Bhubaneswar, Nov 3: The stolen Ashtadhatu Idol of Maa Kotrakshi, which had gone missing for years, is set to be reinstated at the temple in Darpangarh, Jajpur district, thanks to the dedicated efforts of Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in response to Pradhan's letter, has conveyed that Delhi Customs has been advised to return the idol to the Maa Kotrakshi Temple in Jajpur district.
Back on July 14, 2023, Pradhan had written to Sitharaman, highlighting the discovery of an Ashtadhatu idol at Delhi airport the previous year. Subsequently, the idol was sent to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for examination, where it was identified as the idol of Maa Kotrakshi, the principal deity of Jajpur. The idol has since been kept at the Customs Commissioner's office in New Delhi Air Cargo.
The idol was reported stolen from Darpangarh on January 11, 2021, leading to a police complaint filed with the Barchana police the following day. As police failed to recover the stolen idol despite continuous protests and demands from the villagers, they installed a replacement idol of the goddess seven months after the theft.
Subsequently, news of the recovery of the Maa Kotrakshi idol in Delhi began to circulate. Learning of this development, the villagers appealed to Union Minister Pradhan to facilitate the idol's return and its reinstallation in the temple. Consequently, the Union Minister reached out to the Union Finance Minister, urging her to instruct Delhi Customs to return the idol to Darpangarh.