Ballari: If the whole nation can go gaga over the PM's Swachh Bharat Campaign, why should heritage monuments be spared the broom? That's the thinking behind the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) 'Swacch Bharat, Swacch Smarak' to give a once over to the world heritage site of Hampi and the structures at the capital of the medieval age Vijayanagara empire.
Locals and history lovers like N. Tejaswi, senior conservationist, ASI, Hampi circle, will get to work during National Heritage Week from November 19 to 25 at the historic site where many old temples and holy tanks are languishing in neglect, many covered with garbage, litter and vegetation, without a dustbin in sight. The ASI campaign will cover the famed Mahanavami Dibba, Queen's Bath, Vijaya Vittala Temple, Krishna temple, Lakshmi Narasimha, Sasivekal and Kadlekal Ganesh besides the Lotus Mahal and other monuments considered architectural marvels.
The Swachh Bharat campaign is proving infectious with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) now giving a much needed dusting to the old monuments of Hampi, the cradle of the Vijaynagar empire. The “Swachh Bharat, Swachch Smarak’ campaign at the world heritage site is intended to make the National Heritage Week observed from November to 19 to 25 every year more meaningful, says Mr N Tejaswi, senior conservationist, ASI, Hampi circle.
Locals welcome the campaign as they are all for a clean and tourist friendly Hampi. Currently many of the old temples, pushkarinis, and holy tanks at this World Heritage Site are filled with vegetation and garbage. Many of the residents and domestic tourists are known to throw garbage into the tanks after wining and dining beside them with no security in place to stop them.
Shamefully, some foreign tourist groups visiting Hampi occasionally begin cleaning it as a social responsibility and remove the garbage from the holy tanks themselves. They volunteer to do the job through Field Service and Intercultural Learning, a non-governmental organisation recognised by Unesco. But this heritage week began wtih Mr Tejaswi, his office staff and daily wage employees picking up brooms themelves and cleaning the Sri Virupaksha temple, housing the main deity of Hampi.
“These monuments are mirrors of native culture and symbols of ancient people. Their maintenance is as important as doing research on them,” said the officer, adding that other monuments to be cleaned included the Mahanavami Dibba, Queens Bath, Vijaya Vittala temple, Krishna temple, Lakshmi Narasimha, ‘Sasivekal’ ‘Kadlekal Ganesh, and Lotus Mahal. “We launched this campaign to tell people that the ASI alone is not responsible for protection of these ancient monuments, but it’s their duty too to take care of them,” he explained.