Antique idols stolen from Himachal temple recovered

Shimla: In a major breakthrough, Himachal Pradesh Police Friday recovered antique idols stolen from a historic temple in Kullu town last month.

Additional Director General Sanjay Kundu told reporters the idol of Lord Raghunath and other idols were recovered.

He said all the idols and ornaments were recovered from the outskirts of the town, about 200 km from here. Robbers involved in the theft were yet to be arrested.

The robbers entered the Lord Raghunath temple in Sultanpur in Kullu Dec 9 from the roof and took away the idols of Lord Raghunath and Hanuman, both made of 'ashtadhatu' (a composite of eight metals), a stone statue of Narsingh Shila (covered with gold), one silver Ganesh idol and a pair of Charan Paduka besides ornaments.

Police have announced a reward of Rs.10 lakh for providing clues about the robbers.

Raja Jagat Singh, the erstwhile ruler of Kullu, obtained the Lord Raghunath idol from Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh and built the temple in the 17th century.

Police have called it one of the biggest heists in a religious place in the state.

The Kullu Dussehra, a centuries old festival, is associated with Lord Raghunath, the chief deity.

In the past 15 years, at least 100 thefts from temples have been reported, over 20 of them notable ones, according to police record.

Police suspect the involvement of Nepali migrants and foreign antique smugglers.

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