CUTTACK: Unidentified miscreants looted three ancient Astadhatu idols from the 8th century Shakti shrine Maa Bhagabati temple at Bateswar village within Salipur police limits late on Sunday night.
The miscreants reportedly broke open the lock on the iron grill gate at the outer compound of the temple and decamped with the precious idols of Goddess Kali, Laxmi-Parvati and Lord Chandrashekhar. The idols weighed over one quintal.
The priests had performed the ‘Sola Puja’ ritual of the deities and locked the gate at around midnight. When they returned on Monday morning for the puja, they found the lock broken. “We were dumbstruck to find three Astadhatu idols missing from the outer compound,” they said.
The miscreants had decamped with three metal idols and left the stone idol. The idols were installed and worshipped at the outer compound of the temple, they stated. Managing trustee of the temple Gagan Bihari Dixit filed a complaint at the Salipur police station following which police rushed to the spot and launched an investigation.
“As per the FIR, the idols are made of Astadhatu metals with height ranging up to one and half feet. We have called upon the endowment inspector to ascertain the antiquity of the stolen idols to pave the way for carrying out further investigation,” said IIC Girija Nandan Patnaik.
Meanwhile, the incident wherein the miscreants have succeeded in targeting the Shakti Shrine on the night before the start of Navaratri has sent shockwaves among the locals and devotees in the area.