Beam falls off Harishankar Gate as bus hits the structure
BELLARY: In just over six months the ancient Harishankar Gate, leading to the Vijaya Vittala temple complex, which houses the world-famous musical pillars and stone chariot, in Hampi, was damaged for the second time.
On Sunday the beam of the Harishankar Gate that had fallen on November 19, 2008, fell when the carrier of a tourist bus from Ongole in Andhra Pradesh hit it while passing through the gate. The beam fell on the bus. Enquiries revealed that the bus driver took the bypass via Venkatapur village to reach the Vijaya Vittala temple. While returning, the driver avoided the bypass and tried to pass through the Harishankar Gate. None of the passengers were injured. All the tourists were stranded at the spot as the beam had to be removed from the bus.
Last year, on November 19, a beam fell from the ancient structure after being hit by a heavy vehicle, most likely a bus. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 1999 strongly opposed the construction of the two-way cable-stayed bridge (which collapsed in January last) as, according to it, the movement of heavy vehicles would affect the monuments in Hampi, which were of “outstanding universal values”. As insisted by the UNESCO, a bypass was constructed and thrown open to traffic to prevent vehicles from plying near the Harishankar Gate.
The width of the road at the Harishankar Gate, is less than eight feet making it difficult for heavy vehicles, especially luxury tourist buses, to pass through it.
Though the bypass is ready, the Hampi World Heritage Area Management Authority is yet to take steps to regulate the movement of vehicular traffic at the world heritage site.
The police have registered a case.