project, which helps recover these statues.
S. Vijayakumar was the co-founder of the project. He said that he identified it as Vijayanagar bronze.
The group of people is well aware that there were some historical temples in South India, which had similar sets of statues, together with the statue of Lakham was missing, so they would try and see if the photo from this idol matched the idol Yes or No.
They found guides to districts and temples with similar people but failed to match them for three years.
But in the fourth year while searching for Indian antique sculptures on sale, one of the group’s members in London, found a grainy picture of a similar-looking bronze, but the statues had a different crown at the time.
They then begin to see a case where the idols of Indians were stolen.
He again put a start to his research and found a large piece of the puzzle at the French Institute of Pondicherry.
The photograph was taken on 15 July 1958. In this picture, it showed the complete set of idols at Rajgola Swamy Temple in Anandamangalam village. He had a lot of witnesses to this sculpture, so he approached the high commission of India in the United States.
In 2019, he gathered all the evidence and gave this information to the police.
Police later contacted the dealer who advertised the sculpture. The locals of this village confirmed that these idols were stolen from the temple but still lacked evidence.
A few days later the police found proof that is actually helpful to them. On 24 November 1978, a complaint was filed which revealed that the sculpture was stolen from the temple.
Then in 1988 he discovered that three people had pleaded guilty to the theft and several crimes, but said they sold the idols to people they don’t know. But it is not yet clear how the smuggling of the idols from India to the United States is still a mystery.
According to the police, once the dealer was satisfied that the statues were a match, he returned to the police, even with two other idols from the same set.
The handover finally took place on 15 September 2020. Three idols were found, but the set is still not complete, the fourth idols will be missing by then, which are of Lord Hanuman.
Indian officials said that the statue is suspected to be in a Singapore museum but they are not sure whether the statue is still there or sold, the statue is worth millions of dollars. The values of these idols are priceless, all of them are very precious, these are some of the things we worship.
Even the Indian government still tries to find these types of statues, if any of them were stolen earlier because it is something that makes our country special and incredible!