New Delhi: The ancient Rajagopalaswamy temple at Ananthamangalam in Tamil Nadu’s Nagapattinam district got back three of its idols stolen 42 years ago, authorities said. The idols, which were recovered in London, reached the temple on Saturday from Chennai.Also Read - Ahead of Diwali, Punjab NGO Makes Diyas and Idols With Cow Dung

In 1978, four bronze idols – that of Lord Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman belonging to this 15th century temple were stolen. Porayar police had registered a case and even arrested three people, but the idols couldn’t be traced. Also Read - Oh My God! Now Idols in Varanasi Temple Wear Anti-Pollution Masks To Survive the Toxic Air

Following information from a Singapore-based voluntary organisation which monitors the trade of artefacts in the international market, three of the four stolen idols were recovered from an antique collector in London during September this year,authorities said. Also Read - Idols found damaged in temple

The Metropolitan Police in London handed over the three idols (Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita) to the Indian Embassy.

The idols were brought to India and the Union Culture Ministry handed it over to the Tamil Nadu government early this week. On Friday, Chief Minister K Palaniswami inspected the idols in Chennai and formally handed them over to the temple executive officer Sankareswari.

The idols reached the temple on Saturday from Chennai.

Temple authorities said the idols would be formally reinstalled on November 25.