Indian Police Recovered 55 Looted Hindu Idols

Indian Police Recovered 55 Hindu Idols From Art Collector’s Home, and the Suspicion Is They Were Looted From Indian Temples.

Apr 24, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Indian Police
The Varadharaja Perumal Temple. Source: Wikipedia


Indian police, Chennai recovered 55 Hindu idols from Shobha Durairajan. There is a chance those relics did not come in collector’s hand in a completely legal way. As Durairajan said, she bought these idols from Deenadayalan. This name is famous in art world for smugling stealing valuable art items. Eventhough he is not alive and can’t witness about these facts, there are still ways to find out the truth.


Indian Police Recovered 300 Idols in Last Two Years

Indian Police
Halls in the temple with sculpted pillars. Source: Wikipedia


The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) works to determine the value of artifacts. They likely date back to the 9th or 10th century CE. The director-general of Chennai police, Sylendra Babu spoke about their intervention. “Since the inception of the idol wing, as many as 1,541 stolen antique idols of bronze and stone have been recovered and kept safely at 19 icon centers”, he said.


He also spoke about having a CCTV and trained personel for this type of matter. Also, he said the police managed to seize around three hundred idols in last two years. When it comes to the previously mentined art collector, she has been on police’s radar for quite some time. Idol Wing also questioned her.


Hindu figure
Indian Hindu Bronze Statue of the Goddess Bhudevi.


At the end of last year, the police managed to save seven Indian relics. This include s three looted from the Adhi Kesava Perumal Temple in Ulundurpet Kallakurichi. These stolen artifacts were part of art collector’s collection and properly registered. After the police carefully searched her possessions, they found relics of a large number of Indian-Hindu figures. Some of them are: Adhi Kesava Perumal, Veera Bhadra, Bhoodevi, Sree Devi…

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Hindu Idols in Foreign Countries

brahma god drawing
The Hindu god Brahma, with four heads, Gouache painting by an unknown Indian artist, via the Wellcome Collection


Shobha Durairajan bought them somewhere between 2008 and 2015, from Aparna Art Gallery. When it comes to proof that she bought those idols, she only provided receipts for only four of them. Two others were inscribed on their undersides with “Adhi Kesava Temple”. For now, the police cannot act because art collector is in the US know. When she returns to India, the will be able to take proper action.


The authorities also said they received a tip-off about the idols at collector’s house, and then they took proper action. Police thinks all those idols come from different parts of India. “A total of 64 idols have been found in foreign countries. Idols traced to the US, Australia, Singapore and England have been identified with the help of Indians living in those countries”, the authorities said.


hindu temple ellora caves
Kailasa Temple, Ellora Caves, 8th century AD, via


Now, they are working on how to get them back to India. For example, Singapore agrees to return 16 of them. Negotiation with other countries is still in process. When it comes to the art collector, she said to the police that collecting antiques is her hoby. Everything will be handled in September, when she returns from the US.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.