Heritage Tower at Hampi damaged by criminals

Criminals on Sunday damaged a 15-foot-tall tower atop the Malyavanta Hill in Bellary district's Hampi under the belief that it had a treasure chest. The miscreants damaged the heritage structure by digging a five-foot diameter in the three-storey Gaali Gopura. Zonal police inspector Venkateshulu said four pillars of the gopura were found damaged. The miscreants had cut the branches of the eucalyptus trees close to the tower to climb the gopura. "We have recovered tools used by them to dig up the gopura,'' he said.

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Unfortunate incident

Hampi Heritage Site TempleTourism minister Anand Singh, who visited the spot, said: "It's an unfortunate incident. I have asked police to step up the security at the Hampi sites and ensure such incidents are not repeated." The minister said he has directed the archaeological department officials, who earlier visited the site, to take measures to restore the damaged tower.

The incident comes despite heightened security at the Unesco world heritage site of Hampi and neighbouring ancient site of Anegundi on the banks of river Tungabhadra. Closed-circuit TV cameras were installed after parts of the famed Varaha temple collapsed due to illegal quarrying in nearby villages in July.

According to an official of the Hampi World Heritage Area Management Authority, 33 locations at Hampi and Anegundi are under electronic surveillance. The official said they are now planning to bring the Malyavanta Hill, where the tower was damaged, under its watch.

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