Thanjavur: The beautiful Nataraja icon made of 'panchaloha', brought from a museum in Australia by the Idol wing police, which belongs to Kulasekaramudaiyan Samedha Aramvalartha Nayagiamman temple at Kallidaikurichi in Tirunelveli district, was produced at the Kumbakonam court dealing with idol theft cases on Monday.
The 'Vigraha' was given a reverential welcome by people, members of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, (VHP), Hindu Makkal Katchi and Sivanadiars, as it was brought to the court. Flower petals were offered and a musical instrument 'Sivaboothagana Vadhyam' was played.
The Idol wing police led by ASPs', R. Rajaram, V. Malaisamy and DSP, Kathiravan produced the icon in the court. The measurements of the icon were checked by court officials. Later, Venkatesan, EO of Kallidaikurichi temple and 'archaka' Krishnamurthy filed a petition to give the icon to the temple.
Following this Judge ordered that the icon be given to the temple authorities. He said that it should be taken to the temple and kept with full security. The icon should be guarded by the police round-the-clock in shifts.
Accordingly idol wing police took the icon to Kallidaickurichi with police escort. Prior to taking the icon to Kallidaikurichi, Rajaram, Additional SP, Idol wing told presspersons that the icon weighed 30 kilos and 300 grams. It is 75-cm high and 47-cms wide. He said that the icon along with other icons of Sivakami Amman, Manikkavasagar and Vinayagar was allegedly stolen from the temple in 1982. A case was registered by the Kallidaikurichi police but it could not make any progress and it was closed in 1984.
A special investigation team led by Pon Manickavel, former IG now special
officer, took up the investigation. Enquiries revealed that the icon was in a museum in Australia. With the help of archaeological experts, it was proved to Australian Government that the icon belonged to Kallidaikurichi temple by the idol wing police.
The Australian government and museum authorities agreed to give back the icon and it was brought to New Delhi by air on September 11 and handed over to Pon Manickavel and his team. Later the icon was brought to Chennai by train.
Mr. Rajaram said they are taking the icon to Kallidaikurichi as per the order of the court. It will be placed in the temple on Tuesday. Krishnamurthy, 'archaka' of the temple said that a reverential welcome will be given to the icon by people of Kallidaikurichi on Tuesday. "After the icon went missing, we used another icon of Nataraja and Sivkamiamman for worship. Now the original icon will be placed in its place. It is home coming for the Lord," Krishnamurthy said....