5 panchaloha idols missing from Nagapattinam temple


Tiruchi: Five ancient panchaloha idols were found stolen from the famous Naganathaswamy Temple,one of the Navagraha Sthalams,located near Sembanarkoil in Nagapattinam district.
The ancient temple at Thirukalacheri was used as a storehouse for panchaloha idols from smaller temples in the region for the past few years after rampant idol thefts.In all,135 idols of varying sizes were kept in a guarded room of the temple.The last time they were verified was on August 17 last year when all the 135 idols were found to be safe.
The temples executive officer,Madhanagopal,was recently issued transfer orders and was about to get relieved and join another temple in Villupuram.Before handing over charge to his successor,Madhanagopal did a physical verification of the idols on March 25 and he found that five of the panchaloha idols Lord Selvar,Manickavasagar,Vinayaka and Goddesses Sivakamiamman and Thirumangai Azhvar were missing.He subsequently did an internal probe and lodged a complaint with the Porayar police the next day.None of the temple staff were aware about the missing idols till the verification was done.The exact value of the panchaloha idols,all measuring about one foot in height,was not known.Since there were no marks of forced entry into the room,police strongly suspect that the theft could not have occurred without the support of temple staff.Additional security has been provided for the temple.
Meanwhile,a research team has found stone inscriptions and idols belonging to Chola era,estimated to be 1,000 years old in a village near Tiruchi.The team led by L Thyagarajan,head of the department of history,Government Arts College at Ariyalur,stumbled upon the historical stone tablets and idols during a visit to Kasivisanathar temple in Idangalimangalam Vellanur village near Pullambadi.
In all,the team found eight pieces of stone tablets with engravings of Brahmi script.


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