An idol of Nandi at a 500-year-old temple of Lord Shiva at Devalampeta village of Palamaner mandal, 50 km from here, reportedly went missing a week ago.
The episode came to light on Sunday, creating a flutter in several forested villages nearby.
According to the Palamaner police, the ancient Shiva temple nestled deep inside the forests of Jagamarla near Moghili ghat section, attracts a large number of devotees during the Maha Shivaratri celebrations, but would slip into silence for the rest of the year.
A few villagers had approached the police on Saturday, saying that the idol was not to be found since March 26. A team of police visited the village to inquire into the incident.
“It is a stone idol of Nandi situated in front of the main temple. A police officer said that it was not yet clear when the idol went missing. A complaint was taken from the villagers and further investigation is on,” a police officer said.
In the past, incidents of breaking Nandi idols was reported from a couple of temples in Chittoor district, believed to be the act of treasure hunters. After the infamous Ramatheertham episode, the Chittoor police had swung into action and installed digital surveillance at hundreds of vulnerable temples across the district.