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Heritage Structure in Hampi Collapses Due to Heavy Rains, ASI under Fire for Not Doing Enough

Pillars and roof of the centuries-old Virupaksha bazaar that came crumbling down on Sunday were part of the group of monuments at Hampi, a designated UNESCO world heritage site.

Stacy Pereira | CNN-News18

Updated:October 14, 2019, 9:12 PM IST
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Heritage Structure in Hampi Collapses Due to Heavy Rains, ASI under Fire for Not Doing Enough
Remains of the 16 pillars and roof of the centuries-old Virupaksha bazaar in Hampi. (News18)

Bengaluru: As many as 16 pillars and the roof of the centuries-old Virupaksha bazaar in front of the Sri Virupakshawa Temple in Hampi came crumbling down on Sunday.

The bazaar is part of the group of monuments at Hampi, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Heavy rains have ravaged many parts of the temple town over the past few weeks and Sunday’s development was a part of this deluge-led destruction.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) that is responsible for the upkeep of the world heritage site has come under fire for not having a fool proof plan for the 14th Century structures.

Renovation works at the Hampi Bazaar, where these pillars used to stand, was taken up two years ago. However, very little progress was made on this front. Locals claim the ASI hasn’t been effective in stopping tourists from climbing these structures to take selfies further weakening the structure.

ASI Deputy Superintendent M Kalimuthu said the heavy rains had caused water stagnation around the site, but the dilapidated part was not part of the temple per se. “Our staff has been deployed for draining out stagnant water for the past one week. This is also a part of the restoration programme that has been going on around that site,” he said.

In February this year, four boys were arrested for vandalising and destroying pillars in Hampi after a video of them committing the act went viral on social media. The boys admitted that they destroyed the pillar out of sheer 'excitement'.

The Hampi monuments, built during the Vijayanagara Empire in the 14th Century, consist of over 1,600 monuments and is spread over 10,000 acres in Karnataka’s Bellari district.

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