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| Last Updated:: 25/09/2019

Nataraja idol stolen 37 years back, makes a grand return to Kallidaikurichi temple







Festive spirit gripped Kallidaikurichi in Tirunelveli district as thousands of devotees from nearby villages thronged the village to welcome the idol that went missing from Kulasekaramudaiyar Aram Valartha Nayaki Ambal Temple in 1982. They also gave a heroic welcome to designated idol wing officer Pon Manickavel and his team for their efforts to retrieve the idol.





The idol reached Kallidaikurichi border from Tenkasi in a police van around 8.10 am, where it was decorated with flowers and carried through all the important streets accompanied by musical instruments. Devotees drew rangoli in front of all the houses to welcome the deity and sprinkled flowers throughout the route. They also sang ‘Panniru Thirumaraigal’ that was recited at the temple when it housed the idol.





Meanwhile, court-appointed special officer for the idol wing Pon Manickavel said three more idols stolen along with the Nataraja idol from the Kulasekaramudaiyar Aram Valartha Nayaki Ambal Temple in 1982 will soon be brought back.




About the three idols – Sivakami Amman, Karaikal Ammayar, Srivilli Vinayagar – he said that they have got some leads and efforts are on to retrieve them. He estimated the value of the 2.5 feet tall Nataraja idol at ₹28 crore to ₹30 crore. He refused to disclose the people behind the theft, how it was smuggled and about the arrests in connection with the case.





The Nataraja idol was carried through the roads of Madurai in a huge procession on Tuesday





Source: The Times of India, 25 September 2019, Chennai.