Varanasi: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday (November 15) installed a rare idol of Maa Annapurna Devi at Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi. The idol dating back to the 18th century, which was stolen from Varanasi about 100 years ago, was retrieved from Canada recently.
Expressing heartfelt gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister credited him for bringing the idol back to India. "After 108 years, Maa Annapurna's idol has returned to Kashi once again. The credit goes to the MP from Kashi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I express heartfelt gratitude to him on behalf of everyone in Kashi and the state," he said.
Earlier on November 11, the representatives from the Uttar Pradesh Government received the stone statue from the Archaeological Survey of India after a religious ceremony amid the chanting of mantras.
The four-day-long 'Shobha Yatra' of Maa Annapurna was concluded on Sunday night with the idol's arrival in Varanasi.
During the yatra, Maa Annapurna's idol was received with fanfare at several places, including Kasganj, Kanpur, Ayodhya, before reaching its final destination.
The idol is 17 cm in height, 9 cm in breadth and 4 cm in thickness.
According to Union Minister G Kishan Reddy, 42 rare heritage artefacts have been returned to the country since 2014 during the tenure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Whereas between 1976 and 2013, only 13 rare statues and paintings could be brought to India.
At present, 157 sculptures and paintings have been identified abroad. Discussions are going on with several countries to bring them back to India. Efforts are on to bring idols from Singapore, Australia, Switzerland and Belgium. Efforts are also underway for the return of about 100 idols from America.
Maa Annapurna is considered the Goddess of food and nourishment.