Karnataka

Antiques found lying by the roadside in Halebid

An idol lying among the debris in Halebid. In the last 15 days, the residents have handed over at least six to seven articles to the authorities. .

An idol lying among the debris in Halebid. In the last 15 days, the residents have handed over at least six to seven articles to the authorities. .   | Photo Credit: Prakash Hassan

Earthmover used by work contractor damages unexcavated archaeological structures

Residents of Halebid, once the capital of Hoysala rulers, have found many antiques lying on the roadside near the town. They wonder why the Archaeological Survey of India is not taking care of them.

In the last 15 days, the residents have handed over at least six to seven articles to the authorities. However, many more are still lying on the roadside. When The Hindu visited the spot on Wednesday, a few were still seen in the debris. “We are clueless. We don’t know why ASI is not protecting them,” said Devaraj, a resident of Halebidu.

Last month, ASI took up construction of a compound wall around Jain temples in the town. The contractor used heavy earthmoving machinery, damaging unexcavated archaeological structures. Senior officers of the ASI rushed to the spot and stopped the earth digging work, avoiding further damage. They were astonished to find the basement of another Jain structure at the place where the earth was dug. The officers found a few unique sculptures and shifted them to the museum. However, by then the contractor had dug vast extent of the land and dumped the debris alongside the Halebid-Hagare Road.

The ASI attracted strong criticism from different quarters for hiring heavy machinery for earth digging work at its sites. Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamy of Jain Mutt at Shravanabelgola visited the spot and saw the new sculptures and while speaking to media expressed his disappointment over use of heavy machinery at the archaeological sites.

When The Hindu contacted K. Murtheshwari, Superintendent Archaeologist of Bengaluru Circle, she refused to speak to media on the issue. When V.N. Prabhakar, Director of ASI (Excavation, Exploration and Publication), was contacted, he said he was not authorised to speak to the media. However, he added that he would bring the issue to the notice of the section concerned if he received information about the development in writing.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 5:02:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/antiques-found-lying-by-the-roadside-in-halebid/article28528238.ece

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