Pudukkottai, Jun 30: A tenth century stone idol of the Lord Buddha is reportedly missing from Vannichipattinam, a coastal village in this district of Tamil Nadu.
In his complaint to the District Administration and the police, former Curator of the Government Museum, Pudukottai, R Raja Mohamad, who unearthed the idol in 2002, said it weighed a few hundred tonnes. The news of the missing idol came to light when he visited the village recently, Mr Mohamad added, asking the police to trace the idol.
A few photographs taken during the course of his research programme four years ago have helped bring to light the exquisite carvings on the four-and-a-half-feet tall idol.
Mr Mohamad said the coastal village was believed to have been an overseas trade centre. The floating population of traders necessitated the setting up of a ''Buddha Vihar.'' The idol was part of such a Vihar.
The discovery of the idol in this part of the peninsular India was considered a vital clue to the missing links in the history of Buddhism in Asian countries in general, and India and Sri Lanka in particular.