Outrage as video shows vandals toppling ancient temple pillars

A man has been detained by police in India as authorities hunt down vandals seen toppling over ancient temple pillars in a viral video.

The video circulating on social media shows three men deliberately pushing over the centuries-old pillars at Vishnu Temple in the ancient village of Hampi, a UNESCO world heritage site that came second on The New York Times’ “52 Places to Go in 2019” list released just days ago.

In the video, the trio can be seen shoving a pillar over before it crashes to the ground, joining other pillars that met a similar fate.

It’s sparked a firestorm of anger in India, where people have been urging authorities to investigate the sickening vandalism.

The viral video shows three men toppling over the ancient pillars that then crash to the ground.Source:Supplied

As the video went viral on social media, the Archaeological Survey of India, a government department, tweeted it has filed a report with local police.

“In view of the video circulating on social media where in few miscreants are seen pulling down the pillar of UNESCO World Heritage site Hampi Temple, a FIR (first incident report) has been filed in Hampi Police Station,” the tweet read.

“@ASIGoI is committed to bring all the culprits seen in the video to book.”

Police said on Saturday that one young man had been arrested in relation to the incident.

“The police suspect the involvement of four men in the desecration. The police will arrest the suspects at the earliest,” local state police superintendent Arun Rangarajan said, according to the Deccan Herald.

He said it wasn’t clear when the video was filmed and that it may have been as many as two years old.

“The incident might have taken place about six months ago,” the superintendent added. “The Archaeological Survey of India authorities suspect that the incident might have occurred two years ago.”

Water Resources Minister DK Shivakumar said “stern action” would be taken against those involved in the incident, the Herald reported.

“We will not tolerate acts of damaging historical sites,” he said.

Furious social media users have criticised authorities for not doing enough to protect the site and the lack of proper security.

Others suggested political motives behind the vandalism.

Hampi is an ancient village in Karnataka, a state in southwest India, that was at one time believed to be the richest village in the country.

It’s the site of temple complexes, palaces and forts that date back to the Vijayanagara Empire, which was established in the 14th century.

In its description of Hampi on its list of the best places to visit in 2019, The New York Times said the ancient site had only recently opened to tourists.

“Spread over 16 miles (26km) near the banks of the Tungabhadra River, and surrounded by a sea of granite boulders, the UNESCO World Heritage site has been notoriously difficult to reach, until now,” the Times said.

“TruJet recently began daily direct flights from Hyderabad and Bangalore to Ballari, a 25-mile (40km) drive from Hampi.

“Travellers can stay in the newly refreshed Evolve Back Kamalpura Palace or at Ultimate Travelling Camp’s new Kishkinda Camp, which introduced 10 stately tents in December. “Outfitters Black Tomato and Remote Lands now offer journeys in the region, from guided archaeological tours to rock climbing and river jaunts in basket boats.”

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