360 years-old history vanishes as thieves decamp with Raghunath’s idol

Manali: The cultural and traditional history of Kullu which revolves around the thousands of years old idol of Lord Raghunath which was brought to historic Raghunath temple of Kullu from Ayodhya in 1657 was found stolen from the temple on today morning. Thieves decamped with four other idols and ornaments.

Earlier in January 22 this year, thieves had stolen about 8kg silver and gold ornaments from the same Raghunath temple . Shockingly,this time, thieves entered the temple after displacing slates from roof and then damaged wooden ceiling to enter the room where idols were kept. Burglars used a  rope to carry out this theft. Rope is recovered from the spot. The priest entered the temple for worship at about 7am he foundto surprise that all the idols missing except for idol of Mata Sita.

According to sources“Idols of Lord Raghunath (gold), Hanuman (ashtdhatu), Ganesha (silver), Shaligram (stone) and Narsingh (stone) have been stolen by thives from Raghunath temple.

Week-long Kullu Dussehra festivity to begin Oct 14

Inspector general of police, Mandi zone, PL Thakur said that nakas have been laid across the state and all vehicles and suspicions are being checked. “Forensic experts, sniffer dog and all available resources are being pressed into service to nab the culprits.”

People of entire Kullu district are mourning the theft of idol of Lord Raghunath, the presiding deity of famed weeklong Dussehra festivities, and most of the markets of kullu remained shut for the whole day. Hundreds of people gathered at temple to express grif with the temple courtyard was echoing with the sound of cries. People are talked about the negative impact of the theft of their deity and are wondering how they will celebrate Dussehra and other big festivities in absence of the idol of Lord Raghunath.

Maheshwar Singh, scion of erstwhile Kullu princely state, who is the MLA from Kullu,and also  the chhadivdar (first servant) of Lord Raghunath. He was attending the winter session assembly H.P  in Dharamshala when the incidence took place. He rushed to kullu after hearing the news of theft in the temple and reached kullu at 1pm where he was surrounded by mourning devotees. As the temple is currently under custody of royal family and all other deities of Kullu have accepted Lord Raghunath as their presiding deity.

Maheshwar Singh speaking to media person said that “I received telephonic information about theft of the idols at 7.30am. Priest and other sevaks slept at around 11:30 pm after taking a round of the temple. None of the deity is now safe in its temple. I had requested police to increase surveillance in temple area. I had also offered to pay for home guards. Missing of priceless idol of Treta yuga has pierced our hearts,”

According to sources , CCTV camera is installed in courtyard of the temple but Lord Raghunath had not allowed installing cameras inside the temple. A dog was also found dead backside of the temple from where thieves had managed to climb the roof. Police were suspecting that thieves had killed the dog to clear their way to burglary.

According to historians, the idol of Lord Raghunath was built by Lord Rama in Treta Yuga for Ashwamedh yagya and was theft from Ayodhya during regime of the then ruler of Kullu Raja Jagat Singh for a cause in 1657. Raja Jagat Singh had devoted the throne to Lord Raghunath. He then invited all deities of Kullu to celebrate the occasion. Since then all deities of district gather at Dhalpur ground of Kullu to celebrate weeklong Dussehra and all deities pay obeisance to Lord Raghunath.

Sanjay Dutta, an engineer by qualification but is a journalist by choice. He has worked for the premier new agency Press Trust of India and leading English daily Indian Express. With more than a decade of experience, he has been highlighting issues related to environment, tourism and other aspects affecting mountain ecology. Sanjay Dutta lives in a village close to Manali in Kullu valley of Himachal.

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