Hampi stone chariot now gets protective ring

Protecting heritage: Authorities put the barricade around the stone chariot to protect it from visitors.   | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Tourists can no longer get too close to the iconic stone chariot in front of the Vijaya Vittala Temple in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hampi. The architectural marvel has been cordoned off by a protective ring by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

ASI on Saturday put up the barrier aimed at preventing people from touching or climbing the monument, causing damage in any way.

‘Needs protection’

P. Kalimuthu, Deputy Superintendent of ASI, Hampi, said that the stone chariot is one of the most visited monuments in Hampi and needs extra protection. “Every tourist visiting the site photographs the sensitive monument and touches it. Some even climb it to take their photos with the monument. The protected monument is facing the risk of being damaged by such objectionable behaviour of some of the tourists. We had to, therefore, put the barrier around it,” Mr. Kalimuthu said.

Tourists can, henceforth, see and photograph the monument from a distance, he added.

He also clarified that there were no proposals presently before the ASI to do the same with more monuments in the heritage site.

The proposal to install the protective ring has been in the pipeline for a long time now. There was some opposition from the civil society when the ASI came forward to implement it in February this year.

The chariot inside the temple complex is a shrine dedicated to Garuda, but the sculpture of Garuda is now missing. The Hampi chariot is among three famous stone chariots in India, the other two being in Konark, Odisha, and Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu. The delicately carved chariot at Hampi, art historians say, reflects the skill of temple architecture under the patronage of the Vijayanagara rulers who reigned from 14th to 17th century CE.

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 1:49:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/barricade-put-around-iconic-stone-chariot-at-hampi/article33264127.ece

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