The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Mumbai Zone, handed over three antiquities that were seized from smugglers, to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Goa, at a function held at the Dharohar Museum, Panaji, today. The antiquities had been kept on display at the Dharohar, National Museum of Customs and GST, Panaji.    

The event was held as part of a nation-wide program in which 101 such antiquities and manuscripts seized from smugglers were handed over to the ASI at events held at seven locations across the country. Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman virtually attended the event to witness handing over the seized items to the ASI.

At the event held at the Dharohar museum, Sunil Singh Bisht, Superintendent of the museum, handed over the antiquities to Dr Kishor Raghubans, Assistant Superintending Archaeologist, ASI, Goa.

Speaking at the event, Mayank Kumar, Chief Commissioner, Pune Zone – Central GST and Customs, said that all the antiquities and artifacts being seized by the Customs will eventually be handed over to the ASI as they are final custodian of such items. “There are several such pieces still in the custody of the DRI but the legal proceedings related to their seizure are still on. Such items can’t be handed over to the ASI until the proceedings are over,” he said.

Sunil Kumar Mall, Principal Additional Director General, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Mumbai, said that the antiquities that were being handed over to the ASI Goa were seized by the DRI Mumbai in the year of 2007. “It took several years to complete the legal proceedings related to the seized items. The antiquities were brought to Goa to be displayed at the Dharohar museum considering the security and safety aspects. Besides, it is also the National Museum of the Customs and GST.”

Dr Kishor Raghubans, Assistant Superintending Archaeologist, ASI, Goa, said that the antiquities will remain at the Dharohar museum for public display even though they have been handed over to the ASI.

Bipin Kumar Upadhyay, Commissioner, Central GST Commissionerate, Goa, was also present at the occasion.

The three antiquities handed over to the ASI

• Uma-Maheshwara

This is an idol of Uma-Maheshwara in sitting posture. Both Shiva and Parvati are depicted wearing a mukuta.

Parvati is depicted with two hands. One of her hands is embracing Shiva whereas the other is holding a mirror.

Four armed Shiva is depicted seated on a lotus pedestal and Parvati is seated on his lap. In his top right hand is a lotus flower and in the top left hand is a trishul. His other two hands are shown embracing his consort. Shiva’s right leg is resting on Nandi and Parvati’s left leg is resting on a tiger.

Below the pedestal, two figures are shown in a prayerful posture. Two flying gandharvas are shown on the top.

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence detained the antiquity on 18.03.2007 at Mumbai Airport when it was being attempted to be exported to Singapore through courier by describing it as ‘home decorative article’.

• Eight-handed Lord Ganesha

This is an idol of eight handed Lord Ganesha in dancing posture. His cosmic dancing is related to the perpetual cycle of creation and destruction, called samsara, that defines the universe, from which humans seek to escape.

Lord Ganesha is shown with his legs rested on a padmapitha placed above a double tiered pancha ratha pedestal. He is wearing a jatamukuta, hara and other ornaments. A small snake is also depicted near his right shoulder.

Some of Ganesha’s attributes can be identified such as abhaya mudra, parasu, gajahasta, mulaka, and modaka patra.

This antiquity was seized on 18.03.2007 by DRI at Mumbai airport when it was described as “home decorative article” and attempted to be exported to Singapore in a courier consignment.

• Goddess Parvati with her sons Ganesha and Kartikeyan

This is an idol of four handed deity Lalita, one of the forms of Goddess Parvati, mainly worshipped in eastern India, and eulogized in many ways in the Brahmanda Purana, the Devi Bhagavata Purana, the Agni Purana, and the Padma Purana.

The deity is standing on double-petalled lotus seat placed on a sapta ratha pedestal in samapada pose. She holds a collyrium stick in her upper right hand and her lower right hand shows varada mudra with a fruit on her palm. The upper left hand holds a mirror and the lower one rests on the head of Kartikeya. She is richly adorned with ornaments and upavita. She is bedecked with jatamukuta. The image shows a beautiful smiling face with serene sublimity.

The deity is accompanied by her sons Ganesha and Kartikeya on two sides. Ganesha holds parasu in right hand and modaka patra in left hand, whereas Kartikeya holds vana in his right hand and left hand is in katyavalambita posture.

This antiquity was seized in the year 2007 by DRI at Chakala in Mumbai from the city premises of a courier company. It was in the process of being attempted to be exported through air mode.


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