Treasure hunters continue to vandalise the few archaeological marvels at the historic 14th century Kondaveedu Fort, even as the District Administration has initiated a comprehensive development plan to uplift the dilapidated fort and make it into a major tourist attraction.
The mystique surrounding the fort and fables of boundless wealth buried underneath continues to draw treasure hunters, who have been digging away mercilessly, desecrating the few remaining archaeological remains inside the fort.
The district administration which has unveiled a grand blueprint to develop the fort, shares the blame for not being able to take minimum measures to protect the fort. Part of the blame lies squarely on the local villagers, for failing to bring to the notice of police acts of vandalism.
Kondaveedu Fort Development Convener K. Siva Reddy, who has been on a mission to develop the fort, told The Hindu that unidentified miscreants have vandalised the historic Gopinadha Temple, commonly known as ‘Kattula Bavi'. The walls of the temple have been breached and gaping holes are visible across the wall.
Though there is no historical evidence to prove it, legend has it that the temple was built in the 16th century by Sadasiva Rayulu, who was the king of Vijayanagara Empire.
“We fear the other places of interest will be desecrated beyond recognition damaging the remaining portions of archaeological interest in the fort. Local villagers can be motivated to form into ‘Fort Protection Committees', until such time, the Government comes up with a fool proof security systems,'' Mr. Siva Reddy said. A pylon marking the commencement of works at the Fort was unveiled by Endowments Minister Gade Venkat Reddy on April 26 and Iskon has pledged its support to develop the fort, but since then very little has been done on the ground done.