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UK returns to India 15th Century idols stolen 40 years ago

The bronze images of Lord Rama, Lakshamana and Mata Sita are 90.5 cm, 78 cm, and 745 cm in height respectively and are masterpieces of Indian Metal Art.

These sculptures were stolen from Nagapattinam district of TN in 1978 from a Vijayanagar period temple.

Three sculptures, dating back to the 15th century A.D. which were stolen from a temple in Tamil Nadu 40 years ago, were handed over to the Indian High Commission in London by the British Police on Tuesday, the Ministry of Culture said in a statement.

Union Minister of Culture and Tourism Prahlad Patel virtually attended the handing over ceremony of the three sculptures at the High Commission of India, London. The three sculptures of Lord Rama, Lakshamana and Mata Sita were handed over by British Police to Indian High Commission in London, the state mentsaid.

Speaking on the occasion, Patel expressed his gratitude towards British Police, special Idol Wing, Government of Tamil Nadu, Archaeological Survey of India and the High Commission of India, London for their efforts to bring these precious idols back to India.

“It is a matter of happiness that since independence we received only 13 sculptures from foreign countries but since 2014 we have received more than 40 sculptures and we are trying to get more sculptures in coming years. We are talking to British Museum to bring the Vag Devi idol back to India,” Patel said.

The bronze images of Lord Rama, Lakshamana and Mata Sita are 90.5 cm, 78 cm, and 745 cm in height respectively and are masterpieces of Indian Metal Art. These sculptures were stolen from Nagapattinam district of TN in 1978 from a Vijayanagar period temple. The sculptures are datable to the 15th century A.D., the statement from the ministry said.

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