London: An ancient and priceless statue of Lord Shiva created in the late 9th century “Pratihara” style, is set to be returned back to India. The priceless statue was stolen from a temple in Rajasthan and smuggled to the UK, is set to be returned to its rightful place in India.
The 4 feet tall statue was said to have been stolen from the Gateshwar temple in Baroli, Rajasthan in 1998.
It later emerged that the statue had been brought to the United Kingdom where it was discovered amongst the collection of a wealthy private collector.
Following the combined efforts of the British authorities and Indian officials, the statue was voluntarily handed over by the collector to the Indian High Commission in London in 2005.
Since then, the statue of Shiva – striking a “chatura” pose with Jatamakuta and Trinetra – has taken pride of place at the historic and grand India House in the heart of London.
In 2017, officials from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) were invited to inspect the statue, confirming that it was indeed the statue stolen from the temple in Baroli.
The statue is now all set to be returned to its original home in Rajasthan.
It’s the latest in a string of priceless artefacts and antiquities taken from India and which have been tracked and traced in operations carried out by the Indian government and its counterparts in the UK, USA, Australia, France and Germany.