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Ancient Ganesha statue finds new home in Adelaide Zoo

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Adelaide, Sept. 17 : Ganesh Chaturthi was celebrated in a unique way in South Australian capital Adelaide, where a neglected ancient statue of Lord Ganesha found its new home in a makeshift temple in the zoo.

The statue was spotted by a local member of Hindu community, which was later established in a makeshift temple with the support of the Adelaide Zoo Authority.

“I was at the Adelaide Zoo with my family and I saw this stone idol of the Lord in a corner. It was very sad and I decided to bring the matter to the notice of the Hindu Social and Welfare Council of SA. I must say the authorities were very helpful,” said Sarda.

Interestingly, the zoo authorities were astounded by the significance attached to the statue by Hindus.

“We had no idea that this idol is so important to Hindus. We have no idea how it came here. I have been working at this zoo for over 35 years and it (the idol of Lord Ganesha) could be around 40-50 years old,” said Jeff Lugg, General Manager, Operations, Adelaide Zoo.

Chirag Trivedi of the Hindu Social and Welfare Council of SA took upon his shoulders to connect with the archaeology department.

“When I approached the archaeology Department of Flinders University of South Australia, I was surprised at the findings. The idol that was left neglected, was a contemporary Balinese copy of Javanese ingasari / Majapahit period, probably of a well-known 13th century Javanese Boro Ganesa statute in Blitar, East Java. It was a serious matter now, not just about faith and religion but also about history,” said Trivedi.

Furthermore, it is believed that much more archaeological and historical significance is being attached to this idol. To correct the act of negligence, the Indian community came together to enshrine this 13th century idol of Lord Ganesha.

The zoo authorities, recognising the importance, graciously allowed to mount the statue over a raised platform with a protecting dome over the idol.

Thus, Lord Ganesha got a new residence at the Adelaide Zoo. A marble plaque with details about the historical significance attached to the idol has also been placed.

“We appreciate the support from the Adelaide Zoo authorities. In fact we are performing some Hindu rituals to celebrate the occasion of the Lord’s birth anniversary that happens to be on 17 September according to the English calendar. We need the support of the community now to show our affection towards Lord Ganesha,” said Nihal Agar, President of the Hindu Council of Australia.

The community has decided to worship the Lord in the presence of distinguished guests.

Well known priest of Adelaide’s Indian Community, Dilip Chirmuley AM, will be performing the rituals. President of the Hindu Council of Australia, Nihal Agar AM, will be visiting from Sydney. Other Presidents of all Adelaide’s Indian organisations will also grace the occasion. (ANI)