Chennai: An idol of Nataraj, stolen 62 years ago from the Arulmigu Vedapureeswarar Temple in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu, has been traced to New York, USA, said the idol wing of the CID on Monday.
Some thieves broke into the 2,000-year-old temple, being administered by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department, and stole the idol Following a complaint from S Venkatachalam of Thiruvedhikudi village on September 1, the idol wing took up the investigation and found the idol of Nataraj at the temple to be fake and that the original one was missing.
The investigating team sought original photographic images from the Indo-French Institute, Puducherry, and after receiving the original picture, the wing launched a search on the websites of various museums, brochures of artifact collectors and auction houses.
After the search, the team found the original idol at the Asia Society Museum, New York. An expert, who was consulted, confirmed that the idol on the museum’s website was the original idol. “Expeditious action is underway to retrieve the idol under the UNESCO agreement and restore it to the temple from where the idol was stolen,” an official release here said.
The investigation is also on to see if any other idols have been stolen from the temple.