Varanasi, November 30: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that the statuette of the Annapurna deity that was stolen over a century ago is on its way back to its original home in Varanasi.

While addressing the public during Dev Deepawali Mahotsav in Varanasi, PM Modi said, "The statuette of the Annapurna deity which was stolen over 100 years ago is now on its way back here. It is a matter of great fortune that Mata Annapurna will come back to her original home." Also Read | AAP Volunteers Serving Farmers Sitting on Protest With Food, Water, Medical Facilities: Arvind Kejriwal.

PM Narendra Modi Says ‘Annapurna Idol Stolen a Century Ago Is Now on Its Way Back to Varanasi’

Prime Minister said that the statues of deities are part of "our priceless legacy." "It is true that if so much effort was made earlier, the country would have got back many such idols. But some people have different thinking. For us, heritage means the country's heritage but for some people, heritage means their name and their family's name. For us, heritage means our culture, our faith. For them, heritage means their own statues, their family photos," he added. Also Read | BJP Ally in Rajasthan, Rashtriya Loktantrik Party, Threatens to Quit NDA If Farm Laws Not Withdrawn.

Prime Minister also paid tributes to all those who have laid their lives for the nation. "On the occasion of Dev Deepawali, I pay my tributes to all those who have laid their lives for the nation. The nation is giving a befitting reply to the expansionist forces, those trying to infiltrate into India or be it those trying to break the country from within," he said.

PM Modi said that none can change the Urja (energy), Bhakti (devotion) and Shakti (power) of Kashi. "No matter how much things have changed due to COVID19, none can change the Urja, Bhakti and Shakti of Kashi," he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi lit the customary first diya at the Raj Ghat in Varanasi and launched the Dev Deepawali Mahotsav.

The Prime Minister was accompanied by state Chief Minister Yogi Adiyanath for the ceremony.Some 15 lakh diyas lit up on the ghats of Ganga to mark the beginning of celebrations on the occasion of Kartik Purnima. Classical dancers performed during the occasion.

Dev Deepawali is a function after Deepawali when a large number of lamps are lit on the banks of rivers and other places on Kartik Purnima. Prime Minister Modi and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath reached Raj Ghat for Dev Deepawali Mahotsav after offering prayers at Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi. They also visited the site of Kashi Vishwanath Temple Corridor Project. Ghats of Varanasi were decorated for Modi's visit.

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