Over two decades after being stolen and smuggled to Britain, a 10th century Lord Shiva statue is set to be repatriated to India. The four-foot-tall statue will be handed over to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Thursday.
High Commission of India (HCI) in London tweeted the picture of the idol, saying the priceless 10th Century idol of Lord Shiva - 'Natesh' is being restored to India with the help of UK government.
HCI with support of HM Government repatriates to Archeological Survey of India, the 10th Century idol of Lord Shiva - 'Natesh', stolen in 1998 from Ghateshwar Temple, Baroli, Rajasthan. #IndiaUK @TheNehruCentre @DCMS @ASIGoI @authoramish @MEAIndia pic.twitter.com/vr6N770k47— India in the UK (@HCI_London) July 29, 2020
The Indian authorities alerted officials in the UK in 2003, when it was found that the idol has been smuggled to London. A private collector then voluntarily returned the idol to the Indian High Commission in 2005.
Ever since, the idol was on display at the HCI. In 2017, a team of ASI officials examined the idol and confirmed the authenticity of the Indian relic.
In the recent past, three 6th and 8th-century artefacts were returned to India by Australia. These had been smuggled by a New York-based art smuggler, Subhash Kapoor.
From 2018-2019, the US has repatriated at least four artefacts to India, including a 17th century bronze idol of Navanitha Krishna, a 2nd century limestone carved pillar motif and a bronze statue of Lord Buddha.