1 min read.Updated: 15 Jan 2022, 05:26 PM ISTLivemint
The Ministry of Culture informed that the stone idol had been stolen in sometimes the 1980s
Listen to this article
A 10th century stone idol of Goat Head Yogini that had been illegally removed from a temple in Lokhari village in Banda district of Uttar Pradesh is being returned to India, Union Minister of Culture G Kishan Reddy announced on Saturday.
"Repatriation of our rightful artifacts continues: 10th Century Goat Headed Yogini Idol which had been illegally removed from a temple in Lokhari, Uttar Pradesh is being returned to India from UK. @NarendraModi Govt is committed to realise the Civilisational Glory of Maa Bharati," the minister said in a tweet.
The Ministry of Culture informed that the stone idol had been stolen in sometimes the 1980s. The sculpture is of a goat headed Yogini that originally belonged to a group of stone deities in sandstone and installed in Lokhari temple, it said.
According to the statement, these had been the subject of a study by Indian scholar Vidya Dahejia on behalf of National Museum in New Delhi in 1986 which was later published under the title, “Yogini Cult and Temples: A Tantrik Tradition".
“It is learned that the sculpture had briefly surfaced in the art market in London in 1988. In October 2021, High Commission of India received information about the finding of a goat-headed Yogini Sculpture that had matched the description of the Lokhari set, in the garden of a private residence near London," the ministry said.
Following this, India Pride project Singapore and Art Recovery International, London assisted Indian High Commission in London in the identification and recovery of the statue.
Interestingly, a similar sculpture of the buffalo-headed Vrishanana Yogini, apparently stolen from the same temple at Lokhari village had been recovered and repatriated by Embassy of India, Paris in 2013.
Thee Vrishanana Yogini was installed in the National Museum, New Delhi in September 2013.