State of Conservation (SOC)
Group of Monuments at Hampi (India)
Factors affecting the property in 1999*
- Effects arising from use of transportation infrastructure
- Ground transport infrastructure
- Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
- Management activities
- Management systems/ management plan
International Assistance granted to the property until 1999
Requests Approved: 0
Total Amount Approved: 0USD
Missions to the property until 1999**
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1999
New information: On 25 January 1999 an independent expert informed the Secretariat that a highway and bridge over Tungabhadra River cutting across the World Heritage protected area of the site of Hampi were under construction. On 8 February 1999 during a brief mission to New Delhi, a staff member of the World Heritage Centre called on the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Indian National Commission for UNESCO. Photographs of the construction works were provided and UNESCO’s concern over the negative impact these public works may have on the integrity of this World Heritage Site was expressed. Moreover, it was suggested that the Indian authorities consider halting the on-going works until evidence is established on the non-obtrusive nature of the works and that a report be submitted by the State Party for consideration by the World Heritage Bureau at its twenty-third session. To date, the Secretariat has not received this report.
According to an independent expert report received by the Centre, other obtrusive buildings are being constructed, allegedly without permission from the national authorities, in addition to this bridge over the Tungabhadra River being constructed beside the Virupaksha Temple as an extension of the road up-grading works.
Action RequiredThe Bureau, having been informed of the on-going public and private works within the World Heritage Site of the Groups of Monuments at Hampi, expresses deep concern over the declared threat on the integrity of the site. The Bureau recommends the Secretariat: (a) to organize urgently, a reactive monitoring mission to the site to assess the situation in close co-operation with the State Party and independent experts, and, (b) to submit a report by 15 September 1999 for examination by the Bureau with a view to recommend the possible inscription of this site on the List of World Heritage in Danger by the Committee at its twenty-third session.
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1999
World Heritage Bureau, twenty-third session - Chapter IV.60
New information:Following the decision of the Bureau at its twenty-third session, a reactive monitoring mission was undertaken by a World Heritage Centre staff to Hampi in October 1999, in close co-operation with the State Party. The mission discovered that two cable-suspended modern bridges, instead of one, had been partially constructed within the protected archaeological area of Hampi. Moreover, the mission was informed that a historic mandapa (pillared stone rest-house) on the bank of the Tungabhadra River within the Anegundi village, located in the World Heritage protected site, and administered by the State Government of Karnataka (as per the Mysore Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act & Rules, 1961 & 1962), had been dismantled and reconstructed to make way for the road leading off the vehicle bridge being construction.
The mission noted that both bridges impact negatively on the World Heritage site in the following manner:
(i) The large-scale two-way bridge for vehicular traffic connects the archaeological and historic areas of the ancient capitals of Anegundi and Hampi. The second foot-bridge connects the ancient monuments and sites of Virapapura Gada Island and Hampi, leading directly adjacent to the important Virupaksha Temple in Hampi. Both bridges dominate the extraordinary natural environment and rural setting, threatening the integrity of the World Heritage site.
(ii) The dislocation and reconstruction of an important historical monument within the protected area signifies serious problems in the implementation of existing cultural heritage legislation and policies which points to the need for corrective measures to ensure the authenticity of the site.
(iii) Vehicular traffic, especially of large trucks transporting both agricultural produce and industrial material between eleven villages and major cities surrounding the site, including large iron ore industries, will increase dramatically as the new bridge will enable a short-cut for all traffic traversing the Tungabhadra River. The road leading from the large bridge construction site already passes through the important Harishankara Gateway in Hampi, but further increase in traffic, especially those of heavy-duty trucks will augment the risk of collision into 15th and 16th century historic monuments and ancient archaeological remains located along the roadside. Moreover, increased traffic will hamper, if not render impossible, archaeological research and excavation in significant areas within the World Heritage site, as well as causing negative impact on the local inhabitants, tourists and visitors to the site.
(iv) The second cable-stayed foot-bridge will connect the historic monuments and archaeological remains of Hampi and Virapapura Gada Island, the latter declared as a protected area under the State Government of Karnataka’s protective legislation. The mission was informed that the construction of this second bridge was part of a tourism development plan of a private developer. In view of the remains of a 16th century aqueduct and ancient canal system leading from the Virapapura Gada Island, both national and international archaeologists fear that the implementation of the current tourism development plan will irreversibly damage the archaeological remains for future scientific research or documentation of the sites on Virapapura Gada Island.
