India is known for some of the most stunning sculptures and statues ever made in the world. Sadly, some of these centuries-old statues, unearthed over a period of time are missing or remain stolen. However, in a remarkable instance, one such statue has made a comeback. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has received a 10th century Shiva statue, ‘Natesh’ from the UK. The stolen Indian artefact was returned on July 30, as per reports.
Shiva Statue Was Stolen 22 Years Ago
The 10th century Shiva statue, depicting the Lord in his dancing avatar, is four feet tall. It was reportedly stolen in February 1998 from Ghateshwar Temple in Baroli, Rajasthan. The statue was later found in the possession of a private collector, who voluntarily returned it to the Indian High Commission in the UK in 2005, according to a statement by the High Commission of India in the UK. Meanwhile, a 200-year Shiva temple was uncovered by villagers in Nellore this June.
HCI with support of HM Government repatriates to Archeological Survey of India, the 10th Century idol of Lord Shiva – 'Natesh', stolen in 1998 from Ghateshwar Temple, Baroli, Rajasthan. #IndiaUK @TheNehruCentre @DCMS @ASIGoI @authoramish @MEAIndia pic.twitter.com/vr6N770k47
— India in the UK (@HCI_London) July 29, 2020
Since then, the statue has been residing at India House in London. In 2017, ASI experts confirmed that it was the same statue that was missing from the Ghateshwar Temple. Now, over two decades later, the stone statue has been repatriated to India.
Ancient Indian Artefacts retrieved from US, UK
ASI has been on a mission to retrieve other such artefacts that have been stolen from several prominent sites in India. Last year, ASI brought back 17 antiquities that had been smuggled from India to the US. A Buddha bronze statue was retrieved on August 15, 2018. Apart from these, in 2017, the organisation was handed over the Bramha-Brahmani sculpture, which was stolen from Gujarat. Speaking of Gujarat, the iconic Statue of Unity in the state made it to the Time Magazine’s 100 Greatest Places In The World.
Unique Shiva Temples and Shrines in India
The Ghateshwar Temple in the Chittorgarh district of Rajasthan is a prominent Shiva temple in North India. Amarnath is another popular shrine, located at a height of 12,756 ft in the Himalayas. Apart from these, South India is also home to some of the most stunning temples dedicated to the lord, with the region hosting a large concentration of Shaivites. The Nellaiappar Temple in Tamil Nadu is one such architectural marvel, known for its pillars that produce music. The Indian government has been making notable efforts since many years to preserve the country’s vivid culture and heritage. Meanwhile, here are 5 things you did not know about the iconic Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai: