Has India Failed To Maintain Its Heritage Sites Such As Hampi?

Karnataka is all set to host the Annual Hampi Festival in February 2020. But in the wake of it, news of broken infrastructure, encroachment and shoddy renovation have come to light.

Why is Hampi important?

Hampi was the capital of the glorious Vijaynagara empire in the 1500s. It is one of Karnataka’s, and India’s, biggest tourist draws. Hampi has a row of exquisite monuments, temples, and mandapas spread on the banks of the Tungabhadra river. The terrain around Hampi is as fetching as the monuments on it. Covered in boulders and hills of all different sizes, it is a sight to behold.
The buildings in Hampi are predominantly built on South Indian Hindu arts and architecture dating to the Aihole-Pattadakal styles. Additionally, there are elements of Indo-Islamic architecture in the Lotus Mahal, the public bath and the elephant stables. Most importantly, Hampi presents the illustrious past of the ancient, pre-colonial India to the world. It was awarded the stature of “World Heritage Site” by UNESCO well back in 1986.

What is the reason for its downfall?

The blame has been mostly assigned to a lack of upkeep by the government. On-ground politics, combined with a lack of administrative workings has led to the ancient city failing to maintain its standards. However, these aren’t the only reasons.
The Tungabhadra river is notorious for flooding. These floods have adversely affected the buildings. There have been reports of a temple being raised within the heritage structure. The people responsible have gone as far as threatening authorities of dire consequences if they were to remove the temple. Youth have been charged with the destruction of an ancient pillar in the name of a fun night out.

Way Forward

India is an ancient land. Our history, culture, and heritage are woven together and these ancient sites, such as Hampi, keep those grounded. Tourists are a doorway to building the opinion the larger world holds of India. We cannot allow such mismanagement of our heritage and our tourist spots. The government and responsible authorities must prioritize salvaging and preserving Hampi over the politics of the day.

Question for UPSC Mains:
Recently, Hampi has been in the news for lacking upkeep. On that note, discuss the larger problems India faces in preserving its heritage.

Published: January 4, 2020 | Modified:January 4, 2020

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