The endowment department of Karnataka has been issued a notice by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for allegedly drilling a historical pillar at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hampi's Virupaksha Temple.
The drilling was reportedly carried out during the Karnataka Rajyotsava event, where Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was present, in order to tie a flag.
The ASI has accused the state government of not obtaining proper permissions before damaging historical pillars.
In a notice to the responsible endowment officer, the ASI stated that the Sri Virupaksha Temple and Complex is a nationally protected monument under the Ministry of Culture, government of India.
The ASI noticed that the actual northern exit of the temple's garbhagruha had been closed off without permission, and that metal pipes had been inserted into the decorative pillars without authorisation.
The ASI deemed it a breach of section 30 of the AMASR Act (Amendment and Validation Act) 2010 and requested clarification from the department.
The Virupaksha temple is a significant structure among the monuments in Hampi, which served as the capital city of the Vijayanagara Empire.
Scholars suggest that the temple was constructed in the seventh century by King Deva Raya II of the Vijayanagara dynasty.
Remarkably, unlike many other monuments in Hampi, the Virupaksha temple managed to survive the destruction caused by the Bahmani Sultanates and other invading forces.
Hampi was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986, and the ASI has been responsible for safeguarding the town's numerous monuments.
In 2019, a disturbing video circulated online, showing a group of individuals vandalising historical pillars in Hampi.
Fortunately, all the individuals seen in the video were arrested.
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