Rain wreaks havoc on monuments

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The crumbling of monuments and structures with historic and architectural significance after every torrential rain, has become a regular occurrence in the past few years at the UNESCO World Heritage Site-Hampi.

The recent Cyclone Nilam played havoc at Salu Mantapa which crumbled into a heap of ruins in the 15th century capital of the erstwhile Vijayanagar Empire. According to official sources, rainfall in the past few years has damaged many monuments with enclosure walls surrounding major monuments developing cracks.

Local residents said the pace at which structures are developing cracks has increased in recent years. Besides threatening the structures,the cracks also pose a threat to the thousands of tourists who visit the heritage site every day.

A portion of the western wall of Sri Achyutharaya temple complex, the enclosure wall of Lotus Mahal, the Doomed Gate wall and fencing wall of Gejjela Manatap on the banks of river Tunghabhadra had collapsed during the incessant rainfall in October 2009.

In the subsequent year, portions of the Kudre Mantapa, the domed gate, the Janana enclosure wall and the ‘pushkarni' on Bazaar Street near Vittala temple collapsed. and during last year’s rainfall, a portion of the protected Shiva temple at Hampi, popularly known as Varaha temple, collapsed.

Some portions of the Ananthashayana, Pattabhirama, Vittala, Krishna and Virupaksha temples are said to be weak and rainfall in the area has further weakened the structures. According to a senior Archeological Survey of India official, about 15 structures are in a precarious condition and their partial collapse in heavy rain cannot be ruled out.

According to local people, illegal mining and quarrying around Hampi and heavy rains have weakened the structures. However, the authorities ruled out the possibility of these structures being affected by mining in the region. Official source said, the Hampi World Heritage Area Management Authority had got quarrying and mining in the area stopped.

Aother reason for frequent reports of damage to monuments is Hampi area’s sub-soil conditions, rock formations and also the weakening of the foundation of monuments over a period of time.

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