A thousand-year-old Ganesh idol was on Friday destroyed in the Maoist-infected Bastar region of Chhattisgarh after falling over into the cliff below. Photographs of the hill-top where the Dholkal idol was placed have gone viral on social media. The Maoists are being accused of destroying the statue, though there is no way to verify the same. The statue was first found to be missing when a group of 20 pilgrims visited the place on Jan 26, according to report in Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar.
Further investigation in the wake of the statue going missing reportedly revealed that a helicopter was seen circling the idol two days before Jan 26.
— Ankur Singh (@iAnkurSingh) January 27, 2017
(Source: Twitter/Ankur Singh)
The Dholkal sat at a height of 13,000 feet in the country known for its dense forest. The 1000-year-old statue was reportedly discovered by a local journalist exploring the region in September 2012, following which a massive search operation was carried out by the archaeology department in order to look out for more historic artifacts in the area.
It was reportedly found out that the idol was sculpted during the reign of Nagvanshi dynasty around ninth century AD. It was also revealed in the wake of the discovery that many stone weapons had been discovered in the vicinity, which was seen as sign of early human life.
The central Indian state of Chhattisgarh is also home to many rock-art paintings which are believed to be among the oldest in the world.
However, the exploration of the state’s rich history has largely been hindered due to decades-long Maoist insurgency. The left-wing rebels have often been blamed for sabotaging the development of Chhattisgarh, which has also got one of the largest mineral reserves in India.