Varanasi Annapurna Idol: Key Highlights

The Varanasi Annapurna idol is being brought back to India after a century from Canada. It was stolen from a Varanasi temple about a century ago. This 18th century sculpture is carved in the ‘Benares style’ and is a representation of the goddess of food. The goddess is represented as holding a bowl of kheer and a spoon in her hands. Annapurna is also the deity of Varanasi city.

The idol will be put under the custody of ASI after it is brought back to India. The ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) is the official custodian of such repatriated artefacts.

How did the Annapurna Idol reach Canada?

Annapurna is the Goddess of food. Annapurna Idol is an 18th century Idol and was a part of the University of Regina. Divya Mehra, a Winnipeg based artist was invited to stage an exhibition at the MacKenzie art gallery. While she was researching the collection, she found that the Annapurna Idol was stolen from an inactive temple in the banks of Varanasi in 1913. It was acquired by MacKenzie.

Other repatriated Objects from the West

Union culture minister Prahlad Patel recently returned the bronze Idol of Lord Ram, Lakshman and goddess Sita to the Tamil Nadu Government. The bronze Idol was brought back from UK.

About the Bronze Idol

According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism the idol was stolen from India over twenty years ago. In September 2020, the London Metropolitan police handed over the statue to the high commission of India after they have recovered it.

The idol was stolen from a temple that was built in Vijayanagara period in Tamil Nadu

In the last six years, the Government of India has identified around forty Indian idols in different countries that were stolen between 1977 and 2014. The Archaeological Survey of India records say that 13 of these antiquities have been brought back to India.




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