(Image source from: newindianexpress.com)
The 4 foot tall statue of Lord Shiva was reportedly stolen from the Gateshwar Temple in Rajasthan. The statue was created in the Pratihara style of Rajasthan.
An ancient and most valuable statue of Lord Shiva was stolen from India and was smuggled to UK in 1998. The 4 foot tall statue was created in the Pratihara, a famous style of Rajasthan and is said to have stolen from the Gateshwara Temple in Baroli, Rajasthan.
It later came out that the statue had been brought to the United Kingdom where it was discovered amongst the collection of a wealthy private collector.
After prolonged combined efforts of both the British authorities and Indian officials, the statue was voluntarily handed over by the British collector to the Indian High Commission in London in 2005.
From then, the statue of Lord Shiva striking a Chatura pose with Jatamakuta and Trinetra has been kept at the historic and grand India House in the heart of London.
In 2017, British government invited the Indian officials from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to inspect the statue and the Indian officials have confirmed that the statue was indeed the stolen one from Baroli in Rajasthan.
The British government has then decided to return the statue to India where it should belong i.e., the statue’s original home in Rjasthan.
Reportedly, this Shiva statue is one of the priceless artefacts and antiques taken from India and which has been continuously tracked by Indian officials since it was lost. They have been tracking the statue in the US, UK, Australia, France and Germany.
Some of the other prominent structures of India stolen by the UK include the famous Brahma Brahmani sculpture which was stolen from the World Heritage site Rani ki Vav and was returned to the Archaeological Survey of India in 2017.
In the following year, a 12th century bronze statue of Lord Buddha was returned to India by the London Metropolitan police authorities. They have handed over the sculpture to the Minister of State for Culture by the Finance Minister of India in 2019.
On August 15, 2019, another sculpture which is a 17th century bronze idol of Navanitha Krishna which was stolen by the United States was returned to the Indian High Commissioner by the Embassy of the United States.
Moreover, a 2nd century limestone carved pillar motif was also stolen by the United States and was returned to Indian officials on the same day which it returned the Krishna statue to the Indian High Commissioner.
Indian sculptures, idols and statues dating back to centuries carry a lot of importance in terms of history, prominence and also the invariable price.
By Gayatri Yellayi