Ballari: In a move to ensure that the jaw-dropping beauty of the UNESCO world heritage site, Hampi is preserved holistically to ensure that "the sacred cultural landscapes that is the very soul of the site" are not altered or tampered with, the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Anegundi-Hampi chapter has urged the State government to not only revise and update its master plan 2021, but entrust the INTACH Hampi-Anegundi chapter with the task of developing this Master Plan.
The state government has proposed to revise its 2008 and 2012 master plan envisaged for 15th century capital of Vijayanagar empire spread across 40 sq km in about 30 villages surrounding Hampi in keeping with the demands of the local community.
The government has proposed a revised a Hampi Master Plan- 2021 and as part of this exercise, experts and public opinion has been sought. A delegation of INTACH, Anegundi-Hampi chapter has now met state government officials last week with an appeal to entrust the work on the
Master Plan to INTACH, Anegundi-Hampi chapter.
“Much of the monuments are living religious sites and this has resulted in informal and unplanned structures marring the historic integrity of the region,” said Shama Pawar, convenor of the Anegundi-Hampi chapter. She told Deccan Chronicle that the INTACH delegation had held a preliminary meeting with Principal Secretary, Tourism department.
“We are really hoping to have something very positive and pro-active happen at Hampi, as we have roped in the local community,” she said, adding that their concerns stemmed from the fact that the “spiritual, ritualistic and humanistic role that the landscape of the region has had in the shaping of Hampi has completely been excluded from the masterplan.”
“The vast historic site interspersed with living communities has special significance and the masterplan has not taken into account that even small interventions, if not treated holistically can contaminate the sacred cultural landscapes that is the very soul of the site,” she pointed out.
Ms Pawar said, there are no clauses that protect the components of living heritage, religion and the role of the natural geography in the rituals of the region in the current master plan. Remnants of sacred practices are leaving behind a trail of damage which has not been addressed in the development strategy of the region.
The geography and its natural construct is intrinsically woven into the human and socio-cultural aspects of the society that inhabits the area. “It is, in fact, what unites the entire site. These sacred landscapes therefore need to be contextually preserved and conserved so as to sustain the human-nature interaction that occurs within its fabric. Visual connectivity, soil and water management, ecological networks, planting guidelines, aesthetic norms, religious structures, rituals, etc. need to be considered at a macro and micro level in order to preserve the nature of these landscapes and ensure its continuity,” she said.
It is therefore recommended that the natural, cultural and built components that make up the 'sacred' landscapes of the Hampi World Heritage Area find its place within the Master plan and in both its tangible and intangible aspects....