Stolen Hanuman idol of Ariyalur temple retrieved from Australia
In 2020, the Idol Wing police traced the Hanuman idol, belonging to a Vishnu temple in Velur village near Sendurai in Ariyalur, to Australia.
CHENNAI: A Hanuman idol stolen from a temple in Ariyalur district was traced to Australia in 2020 and was handed over to the officials of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in New Delhi through the Indian High Commission in Canberra in February this year. The state Idol Wing CID police will bring the idol back to Tamil Nadu and give it to the temple in the coming days.
In 2020, the Idol Wing police traced the Hanuman idol, belonging to a Vishnu temple in Velur village near Sendurai in Ariyalur, to Australia. The idol was bought by a private art collector through Christies, USA.
The Hanuman idol, along with the idols of Varadaraja Perumal, Sridevi and Bhoodevi were stolen in 2012 by breaking open the temple doors. Initially the case was filed at Sendurai police station and it was later transferred to the Idol Wing CID in 2020.
An investigation launched by the Idol Wing found the idol on the website of Christie’s, New York, USA. It was later found that the idol as bought by a US citizen, an art collector, in Australia through an auction. With the help of Indian and Australian governments, the man was contacted, and he agreed to hand over the idol to India.
The idol was first handed over to the Government of Australia through the US Embassy. Then it was handed over to the Indian High Commission in Canberra, Australia who sent it to ASI. Officials of the Idol Wing police said after getting the idol it will be given back to the temple through the special court in Kumbakonam. The other three idols are yet to be traced, the police said.