TRICHY: An ancient panchaloha Ganesha idol was stolen from a Sivan temple at Nagalkuzhi in Ariyalur district during the wee hours on Sunday. Police have begun investigation to nab the culprits.

The temple Kasi Vishwanathar, in Nagalkuzhi village near Senthurai, is considered to be more than a hundred years old. The temple belongs to the Hindu Religious and Endowment Charitable department under non-listed temples, sources said.

The temple priest, Karthik, had gone home after performing puja for the Moolavar deity in the evening on Saturday along with the watchman Thangavel. When the priest returned to the temple on Sunday, he found that the front door of the temple was broken. When he inspected the sanctum sanctorum and other deity idols, he had noticed that the one-and-a-half feet Ganesha idol was was missing from its place.

Subsequently he informed the village heads as well as the Irumbulikurichi police, who in turn rushed to the spot and conducted an inquiry with the priest and watchman and other villagers.