The mission held consultations with the Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary and representatives of the relevant authorities of the State Government of Karnataka. The mission also discussed the state of conservation of the Hampi site with the Additional Director-General and Hampi site-managers of the Archaeological Survey of India. It was evident that a comprehensive needs-assessment of the local communities, heritage protection, and sustainable tourism development supported by sound data analysis had not been undertaken before the decision was taken to construct the bridges. The mission noted that feasibility studies to identify alternative locations and designs of the bridges, including the possible rehabilitation of the 16th century stone bridges connecting Hampi, Anegundi and Virapapura Gada Island, were not undertaken prior to the implementation of the works underway.
The mission was informed that the construction of the bridges had temporarily been halted in July 1999 following the decision of the Bureau and was assured that immediate action would be taken to protect the World Heritage value of the site. The mission provided assistance in the preparation of an emergency assistance request to enable urgent action and to initiate the preparation of a comprehensive conservation, management and development plan. It is to be noted that the elaboration of a management plan had been recommended by UNESCO and ICOMOS experts since the inscription of the site on the World Heritage List in 1986. Discussions were also held with State Party representatives on the nomination of this site on the List of World Heritage in Danger, for consideration by the World Heritage Committee at its twenty-third session.
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1999
Groups of Monuments at Hampi (India)
After receiving information concerning the construction of a highway and bridge over Tungabhadra River cutting across the World Heritage protected area of the site of Hampi, the World Heritage Centre expressed deep concern over the negative impact these public works may have on the integrity of this site. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) confirmed that the bridge and the road leading from the bridge would affect the nationally protected monuments within Hampi, especially the Talauargattaa Temple and Gate through which the road already passes. ASI has contacted the Chief Secretary of the State Government of Karnataka, who is responsible for the construction of the bridge. The ASI officials have suggested that the Chief Secretary be requested to consider shifting the location of the bridge, and if not, at least divert the alignment of the road so that the World Heritage complex of Hampi is not affected by vehicular pollution and vibration. The ASI authorities informed the World Heritage Centre that an international expert mission to this site would be welcome.
The Bureau, having been informed of the on-going public works within this World Heritage site, expressed deep concern over the declared threat to the integrity of the site. The Bureau recommended that the Secretariat: (a) urgently organize, a reactive monitoring mission to the site to assess the situation in close co-operation with the State Party, the advisory bodies and independent experts and, (b) submit a report by 15 September 1999 for examination by the Bureau with a view to recommending the possible inscription of this site on the List of World Heritage in Danger by the Committee at its twenty-third session.
New Inscriptions on the World Heritage List in Danger
VIII.1 Following the review of the state of conservation reports and at the recommendation of the Bureau, the Committee decided to inscribe the following natural and cultural properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
- Salonga National Park (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
- Rwenzori Mountains National Park (Uganda)
- Iguaçu National Park (Brazil)
- Hampi (India)
VIII.2 The Committee did not recommend the deletion of properties from the List of World Heritage in Danger.
SOC: Groups of Monuments at Hampi (India)
X.33 Groups of Monuments at Hampi (India)
The Committee recalled the reports from the twenty-third ordinary and the twenty-third extraordinary session of the Bureau on the state of conservation of this property and adopted the following decision:
"The Committee examined the findings of the UNESCO reactive monitoring mission, and expressing deep concern over the partial construction of two cable-suspended bridges within the protected archaeological areas of Hampi, decided to inscribe the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
In view of the ascertained and potential dangers threatening the integrity and authenticity of the site, the Committee requested the national authorities concerned to urgently elaborate a comprehensive conservation, management and development plan, with the assistance of ICOMOS and the World Heritage Centre.
The Committee requested the Government of India to report on the progress made in reducing the dangers facing the site, and in developing the comprehensive management plan, for examination by the twenty-fourth session of the Bureau."
The Observer of India expressed his Government's appreciation to the Committee for its concern over the state of conservation of Hampi. He stated that the protection of the extraordinary site of Hampi, the result of centuries of interaction between man and nature, was no easy task. However, the Observer underlined that the integrity of Hampi, comprising approximately 40 kilometers of villages, banana fields, rice paddies, the river, rocks and monuments, must be preserved. The Observer informed that the problem of preservation of the archaeological remains was a classic example of the conflict between heritage conservation and development, and that innovative solutions would have to be found in solving this problem. The Committee was informed that the construction of the two bridges had been halted, but that corrective measures would have to be undertaken to remove the threats facing the site.
The Observer stated that the inscription of the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger would strengthen the capacity of the Archaeological Survey of India and the State Government of Karnataka in their efforts to safeguard this unique site, and will ensure its long-term protection. Finally, the Observer called upon the Committee and the World Heritage Centre for assistance to ensure the integrity of the site.
The Committee expressed its appreciation to the Government of India by acclamation.
The Bureau may wish to examine further information provided by the Secretariat at the time of its twenty-third extraordinary session and take a decision thereupon.
The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).