A view inside the Virupaksha Temple at Hampi in Karanataka, India on a November Saturday when the temple was busy with village weddings.
Hampi is the kind of place where I would happily spend a week or more, even though it’s quite a small village, providing that the Karnataka Tourist Board have not relocated most of the villagers who were living amongst the ancient ruins of the bazaar. When I was last here they were building a new ‘outlet village’ on the other side of this large World Heritage Site, well away from Hampi village itself and that would be a disaster. Why would people want to visit deserted ruins when they could visit a rich and vibrant cultural experience?
Preservation and conservation are important but the manicured lawns and high fences brigade surely don’t want the experience of Hampi to become a dry and sterile one. When last here the auto rickshaw drivers were protesting about the proposed ban of two stroke powered tuk-tuks within the site and their replacement with electric vehicles. Is this a case of trying too hard and wanting to be seen to be a modern and responsible, ‘green’ country? Next will come the fences and the one thousand rupee entrance charges and guess who won’t be going again…….