More than 350 tourists including 100 from foreign countries were rescued from the flood-hit world-famous heritage site of Hampi in Karnataka after heavy rains caused floods stranding the tourists for 2 to 3 days.
According to officials, “The Indian Air Force (IAF) crew airlifted the marooned tourists in MI-17 helicopter and the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv, in batches from a guest house near the Virupapura gadde (island) temple at the Hampi heritage site to the Vijayanagar airport between Hospet and Ballari towns in the state’s northwest region over the last two days.”
Tourists Stranded In State-run Guest House
Hampi is located to the south of Tungabhadra joint rivers. UNESCO has recognized it as a heritage site for its ruins and monuments dating back to the 14th century built during the Vijayanagara empire. The important monuments that are still intact include 7th-century Virupaksha temple that was inundated due to excess release of water from a nearby dam.
Located around 340 km to the northwest of Bengaluru in the rich-mining district of Ballari, Hampi attracts tourists across the world. According to officials, “As the 20 km road connectivity to the heritage site from Hospet town was flooded and damaged, the tourists had to be airlifted in turns as they were stranded in a state-run guest house near the temple on an island.”
The southwest monsoon has been quite active since August 1. Due to heavy rains in the catchment areas of both Tunga and Bhadra rivers in the Malnad region of the state the reservoirs were already filled to the brim near Hospet where the two rivers join.
An official recalled, “As 2.5-lakh cusecs of water were released from the TB dam since Saturday, the ancient monuments, temple complexes and the market places (bazaars) were flooded when the overflowing water breached the banks and entered the ruins.”
Hundreds Of Tourists And Pilgrims Were Rescued
Apart from historical places located at Hampi, other places of historical importance including the Purndara mandapa and Chola mandapa had also drowned underwater while the Anjaneyaswamy temple and Kampli fort was flooded as the Tungabhadra had started overflowing. The state and national disaster response forces rescued hundreds of tourists and pilgrims from flood-hit Pattadakal in the neighboring district of Bagalkot.
The district also has yet another United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) world heritage site recognized for its Hindu and Jain temples and monuments from the 7th and 8th century. T.K. Sunil Kumar, the State Tourism Secretary has stated that no damage has incurred to both these heritage sites due to flooding.
Kumar told media, “Measures have been taken to clear the water from the heritage sites by pumping it from the complexes and making ways for reversing the flow back to the river or diverting it in open areas or fields.”