NEW DELHI: The 13th century idol of Surya (Sun God), one of the precious possessions of the National Museum, has been placed at its previous location; foyer of the building at Janpath. Following the development, a group of staff from the museum, who were upset with the displacement, are now relieved.
“Originally from the UNESCO World Heritage site Sun Temple in Konark, the deity was removed from the place a couple of years ago to make way for an augmented reality (AR) projection system, which was installed in 2021,” said an official of the museum.
The idol was first kept in the museum’s ‘reserve’ and later at one of the corridors. It was brought back to the forefront last month, the official added. According to the officials, the sculpture made of stone was installed in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, which was built around 1250 in the reign of
King Narasingha Deva (1238-64). It marks the apogee of foundations dedicated to the Sun God.
The idol is one of the significant and rare antiquities in the rich repository of the museums. The other rarest artefacts displayed at the museum are Dancing Girl, bronze figurine dating to 2500 BCE, recovered during excavation at Mohenjo-daro, now in the province of Sindh (Pakistan), Pashupati Seal, also from 2500 BCE, and a bronze sculpture of Nataraj (13th century), Chola dynasty.
“The idol was kept at the entrance hall, where a reception-existed. This is one of the rarest artefacts the museum possesses. Putting it in the foyer is the right decision,” said a staff member.
National Museum houses rare antiquities
The Surya idol is one of the rare antiquities in the museum. The other rarest artefacts displayed are Dancing Girl, bronze figurine dating to 2500 BCE, recovered during excavation at Mohenjo-daro, Pashupati Seal, and a bronze sculpture of Nataraj (13th century), Chola dynasty.