The case of missing green ''Maragatha Shivalinga'' of Sri ''Adi Shankara'' temple, Kalady, Kerala!

More than 22 years have gone by since the Maragatha lingam of Sri Kalady temple was stolen and  as of today, the case has been in cold storage as the Kerala police team could not succeed in coming down on the thugs who committed the theft. Whenever they tailed the case, for reasons of insufficient information and lack of evidences,  the efficient police  team fell back midway. The theft committed at  the Adi Sankara Janmabhoomi Temple is almost forgotten and now it has become a mystery. Where is the famous 500 year old  greenish emerald Maragatha lingam (beryl)?  Will the theft case  be retaken up  by the Kerala investigative team and solved in the near future? God only knows.

The Adi Sankara Janmabhoomi Temple of  Kalady on the banks of the Periyar river in the rural Ernakulam district is a famous pilgrimage center. Founded  in 1910, by the 33rd swami / peetathipathi of the Sringeri Mutt, Sachithanda Shivabhinava Narasimha Swamikal with the help of the Sree Moolam Thirunal  Ramavarma Maharaja of Travancore. There are  two temples - one for Goddess Sharadamba and one for Sri Sankara.  The small town, 45 km from Kochi,  is the birth place of Adi Shankara, 9th century exponent of  Advaitha  philosophy and a  reformer of Hinduism.  Lots of ardent devotees from Tamil  Nadu and  Karnataka visit the temple daily. 

Kaladi temple. Kerala

In this temple  a sanctified  half-foot  Maragatha  (green emerald) Shivalinga went missing more than two decades ago and  the police could not locate the stolen idol  as well as the culprit(s). The idol of Kalady  made of gem stone  continued to dodge the investigating team.

Adi Sankara Janmabhoomi Temple, Kalady. incredible

Keerthi Sthambha, Kalady, Kerala.

Above image: The  Keerthi Sthambha is a 11-storeyed octagonal concrete structure with to reach the top of the 168 steps leading to the top of the stoopa. The concrete reliefs depict various  episodes from the life of Sankaracharya.  The holy patha - feet of the great seer  made of silver is enshrined here. In the Srikovil or garbagriha  the pancha-loha (alloy of five metals) the idol of Sree Sankarar in sitting posture  is installed. The guardian deity of  of Sringeri Mutt) is Saradamba.......

The State Police had responded by creating a Temple Theft Investigation Special Team (TTIST) that solved many cases of temple thefts, etc., earlier,  but the burglary  at the Kalady temple went cold and no progress had been made so far. The cops are stuck with the missing link while tailing the case! 

The famous green emerald Shivalinga was brought to this temple in 1910  from   the Sringeri Math in Karnataka  for worship and daily puja rituals.  It is said the rare Maragatha ligam idol was about 500 years old - an antique gemstone of immense value on the international market.  Though there are no documents to substantiate its age, it is a pretty old one. Also went missing were  some silver utensils used in the temple rituals  and the collection box (undial) at the tomb of Saradamba, mother of  saint Sri Adi Sankara,  

The TTIST officials picked up the tail and moved over to Chennai to  quiz the big smuggling  grey sharks there such as  Sanjivi Asokan, a Chennai-based antique dealer, and also  Subhash Kapoor, the US-based antique dealer and smuggler, who is presently in a slammer in TN. 

As far as the burglary was concerned, it was done  by professionals who did the job without creating  any suspicion. They never left behind any traces evidence. 

There is only a suspicion that the idol might have reached Subhash Kapoor, and we do not have any specific information. Evidences at the scene of crime pointed to the involvement of a professional hand. That is why we wanted to question Kapoor, while he is in Tamil Nadu police custody,” K. Padmakumar, Inspector-General of Police, Kochi Range, told The Hindu .

The TTIST team successfully solved  many theft cases such as   Navapashana Ganapathy, another emerald Sivalingam and a Panchaloha Ganapathy registered at Angamaly; an idol of Sree Bhadrakali at Vaikom; another of Sree Hanuman in Bekal,  a 60-kg Narasimhamoorthi and a 20-kg Panchaloha Balibimbam in Hosdurg, and an idol theft  case of Perinthalmanna.  

But the Kalady temple Shiva Linga case was still in the dark and the cops were groping in the dark to locate its hiding place. It became a big preoccupation for police team that solved more than 45 temple theft cases and 335 other property cases and arrested 45 people in connection with different temple theft cases.

After restructuring of Special Investigation Support Team  the thefts at   Bhagavathy Temple, Kalloorppara and Sree Krishna Swami Temple at Mavelikkara were solved and the culprits sent to the jail. People thought the Kalady temple theft cases would be cracked soon.It was not to be.  As of to day, it has been a vein attempt and unless a miracle happens, it is a tough job to recover the Maragatha ligam idol stolen long ago.. It is likely, the idol might have changed hands.  

The idol thieves and the anti-social groups across India in collusion with local goons indulge in temple thefts and by doing so they hurt the sentiments of millions of Hindus and others. In every ''temple idol'' theft we are losing every piece of our heritage of exceptional value. Such nasty people not only commit blasphemy but also loot our nation's valuable treasures that can not be gotten back. Greed is the driving force behind them.