After two years, Kotrakshi idol, stolen from Jajpur, will return

In the presence of Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Thursday, officials from the Customs department in this place turned over to the Odisha government an idol dating back to the ninth century that depicts Maa Kotrakshi, an incarnation of goddess Chamunda, that was taken from a temple in Darpanigarh village of Jajpur district in January 2021. The 38 kilogram, 26-inch-tall Astadhatu deity will be returned to the temple in a few days, according to the authorities. The ancient idol was found by the Customs department in September 2022 as it was being shipped from Delhi airport to Hong Kong. According to the authorities, an ASI officer assigned to the cargo area became concerned when she saw the idol in the shipment during the paperwork process and stopped its export. After that, the idol was sent for examination to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Following a comprehensive inquiry, the ASI discovered that the idol was being sold for Rs 3 lakh to a bidder in Hong Kong after being taken from Odisha.

Nonetheless, the authorities said that its worth on the global market was around Rs 3 crore. Three people have been charged by the Customs Department for unlawfully exporting Maa Kotrakshi’s priceless idol. Once all necessary processes were completed, the authorities handed it over to the Odisha government on Thursday. In the presence of Pradhan, the idol was welcomed by a three-person team from the Jajpur police and temple priests. Pradhan was grateful to Customs and ASI authorities for their efforts in retrieving the valuable idol that had been stolen. “I was fortunate enough to witness the momentous event when Customs officers handed over the priceless old idol of Maa Kotrakshi to the Odisha government. Mother Kotrakshi is a representation of the people’ past, religion, and beliefs. This planned idol will be restored at the Kotrakshi temple very soon. The people of Odisha as a whole are quite thrilled today. Thank you for honoring the villagers’ feelings and realizing their long-held hopes and expectations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and Union Minister for Culture and Tourism G Kishan Reddy expressed Pradhan.


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