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27/05/24 05:47 AM IST

Hampi’s Virupaksha temple

In News
  • A portion of the Virupaksha temple in Karnataka collapsed following torrential rains.
Significance
  • Despite legends about its origins going further back, the Virupaksha temple gained prominence and underwent extensive expansion in the 14th century during the Vijayanagara Empire (1336 to 1646).
  • Founded by Harihara I of the Sangama dynasty, the Vijayanagara empire expanded from a strategic position on the banks of the Tungabhadra river to become one of the most powerful kingdoms of its time.
  • The temple flourished under the patronage of the Vijayanagara rulers, who were great builders and patrons of art. It became a vital centre for the religious and cultural activities of its time.
  • It is a prime example of Dravidian temple architecture, characterised by its grand gopurams (towering gateways), the shikhara towering over the sanctum sanctorum, its intricate carvings and pillared halls. Richly adorned with carvings and sculptures, the gopuram depicts various deities, mythological scenes and animals.
  • The sanctum sanctorum houses the Shiva lingam, the main object of worship.
  • Historians say all temples had pavilions where traders sold articles, such as those used in worship. Sometimes devotees visiting the temple also camped under the pavilions.
  • With several other temples and structures located there, Hampi was the empire’s capital city and stands today as evidence of what is known as the last ‘great Hindu empire’ of South India.
  • UNESCO also recognised its uniqueness and categorised the Group of Monuments at Hampi as a World Heritage Site.
Challenges
  • ASI officials stated that issues related to funding, logistics and human resources are the key challenges they face while taking up restoration work.
  • Rs 8 crore was granted in the last financial year by the Central government for the restoration of monuments in the Kalyan Karnataka region, stretching from Vijayanagar to Bidar.
  • Further, the restoration of stone pillars requires the same type of stone used initially and is done through a traditional method, which is time-consuming.
  • The UNESCO website also noted broader concerns about the heritage site’s preservation.
  • The Virupaksha temple is in constant worship, this has led to many additions and alterations to different parts of temple complex.
  • Similarly, the haphazard growth of modern shops, restaurants in and around it and its bazaar that caters to religious and social tourists has impacted adversely on its setting as has the asphalting of the roads over the ancient pathway in front of the Virupaksha temple.
  • The tensions between modern uses and protecting the fabric and setting of the ancient remains need to be managed with the utmost sensitivity.”
Source- Indian Express

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