An antique idol of Krishna in panchaloha was stolen from the Anandawalleshwaram Sree Mahadevar temple in the city on Sunday morning. The idol was taken away between 5.30 a.m. and 5.45 a.m., the police said. Devotees who came to the temple for the morning darshan at 5.30 a.m. had seen the idol.
For years, the idol was kept inside an auxiliary sreekovil of the temple along with the idols of Vishnu, Lakshmi, and Bhoomi Devi.
The idols were recently removed and kept inside a small concrete chamber in the courtyard of the temple, near the entry gate, to facilitate the renovation of the sreekovil. Devotees used to pray at the chamber.
Once the temple was closed, the chamber was kept locked. In the morning it used to be opened by 5 a.m. Ayyappan, a devotee, says he saw the idol at 5.15 a.m. on Sunday.
As news of the theft spread, devotees began arriving at the temple. A police team headed by City Police Commissioner P. Prakash, a dog squad, and fingerprint experts inspected the scene.
Commissioner of the Travancore Devaswom Board C.P. Rama Raja Prasad held a meeting with the temple authorities.
Later, Labour Minister Shibu Baby John and N.K. Premachandran, MP, arrived at the temple.
Temple records say the idol should be more than 400 years old. It originally belonged to a Brahmin household and was later handed over to a Kollam king who installed it at the Puthukulangara Siva temple. The area later came to be called Anandawalleshwaram after the installation of an idol of goddess Anandawalli in the temple.