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1,200-year-old sculpture of Lord Vishnu stolen from ASI’s shed in Patna

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Patna: A 1,200-year-old sculpture of Lord Vishnu, kept in the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)’s sculpture shed at Datiana in Patna district has been stolen by thieves, an official said.

The Patna circle of the ASI has brought the matter to the notice of its Headquarters in New Delhi and an FIR has also been lodged, the official said.

“The incident took place on the intervening night of December 25-26, 2022. The sculpture of Lord Vishnu kept in the Sculpture Shed at Datiana, Patna, was stolen. The sculpture was stolen from the shed after cutting/breaking of its gate”,Goutami Bhattacharya, Superintending Archaeologist (ASI, Patna circle) told PTI.

“The intact sculpture was broken leaving the left side of the image depicting a standing female deity/attendant in its place. The sculpture of Vishnu in sthanaka mudra (standing position) is made of black stone with one face and four arms. Two arms have been and the other two are holding a Chakra (wheel) and Gada (mace).

“The sculpture is shown standing on lotus pedestal wearing a kirita-crown and flanked by two female deities/attendants along with ayudha purusha on both sides which are mutilated. The sculpture measuring 100 cm x 60 cm x  20cm is assignable to the Pala period and it must be around 1,200 year old”, said  Bhattacharya.

The Superintending Archaeologist said the matter has been brought to the notice of the police and an FIR was lodged at Vikram Police Station in this regard. The ASI headquarters in New Delhi has been informed about this matter, she said.

Meanwhile, two ‘ashtadhatu’ idols of goddess Sita and Lakshman were reportedly stolen by thieves from Ram-Janaki temple at Kheda village in East Champaran district on Sunday night.

Local police officers are conducting searches to nab the thieves and recover the stolen idols.

According to the priest of the temple, he noticed that two idols were missing from the temple when he entered the temple to clean and wash it on Monday morning.

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