An exquisite 9th century statue of Natesh Shiva stolen from the Ghateshwar temple in Chittorgarh district of Rajasthan in February 1998 and recovered in London will be on its way to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Thursday.
Indian officials here said that British authorities were alerted in 2003 when it emerged that the statue had been smuggled into the United Kingdom. They interacted with a private collector, who had it in his possession and later voluntarily returned it to the Indian high commission in 2005.
Since then the statue has been displayed prominently in India House. In August 2017 a team of the ASI experts examined the idol and confirmed that it is the same ‘murti’ that was stolen from the Ghateshwar temple in Baroli village.
The statue’s return to India is the latest in recent such priceless items recovered in the UK and handed over to the Indian mission, which has been working with British law enforcement authorities to trace, seize and retrieve several stolen artefacts.
Recent items recovered and repatriated to India include a 17th century bronze idol of Navanitha Krishna and a 2nd century limestone carved pillar motif returned by the US embassy on August 15, 2019; a 12th century bronze statue of Buddha handed over by Scotland Yard on August 15, 2018; and a Bramha- Brahmani sculpture, which was stolen from the world heritage site Rani Ki Vav in Gujarat, returned to ASI in 2017.