In the upcoming months, Rajasthan will get five stone idols from the sixth and seventh centuries from the US government. Between 1965 and 1968, these Lord Ganesha and Hindu goddess statues were shipped by sea from an archaeologically significant Tanesar Mahadev temple in the Udaipur region to the United States.
To convince the Antiquities Trafficking Unit (ATU), New York Country Attorney's Office that the idols were taken from the Indian temple and date to the Guhila Dynasty (7th Century), it took the Department of Archaeology and Museology (DAM) of Rajasthan about a year.
These idols were discovered when an Indian cultural organization saw images of them in an American magazine a few years ago. They requested that the idols housed in a few US museums be returned to India.
The source or proof of its entry into the US was not available. Until PM Narendra Modi imported 157 artefacts from the US in 2021, the situation remained secret. The Union Ministry of Culture was consulted, and it was revealed that the idols may have originated in Rajasthan.
It is now slated to be completed by March 2024.“This delay has seen appreciation in input cost of the refinery under various heads. Steel prices have shot up by 45% as well as cement, etc. Even the exchange rate has shot up by 15%, contributing to the cost overrun,” Puri said.
Mahendra Khadgawat, director of DAM, who has been in negotiations with US officials over the past 8 to 10 months, acknowledged that the process of recovering the stolen idols was far along.
Sources: Times of India