Tamil Nadu: Smuggled 600 Year-Old Nataraja Idol Traced By Idol Wing 36 Years After TheftThe stolen Nataraja idol (@poetryinstone/twitter)

The Idol wing of Tamil Nadu police have traced a Nataraja idol smuggled 36 years ago from a temple in Tirunelveli district to Australia.

As reported by The Hindu, the 600-year-old was traced to a museum in Australia which had bought the statue for Rs 30 crore. The two-and-a-half-foot idol weighs around 100 kg and is said to belong to the Pandiya period.

The team headed by Inspector General A G Ponn Manickavel traced the idol which was stolen from the Kulasekaramudayar Aramvalartha Nayaki Amman temple (built by Kulasekara Pandian) at Kallidaikurich on 5 July 1982.

“Along with the Nataraja idol, the two-feet Sivakami idol was also smuggled. It was recovered after sometime and returned to the temple, but it may not be the original piece. We are making efforts to trace the original idol,” a senior official is said to have told the daily, as quoted.

A one-and-a-half feet tall idol of Manickvasagar and a one-foot tall statue of Sribali Nayagar were also stolen from the temple. But the Tirunelvali district police had wound up the case in 1984, saying the ‘idols were undetected’. But the case was handed to the Idol wing a few years ago and two of its officials Ashok Natarajan and Rajaram succeeded in tracing the idol.

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