SRINAGAR, — A laborer from the northern Indian union territory, Jammu and Kashmir, while extracting sand from the river Jhelum at Pandrethan, the capital of the union territory, Srinagar, found an old sculpture of Goddess Durga (major deity in Hinduism).

Goddess Durga is associated with protection, strength, motherhood, destruction, and wars.

The sculpture, located in August, is believed to be approximately 1200-years-old.

Jammu and Kashmir is a region administered by India as a union territory and consists of the southern portion of the larger Kashmir region, which has been the subject of a dispute between India and Pakistan since 1947 and India and China since 1962.

The laborer who had retrieved the sculpture was trying to sell the sculpture with such historical importance. But, with the timely intervention of the Budgam police — the local authority — it was recovered.

It was later recovered and handed over to the Department of Archives, Archaeology, and Museums, the Jammu and Kashmir Government.

The Kashmir valley is filled with temples, shrines, and mosques, which depict the region’s history.

Depicting the history of the Kashmir valley are its temples, shrines, and mosques. The 1200-year-old sculpture also depicts its rich past.

The 6 inches by 8 inches sized sculpture is carved in black stone of the Hindu Goddess seated on a throne with her four attendants.

“Acting on specific information, Police in Budgam have recovered an ancient sculpture from the Khan Sahab area,” said the Jammu and Kashmir police on Aug. 31.

The statement also said that a team of officers from the Department of Archives, Archaeology & Museums, Jammu & Kashmir Government were called to examine the recovered sculpture at District Police Office Budgam.

Jammu and Kashmir police said that the recovered sculpture was handed over formally to Shri Mushtaq Ahmad Beigh. He is the Deputy Director Department of Archives, Archaeology, and Museums.

He and his team received the sculpture from Tahir Saleem Khan, Senior Superintendent of Police Budgam, in police and civil officers after fulfilling all the legal formalities.

“During examination by experts, the reports revealed that the sculpture of Goddess Durga dates back roughly to 7th-8th AD (about 1200 years old),” said Beigh, the Deputy Director of the Department of Archives, Archaeology, and Museums.

“The two-armed Goddess Durga sculpture has two pillars on the back and a lotus and chakra in her hand.”

He said that the goddess in the sculpture is wearing a necklace and crown. The object material used in it is a black stone, which is locally available in Kashmir.

Beigh said that stone carving in the valley is an ancient art that has been kept alive by the people here.

“The sculpture is very precious and will be placed at the Shri Pratap Singh Museum after completion of legal formalities,” he said.

Established in 1898, the museum houses over 80,000 objects from various regions in Northern India.

“Preserving such pieces of historical importance help us understand the craft of older time and are a reminder of the glorious past of the valley,” said Javaid Ahmad, an employee.

In a similar discovery, in South India, archeologists found a 400-year-old brick temple linked to a 16-pillared mandapa in the Indian south-eastern state of Andhra Pradesh’s Papanaidupeta. The temple was built during the Vijayanagara empire in the 16th century and is currently in a dilapidated condition.

In the past several months, the United States returned close to 27 antiquities to Cambodia, including Hindu and Buddhist statues, after years of work by New York investigators to recover the smuggled artifacts.

“The statue was stolen from the Prasat Krachap temple at Koh Ker in Cambodia and sold by antiquities’ dealer Douglas Latchford into the international art market,” said the US Department of Justice in a statement back in July 2021.

The statue is considered a masterpiece of artistic achievement and a valuable part of the Cambodian cultural heritage.

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra

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