Rajnagar: In a shocking incident, an antique idol of Goddess Durga made of black chlorite stone (locally known as ‘muguni pathara’) was allegedly stolen from Bhitarkanika National Park here.
The theft incident came to fore after the priest of Kanika royal family, who visited the dense forest during Durga Puja for worship, found the idol missing from the temple located in the dense forest.
The 2.50-ft-high and 1.50-ft-width idol of Goddess Durga was being worshipped inside the wildlife sanctuary in the past 200 years.
According to reports, there was a bungalow for hunting at Bhitarkanika revenue village of the National Park during regime of kings. In leisure period, the Kanika King was visiting the place for poaching. He built one temple of Lord Shiva inside the forest for worship. He had installed idols of other deities around the temple. As there is no land route to the temple, the water route is the only option to reach the temple.
The temple, which is currently being managed by the forest department, the theft of centuries old Goddess Durga idol raises eyebrows.
When asked to priest Naresh Kumar Pati, who used to worship the idol on every Sankranti, said that the idol has been stolen since a long time.
However, reacting to the incident, the forest official Bijay Kumar Patra raised surprise over visit of priest to the temple through water route without obtaining permission from the department.