Unabated rainfall in Karnataka’s Bagalakot district has inundated UNESCO World Heritage temples in Aihole and Pattadakal. Water from the Naviluteertha Dam was released into the Malaprabha River on Friday, which led to the inundation of the heritage temples.
Pattadakal is located 23 km away from Badami and Aihole at a distance of 35 km from the popular tourist destination. The monuments located in Aihole and Pattadakal were built by the Chalukyas between the 6th and 8th century CE.
According to Bagalakot Deputy Commissioner Ramachandran, the nine Hindu temples and a Jain sanctuary built by the Chalukyas in Pattadakal were inundated on Friday and continued to flood on Saturday. “The Virupaksha Temple, was built in 740 CE by Queen Lokamahadevi to commemorate her husband's victory over southern kingdoms. This is the biggest tourist attraction here. Waterlogging is up to 5 ft above ground level currently,” DC Ramachandran added.
Two cave temples and 12 other heritage temples in Aihole too were inundated. “So far we don’t have any human casualty in the district. There are some animal deaths. We have three rivers— Ghataprabha, Malaprabha and Krishna— all three have flooded their banks. Approximately till now, 70,000 people have been evacuated from low lying areas to safety,” Lokesh, SP of Bagalkot told TNM.
DC Ramachandran says that the waterlogging at the heritage sites is dangerous if the situation persists as the water could erode the rocks used to build the temple.
“So far 100 families have been trapped in Pattadakal’s Shirabadagi village close to the heritage structures. We have evacuated everyone from Aihole. The NDRF team tried to rescue them on Friday but they were unable to navigate the boats in Pattadakal. We requested the Indian Air Force to airlift the people who are trapped. We were not even able to give them food packets,” DC Ramachandran said.
However, the stranded persons were successfully rescued on Saturday.