Idol of Goddess on its way to Kashi Vishwanath temple after being brought back from Canada
It had been stolen from Kashi and smuggled to Canada over a century ago
An idol of Goddess Annapurna, which was retirieved from Canada recently, was handed over to the Uttar Pradesh Government on Thursday in the presence of several Union and State ministers.
The idol will be placed at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi on November 15.
The stone idol measuring 17 x 9 x 4 cm had been stolen from Kashi and smuggled to Canada over a century ago. Devi Annapurna as its name suggests, is the goddess of food and nourishment.
The Archaeological Survey of India received the idol of Goddess Annapurna on October 15 this year, said the Ministry of Culture.
The 18th-century idol was in the University of Regina’s collection at its Mackenzie Art Gallery when it was handed over by the university to India’s High Commissioner to Canada last year, the ministry added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the return of this idol from Canada in his radio broadcast ‘Mann Ki Baat’ in November last year.
The idol was formally handed over to the Uttar Pradesh government at a function in Delhi on Thursday.
Union Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy informed the media that 157 more antiques have been identified from the United States of America and will be returning to India soon.
Minister of State for Culture Meenakshi Lekhi thanked Prime Minister Modi for his efforts in bringing back the idol of Goddess Annapurna back to Kashi Vishwanath.
She said, “The times have changed, earlier the cultural symbols of India were taken out but now the damage is being undone and the treasurers which were lost are now being brought back home to India".
Since 1976, 55 idols have been returned to India. Out of the 55 antiquities, 42 were returned after 2014.
During Prime Minister Modi’s recent visit to USA, 157 artefacts, antiquities and figurines related to Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism were handed over by the government of USA to Government of India.