Three diamond-studded crowns stolen from ancient Tirupati temple, police suspect inside job


Three diamond studded gold crowns of the deity of Govindaraja Swamy Temple, one of the biggest temples in Andhra Pradeshs Tirupati, were stolen hours before a weekly procession of the deity. The crowns which weighed around 1.3 kg got stolen from the sub-temples which date back to 12th century, during the evening rituals and prashad offerings, stated a police complaint filed by temple superintendent Sri Gyana Prakash. The temple remains closed from 5 pm to 5:45 pm every day for the Prashad offerings. After it reopened after the prashad offering, the same day, a priest from the temple noticed the missing crowns, after which the authority was notified and a police complaint was filed. The local police that it has set up a special team for the investigation, is suspecting an inside job in the case, media reports said. As the crowns were on the head of the deities, no one other than the priests would have access to the area, after the gates were shut down. A temple official told TOI that there are two priests working in shifts in the temples, and during the handover – all the jewellery of the deities are checked, which makes it hard for them to disappear without the priests knowledge. Read Also| Battleground Uttar Pradesh: Challenges await Priyanka Gandhi as Congress readies Lok Sabha charge The crowns belonged to three gods from the eighteen sub temples present in the Vaishnavite temple complex – Sridevi, Bhoodevi and Malayappa, weighing a total of 1,351 gram. The temple was founded by Saint Ramanujacharya. The temple complex is one of the oldest structure in Tirupati and lies in the heart of it. The local BJP party workers also staged a protest in front of the temple following the theft.

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