18th-century idol of Annapurna to start its journey for Kashi Vishwanath Temple on Nov 11

Published on Nov 02, 2021 10:19 PM IST

The idol was smuggled out to Canada over 100 years ago and was part of the University of Regina’s collection in its MacKenzie Art Gallery until recently.

The stone statue of goddess Annapurna.(Don Hall/University of Regina)
The stone statue of goddess Annapurna.(Don Hall/University of Regina)
By | Written by Kunal Gaurav, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

An 18th-century idol of Hindu goddess Goddess Annapurna Devi retrieved from Canada begin its journey for Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, the ministry of culture announced on Tuesday. The idol was smuggled out to Canada over 100 years ago and was part of the University of Regina’s collection in its MacKenzie Art Gallery.

The university decided to return the idol after it, according to a release from the Indian high commission, discovered that the statue may have been acquired “under suspicious circumstances and did not conform to current principles of ethical acquisition”. The statue was handed over by the vice-chancellor of the university to India’s high commissioner to Ottawa, Ajay Bisaria, during a virtual event last year.

The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) received the idol on October 15 and will be placed at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

Also Read | Canada to return 18th century Annapurna statue to India

The Union minister for culture and tourism G. Kishan Reddy said that he will provide further details of the journey of Goddess Annapurna’s idol on Wednesday during a media briefing at Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s official residence in Lucknow. He will also highlight the efforts made by the Narendra Modi-led Central government to retrieve and bring home the idols and antiquities from various countries.

The ministry said that the idol will be taken from Delhi to Aligarh on November 11 and then to Kanauj on November 12 and reach Ayodhya on November 14. Finally, the statue will reach Varanasi on November 15 where it will be placed at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple after the appropriate rituals.

The ministry further stated that it is working closely with the ministry of external affairs to repatriate the antiques which hold heritage value and have local importance.

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