Kathmandu, April 4
The Department of Archaeology was handed over centuries-old idols of Uma Maheshwor and Lord Buddha which went missing from Kathmandu in the 1980s, today.
The lost idols were brought back to Nepal with support from Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and New York-based Consulate General of Nepal. The idols which were parcelled in highly protective casings were sent straight to the DoA from Tribhuvan International Airport.
Daniel H Weiss of the New York museum and Consul General of Nepal Madhu Marasini had signed an agreement earlier on sending the idols back to Nepal. The idols were formally handed over to the DoA by a representative of consul general amidst a press meet.
It is believed that the stone-carved image of Uma Maheshwor (Shiva Parvati), which was originally situated in Tangalhiti of Patan, dates back to 12th or 13th century. The artfully illustrated statue in about 1.5 feet by 1 feet wide stone slab also portrays various elements of Hindu mythology where the supreme god and goddess are shown in a playful manner.
Similarly, the image of Lord Buddha stolen from Yetkha of Lalitpur dates back to 11th to 12th century. The life size idol of Buddha is almost four feet tall, as per DoA officials.
Speaking at the press meet, DoA Director General Bhes Narayan Dahal said, “The idols can be restored to its original place, if the locals demands so and if the DoA feels that the idols will be safe there.”
The idols have been sent to National Museum in Chauni.
Consul General Marasini praised the support extended by the New York museum to hand over the idols to Nepal. He said, “We hope the move will discourage illegal trade of archaeological and historical artefacts.”
A version of this article appears in print on April 05, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.