Some miscreants killed the security guard of 300-year-old ancient temple at Bachunch village in Rohru subdivision and looted the artifacts and ancient idols on Monday night.
Hira Lal, 62, chowkidar of the temple, was present on the temple premises when the robbers struck the temple of Devta Sahib Bondra, a local deity which has immense following in the area.
The palanquin of the deity returned to the village on Monday after participation in the local fair in nearby Chapoti village.
The robbery came to light when the priest of the temple reached for daily morning prayers. He found Hira Lal lying in a pool of blood inside the temple complex. He raised the alarm, following which villagers gathered at the temple.
The police was informed about the incident. The chowkidar had grievous injuries on his head and throat.
"It appeared that the chowkidar, who tried to resist the robbers, was attacked with a sharp-edged weapon," said superintendent of police Abhishek Dullar.
After the robbery news spread in the area, the police set up nakas across the district. "The investigating team is being aided by a team of forensic experts and sleuths from the state CID," additional director general of police Sanjay Kumar said.
"The detailed spot inspections by the police team have yielded important operational and investigation lead," he said.
"A special police team is also analysing the mobile phone towers' data to get more information about the robbery. The police have also sought the video footage of the local fair which was attended by the deity in Chapoti," said a cop from Rohru.Shamsher Thakur, who heads the temple committee, said seven necklaces studded with rare stones known as "mani" and eight idols made of Ashtadhatu were stolen from the temple.
The idols stolen from the temple are said to be 300-year-old.Besides, ornaments made of gold worth Rs. 2 lakh were also stolen. "The value of items stolen from temples runs into crores since idols has a great demand in the international market," said Thakur.