Stolen Twelfth Century Brahma-Brahmani Idol Retrieved From London, Government Plans To Retrieve MoreThe stolen idol (AP/Twitter)

A marble idol of Brahma and his consort Brahmani from the twlefth century, stolen from Gujarat’s Patan in 2001, was retrieved from London a period of over 16 years, said Indian officials. The Brahma-Brahmani, reached the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in Delhi on 22 December and is currently being stored in the Purana Qila musueum temporarily. Once security arrangements are taken care of by the Baroda circle, it will permanently be housed in Patan.

Director of Antiquities, ASI D N Dimri said that the idol was in ‘satisfactory’ condition and had not been damaged. The idol was stolen from the Rani-ki-Vav in Patan in late 2001 and then smuggled out of the country along with an eleventh century sandstone idol of Lord Ganesha.

The priceless artifact was was found to be in the possession of an individual in London who had put out an advertisement to sell it.

Along with this, the ASI expects several other priceless artifacts stolen from the country to return soon. Among these are the tenth century sandstone idol of Lord Nataraja that was stolen from Rajasthan in 1996 and sold to a British national for a huge sum.

The process to recover a sandstone idol of Vishnu avatar Varaha – stolen from Aturu, Rajasthan – back from Switzerland and an idol of Mahishamardini that was stolen from Patna and is in the United States now.

The antiquities wing of the ASI is responsible for the implementation of the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972, which came into force in 1976. Prior to 1972, antiquities could be exported with a license from an appropriate authorities.

Records show that 25 stolen antiquities have been recovered from various countries since 2014 against the 13 recoveries made in 37 years from 1976 to 2013.

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