Return of the Nataraja

The villagers are waiting with hope for the iconic piece to be brought back to the temple from where it was stolen.

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:05 pm IST

Published - September 06, 2014 04:06 am IST

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds a bronze Nataraja idol handed over by his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott before their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Friday. PTI Photo by Shrish Shete(PTI9_5_2014_000298B)

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds a bronze Nataraja idol handed over by his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott before their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Friday. PTI Photo by Shrish Shete(PTI9_5_2014_000298B)

The news of the return of the 1,000-year-old bronze Nataraja idol of the Sripuranthan temple has gladdened the village in Ariyalur district.

The villagers are waiting with hope for the iconic piece to be brought back to the temple from where it was stolen.

“We feel immensely happy. We have got back our priceless property which we lost years ago,” said S.S. Jei Suda, a resident of Sripuranthan and chairman of the T. Palur panchayat union.

“It was a brilliantly crafted and rare idol,” recalls G. Ravanan, 65, a resident of Sripuranthan. He had seen the idol when it would be taken out in a procession during the Thiruvathirai festival.

The whole village felt distressed when it was stolen a decade ago. In fact, the residents then felt that there was no point in staying in the village any longer, he said. “When we hear that the stolen idol is being handed over to the country we have no words to express our delight,” he said.

“The idol should be given back to the village and installed in the temple with proper safety measures so that pujas could be performed to it once again,” says Ms. Sudha.

“We will feel doubly happy if the idol is returned to the temple,” says R. Ulaganathan, also a native of Sripuranthan and district secretary of the Communist Party of India. He urged the State government to arrange for security measures in the temple once the idol was brought back.

There is a sense of elation among investigators who made painstaking efforts to trace the idol and bring it back to the country. “We feel happy that our sustained efforts have borne fruit,” says a police officer attached to the Idol Wing CID handling the case. In all, eight idols were stolen from the temple.

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