The idol of Dattatreya being taken to Chandannath Temple for restoration on Thursday. Photo: Dhan Bahadur Budha/Republica
JUMLA, Feb 1: The recovery of the lost idol of Dattatreya has triggered an influx of visitors at Chandannath Temple of Jumla. There was a hue and cry in the district when 28 idols of the temple were stolen over three years ago. Consequently, many people had stopped offering worship at the temple after the idols went missing.
The idol of Dattatreya was recovered from Dansanghu of Chandannath Municipality 12 days ago. Before handing it over to the temple recently, it was kept at the District Police Office, Jumla for due legal process. Most of idols were found in the past from different places but the recovery of the main idol of Dattatreya has attracted a large number of devotees.
Since the idol of Dattatreya is considered very important, locals had carried out a procession before restoring it at the temple on Shree Panchami on Thursday. A formal ritual of ‘purifying’ the lost idol was followed. Priests and other worshippers in Jumla showed great excitement during the procession.
“Everyone stayed awake overnight to worship and re-installing of the idol at the temple. The event is considered very special for the people of Jumla,” said Gaurinanda Acharya, former chairperson of Gaurinanada Acharya Guthi Committee.
According to Acharya, the restoration of the idol of Dattatreya is going to attract not just Nepalis from different parts of the country, but devotees from India as well.
“The idol has a very high religious significance,” he said.
The idol was found abandoned in a barley field. Three locals of Chandannath Municipality–1, Lok Darshan Sapkota, Umesh Devkota and Lokendra Hamal had found it.
“People can worship it and gain peace. The number of visitors has already increased; it is going to increase even more as Dattatreya is a highly revered deity. Devotees from both inside and outside the country come here to worship,” said Acharya.
Meanwhile, locals have urged the authorities to continue to investigate the theft although 24 of the 28 stolen idols have already been recovered.
The local administration suspects that thieves might have thrown the Dattatreya idol in the field following the ongoing police raids at the homes of possible drug smugglers in Jumla.