Palghar (Maharashtra) (IANS) An estimated Rs 1.20 million was looted from the coffers of the famed Vajreshwari temple near Virar, around 75 km north of Mumbai, police said on Friday.
According to a police officer from Palghar, around 3 a.m. at least 4-5 persons armed with swords and choppers swooped on the temple premises and tied up the lone security guard.
Then they entered the temple and broke open the coffers containing the devotees' offerings.
The police have closed the temple for Friday for investigations while locals in around half a dozen villages observed a spontaneous protest shutdown.
Considered among the symbols of the glory of the Maratha empire, the temple - situated on a hillock accessible by 52 steps - was re-constructed 280 years ago on the orders of Gen Chimaji Appa, the younger brother of Peshwa Bajirao I.
It was his way of gratitude to the Vajreshwari Devi after he successfully liberated the Maharashtra coast from the grip of the Portuguese and captured the Bassein Fort in Vasai in 1739.
Among the popular tourist spots, around the vicinity of the temple, there are nearly a dozen hot water springs thronged by people.