13,643 kms away from its original rightful place of Nadanapureshwarar Sivan Temple in Kumbakonam, the idol of Golu Amman ‘Parvati’ that vanished 50 years ago was traced to the Bonhams Auction House in New York. It is due to the consistent effort of a few from the village that the idol is making its way back to India. Here’s all you need to know about this 12th-century idol
This Golu Ammman idol is part of the seven idols which were stolen from Kumbakonam in 1971 and 1972. According to the complainant, K S Vasu, the first “5 idols, two Sambanthar, one Agathiyar, one Ayyanar, one Pushkala” were stolen in 1971, and Natarajar and this Golu Amman Parvati idol went missing on the 20th of May 1972. In both cases, no FIR was registered despite complaints being filed.
According to the press release by the Tamil Nadu Idol Wing Criminal Investigation Department, the copper-alloy idol is 52 cms in height and is valued at US$ 212,575 (about ₹ 1,68,26,143). The statue shows Parvati in a standing position wearing a crown that culminates into a lotus bud. This pattern also is seen on the necklaces, armbands, girdle, and garment adorned by the goddess.
The Idol wing relied on the work by noted art historian C Sivaramamurti to trace the idol to the Chola style of the 12th century. Chola dynasty is one of the longest ruling dynasties stretching for over five centuries in South India until the arrival of Pandyas in the 13th century. The significance of finding an idol from an era of rulers known for an antiquity is said to add to efforts to preserve the cultural heritage of Tamil Nadu
K S Vasu based on whose complaint that a FIR was registered in 2019 and the matter gained significance for the police to register an FIR has said that the efforts were on since 1971 to trace the idol, however no efforts were made to recover the idol as no FIR was registered.
In 1975, the then Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments managing trustee member Ramakrishnan had also written to the Thanjavur SP regarding the inaction and non-registration of FIRs in the two complaints, but to no avail. In 2019, petitions were filed in the Madurai high court and matters escalated to filing of FIRs after the petition.
However, this is not the only idol which is missing and to be recovered. The complaint, K S Vasu has said, “Consistently, I have been fighting to bring back these 7 idols back to my village. They are ancient and priceless. According to the puranas, the Nataraj idol is Ananda Thandava Natraja and dates back to 300 years even before Chidambaram