Karnataka’s unprotected monuments are in decline

Art & Culture

The state has 30k of them

Marvellous architecture hidden by piles of garbage, vandalised structures and walls defaced by graffiti characterize Karnataka’s unprotected monuments.

According to an article published by The Hindu, Karnataka has 844 monuments of state importance protected under the Karnataka Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1961. Apart from this, 609 centrally protected monuments of national importance come under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The state is also home to 30,000 unprotected monuments.

Shambhu Hosamani, a resident of Adur village Kukanoor taluk, said: “Currently even the protected monuments are in a sorry state. Hampi, for example, has some monuments whose walls have fallen apart.”

About the condition of the Koppal fort, he said: “The fact that entry is free makes it convenient for all kinds of people to enter the place. Since the fort is located in a local area, it is packed with locals. This is why one finds the place littered with all kinds of waste.”

Sweta S, a 27-year-old tourist, said: “I visited the fort a few years ago…. Apart from me, there were a lot of people there.It made me wonder about the revenue the state could have generated out of this fort…. The most common problem that occurs when someone decides to travel to an unprotected monument is accessibility. The path leading to the monument is tiring as it is often hidden within a narrow stretch of inhabited streets.”

According to a report published by the ministry of tourism, the total number of foreign visitors to monuments in 2021-22 was 3.18 lakh, while domestic visitors numbered 2.6 crore.

Dontha Prashant, assistant professor of economics, Hyderabad University, said if a state preserves a monument, it will preserve historic legacy, generate revenue, and help the local economy

If the path to a monument is not well maintained, then it will get few or no visitors. “Similar is the case with a monument.If not protected, it will soon get inaccessible. When a structure remains unprotected, then there is a danger that its structure might get erased.”

Manoj Kumar, assistant professor, of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, Indira Gandhi National Tribal Universitysaid not every monument should be protected and if this is done then it will not be possible to give proper attention to each monument.

“There are certain criteria based on which a monument can be taken into the purview of the government. The criteria include architectural importance, historical importance and technical importance. The Archaeological Survey of India and the state government can protect the monuments on the above-mentioned criteria. Almost every sector in India faces a problem of funding, so is the case here. It is not possible for the government to protect all the monuments or provide funds for every monument. Even the centrally protected monuments witness a lack of funding.”

According to a submission made by the ministry of culture, 50 of 3,693 centrally protected monuments have gone missing. Fourteen of these monuments have been lost to rapid urbanisation, 12 are submerged by dams, and the locations of the remaining 24 remain untraceable.



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