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Goddess Laxmi arises from the depths

Matilda Simmons Msimmons
Sunday, December 03, 2017

A GODDESS emerged from the depths of Rewa River (on Wednesday, November 3, 1983) much to the astonishment of Nausori residents. The large statue of the Indian goddess, Laxmi was seen half-submerged in the Rewa River by passers-by from the Nausori Bridge close to the river bank opposite the town.

A Nausori market vendor, Sham Gir Gosai, went to look at the statue and was the first person to venture into the water for a close inspection.

"Only the head and shoulders of Laxmi were above water and only when I looked closely did I believe it was a statue," he told The Fiji Times.

Mr Gosai said the statue was made of concrete and was too heavy to move so he left it in the water overnight and went back the next morning to retrieve it with the help of friends. Mr Gosai, who was 56 at the time, said he believed the statue was old because of the grime and algae on it.

"I think it must have been brought from India by indentured labourers," he reportedly said. His theory of how it ended up in the river was that it must have fallen off a pontoon about 50 years ago. He said he remembered that pontoons used to carry people and goods across the river when there was no bridge. Mr Gosai said he remembered the pontoons used to berth around the area where the statue was found. He added the statue could have fallen off the pontoon into deep water and because it was so heavy no one could retrieve it. He said that previously the water was deep around the area where the statue was found, but silt had built up close to the river bank over the years. The rains, he said, had caused a minor landslide on the bank and probably exposed the statue.

The news article on December 3, 1983 said Mr Gosai kept the statue at his home and that he would build a small temple for it if no one claimed it within a month.

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