First the good news. Good news is that water has started receding at heritage sites of Pattadakalu and Aihole. But not so good news is that right now its not known the extent of damage to the sites from recent floods. However, preliminary survey by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) shows that heritage sites are not much damaged. It may be recalled here that with the water from Naviluteertha Dam overflowing into Malaprabha River UNESCO listed World Heritage site Pattadakalu and another heritage monument Aihole were inundated on Friday.
Meanwhile, ASI, has decided to do a detailed assessment of the impact of flood on the monuments. ASI had found huge quantity of silt accumulated in some sites of Aihole and in-depth assessment is required to find out the extent of restoration work needed to be done at the sites. ASI has decided to restrict access to visitors to some of the sites till they are restored. ASI is also in talks with the district administration and state government officials to ascertain if some sites can be closed to take up restoration works.
Fortunately, water has started receding and according to ASI officials, if the waterlogging had continued for longer duration the longevity of the sandstone would have been hampered.
All the monuments of Chalukya dynasty, including UNESCO world heritage site Pattadakalu and Aihole, are built using sedimentary rocks. The monuments are withering away due to natural calamities. In the last decade this is the second time both monuments submerged under Malaprabha River.
According to officials, nine Hindu temples and a Jain sanctuary, built by the Chalukyas in Pattadakal, were inundated. This includes the Virupaksha Temple built in 740 CE by queen Lokamahadevi to commemorate her husband’s victory over the southern kingdoms, two cave temples and 12 other heritage temples at Aihole. These temples were below 8 feet of water.