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Annapurna idol brought back from Canada installed in Kashi Vishwanath temple

VARANASI, Nov 15: An idol of goddess Annapurna, reportedly stolen and taken away to Canada over a hundred years ago, and which later became a possession of the MacKenzie Art Gallery of the University of Regina there, has been brought back to India and was ceremoniously installed in the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh on Monday. Its consecration was led by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

Carved in stone, the idol is seen carrying a bowl of 'kheer' (rice pudding) in one hand and a spoon in the other. The University of Regina had last year offered to return it to India and it was brought to Delhi. After a four-day journey from Delhi, it reached Varanasi in a procesion and the Chief Minister shouldered the palanquin to the temple.

“Kal tak murtiyan chori hoke bahar jati thi, aaj wapas aa rahi hai (till recently, idols were being stolen and smuggled out but now they are being brought back), Adityanath said after consecrating the idol. It was installed in the north-east area (ishan kon) of the temple premises in the northern entry point.

Addressing a function at the Rudraksh International Convention Centre after the consecration, Yogi extolled the efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in bringing back the idol. He said, “The credit for bringing back the idol of goddess Annapurna from a museum in Canada 108 years after it went missing from Kashi goes entirely to the honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi." Adityanath had arrived in Varanasi on a two-day visit on Sunday night.

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