Dehradun, Dec 14 (UNI) Fourteen sacred masks, believed to be 200 years old with religious and mythological values, went missing from Nanda Devi temple at Lata village in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.
The incident was noticed by temple Pujari and villagers on December 12 when they went to lock the store where the masks were kept.
According to villager Rajendra Rawat, the locks were found open and masks missing. The masks were carved from the wood and donned by the dancers during Baishakhis while performing non-stop dancing for three days.
''The masks included that of Lord Ganesha, Surya, Mor-Morni (Peacock), Latu-Lati, Narad, Ishwarya, Gaura, Ganna-Ganni and Vishnuverma,'' said Mr Rawat who is himself a dancer.
A social activist Dr Sunil Kainthola reminded that in the 80s too, the idol of the main deity of the temple was stolen. It was the second incident of theft.
SDM Joshimath Nidhi Yadav who came to know about the incident yesterday said, ''The police have been dispatched to the Lata village for investigation this morning.'' Investigating Officer SO GS Rathore said the masks were around 200 years old. ''Case under Section 380 of the IPC has been registered and investigation is on,'' he added.
Meanwhile, Ms Yadav has not ruled out enmity amongst the villagers behind the theft.