According to legend, Domingo Paes, a Portuguese traveler, remarked, “What I saw seemed as large as Rome, and very beautiful to the sight best provided in the world,” upon arriving at Hampi. Renowned authors, artists, and tourists have marveled at the ruins of Hampi, which conjure up memories of their former splendor and extravagance. Travelers from other countries have always flocked here, praising its fabled wealth and beauty.

The once-proud city of victory is now, regrettably, a city of neglect. Not everything in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hampi is’swachh,’ as the village was named the Best Tourism Village in the Bronze Category in 2023, beating out 35 other Indian villages.

The tourist facilities are appalling. According to Ravi Menon, managing director of Arjun Tours and Travels and vice president of the Karnataka Tourism Forum (KTF), “hygienic public restroom facilities are an absolute necessity.” He continues, “When this was brought to the attention of Union Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy during his visit to Hampi in 2022, prompt action was taken.” As part of their Corporate Social Responsibility, JSW Group has now intervened to provide public restrooms close to Virupaksha Temple.

The government is not actively promoting Hampi or other architectural treasures like Badami, Aihole, and Pattadakkal. A few months ago, KTF organized a familiarization trip called “Romancing the Stones” to introduce 30 top travel agents from throughout the nation to “Hampi and Beyond.”

In Hampi and the surrounding areas, tourist, locals, and hoteliers face numerous challenges. According to Sripada, the managing director of the Mallige Hotel, “The state of tourism in Hampi and the surrounding villages is terrible right now.” The fundamental infrastructure of Hampi is lacking, including approach roads and reasonably priced lodging.

Strict regulations apply to new construction near the site. The 100 meters surrounding protected monuments are “prohibited,” meaning no new construction is allowed under any circumstances, according to the Archeological Survey of India (ASI). The 200 meters beyond that radius are considered “regulated areas,” where permission is required for any construction.

Jindal SAW Limited launched a number of environmental awareness initiatives during World Environment Week in June 2023, including a cleanup effort at the Tungabhadra Bathing Ghat in Hampi that involved gathering trash from the riverbank. A tractor was used to transport the collected waste, guaranteeing correct disposal and stopping additional pollution of the picturesque Tungabhadra River.

Utsav Hampi

An annual government-sponsored extravaganza, the Hampi Utsav is more akin to a local mela and is not publicised both nationally and internationally. Since the Utsav is not well known, foreign visitors do not travel specifically for the Hampi Utsav; instead, if they are in the state, they attend it. The Hampi Utsav is held on a date that is determined by the ministers involved based on their availability and convenience. The Tourism Department ought to set up an events schedule and devise a strategy for public relations, advertising, and travel and lodging bookings for the festival. Local artists should participate in the Utsav and it should showcase the local flavor.

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