In an incident similar to the vandalism at a temple in Hampi five months ago, structures at the Nava Brindavana of Anegundi, which is the resting place of nine Hindu saints belonging to the Uttaradi Mutt, were found damaged on Thursday morning.
Police officials are investigating the incident which occurred at the site located on an island on the Tungabhadra river in Koppal district, around 12 km away from Hampi.
The site is the resting place of the nine saints of the Madhva community, a Brahmin sub-caste. They are mostly settled in Karnataka and its neighboring states.
Damages to the structures of the resting places and an idol at the site came to light on Thursday morning when the caretaker of the private property, who is the only person who visits the site regularly, informed the police.
"In this season, the place is accessible only by boat from Anegundi and Ballari," said a police official investigating the incident.
The district administration manages boats operating in and out of the island but according to the investigating police, the service closes at 4 pm and does not appear to have been used to travel to the island."We are talking to locals and asking if anybody suspicious were seen in the area," the police official said.
Police investigate 'treasure hunters'
Police officials are investigating whether the damage was caused by 'treasure hunters' looking for the supposed treasure of Krishnadevaraya, an emperor of the Vijayanagara empire who reigned from 1509–1529. Treasure hunters are prominent in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region, particularly in the areas which were once part of the Vijayanagara empire.
"We suspect that people looking for treasures have done this because we found that a ritual was performed at the site and in places they have attempted to dig," an investigating official added.
Police officials are speaking to locals in the area to find out if any suspicious persons were seen entering the site.
This comes five months after a group of men were forced to help re-erect the pillars at the Vishnu temple in Hampi after a video of them toppling the pillars was shared widely on social media.
Read: 'Raju was here': Why in the world do Indians vandalise heritage monuments?