Cassian Baliarsingh

The rare century-old ‘Ashtadhatu’ idol of Goddess ‘Kotrakshi’, which was stolen from a temple in Odisha’s Jajpur, has finally been brought back to Odisha. 

A team led by Jajpur DSP received the ancient idol, believed to be from the ninth or tenth century, and brought it back to Odisha today. The team on Friday landed at the Bhubaneswar airport and is on their way to Jajpur.

The idol which is believed to be an incarnation of Goddess Chamunda will be reinstalled at the temple from where it was stolen, it was learnt. Custom officials at the New Delhi airport seized the idol of the goddess while it was being exported to another country.

According to sources, the rare idol, considered an antique, was stolen from a temple at Darpangarh village in Jajpur district on January 11, 2021. On learning about the incident, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan requested Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for her cooperation in ensuring the return of the stolen idol.

Through a letter, he requested the Finance Minister to intervene and return the idol after it was seized by customs officials and was with the Customs Commissioner’s New Delhi air cargo.

For the unversed, Maa Kotrakshi is a symbol of faith, community spirit, and heritage and is the presiding deity of Darpangarh village.

Worth mentioning, the villagers had installed another idol of Maa Kotrakshi seven months after the theft. However, the idol which is around 26-inch and weighs 38 kg, will be reinstalled at the temple very soon.

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