New Delhi: Union Minister of State for Culture & Tourism (I/C) Shri Prahlad Singh Patel handed over the Bronze idols of Lord Rama, Lakshmana and Goddess Sita to Idol Wing, Government of Tamil Nadu at a ceremony held today in ASI Headquarters, Dharohar Bhawan in New Delhi.Senior officials from the Ministry of Culture, ASI and Government of Tamil Nadu were also present on the occasion.
Earlier, on 15th September 2020, these Bronze idols were handed over to High Commission of India in London by Metropolitan Police, London. As per the photo documentation done in 1958, these idols belong to the Sri Rajagopal Vishnu Temple (temple built during the Vijayanagara period) in Anandamangalam in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu. As per the investigation carried out by the Idol wing of Tamil Nadu police these idols were stolen from the Sri Rajagopal Vishnu Temple on 23/24 November 1978.
The bronze idols of Lord Rama, Lakshmana and Goddess Sita are the masterpieces of Indian Metal Art and are 90.5 cm, 78 cm, and 74.5 cm in height respectively. Stylistically, these sculptures are dateable to the 13th century AD.
Briefing the media during the handing over ceremony, the Minister highlighted that under the able leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, total 40 antiquities have been retrieved from foreign countries to India since 2014 while only 13 such antiquities were retrieved prior to 2014 from 1976.
He congratulated the Archaeological Survey of India, Special Idol Wing, Government of Tamil Nadu, DRI and High Commission of India, London for their continuous efforts in bringing these idolsback to the country.