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SURENDRANAGAR: Believing in rumours about a hidden treasure, some unidentified persons dug up the sanctum sanctorum of a 1,200-year-old Shiva temple in a remote place in Thangadh taluka of Gujarat’s Surendranagar district, police said on Thursday.

The ancient temple, which does not see a lot of footfalls, is a protected monument and is already in a ruined state.

Some locals visit the temple at regular intervals to offer their prayers, inspector M D Chaudhary of Thangadh police said.

While no official complaint has been filed with the police, a primary investigation revealed that the thieves might have been taken in by rumours of a hidden treasure in the premises, the official said, adding that idols have been placed at their original spot with the help of villagers.

Locals alerted the police on Thursday after they spotted two pits dug up inside the temple premises, he said.

“The temple, situated near Jamwadi village, is around 1,200 years old. In search of the elusive treasure, someone first dug a one-feet deep pit inside the sanctum sanctorum after removing the Shivling. The perpetrators placed the Shivling carefully near the wall without damaging it,” the official said.

The men also removed the idol of Nandi, which was outside the sanctum sanctorum, from its place and dug up a 3 to 4 feet deep pit, he said.

Notably, the perpetrators did not damage the idols and even offered flowers on the Shivling before starting the digging work, Chaudhary said, adding that no FIR has been registered yet in this regard.