Karnataka's Lakkundi next for World Heritage Site list: HK Patil 

Lakkundi is a prime spot, but homes are constructed in the temple premises and people live there.
CM Siddaramaiah and Tourism Minister HK Patil inaugurate the  ‘Our Monument: Our Heritage, Our Identity, Our Pride’ interaction and digital campaign in Bengaluru on Monday | NAGARAJA GADEKAL
CM Siddaramaiah and Tourism Minister HK Patil inaugurate the ‘Our Monument: Our Heritage, Our Identity, Our Pride’ interaction and digital campaign in Bengaluru on Monday | NAGARAJA GADEKAL

BENGALURU: Tourism and Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister HK Patil on Monday said the state government will now propose to add Lakkundi in Gadag to the list of World Heritage Sites. Hampi, Pattadakal and Western Ghats, now Belur, Halebidu and Somanathapura temples are on the list. 

Patil said the tentative plan will be prepared and sent to the central government for clearance. The proposal for the site was drafted by Gadag Tourism Development Committee, comprising 16 members. Patil said he was looking at the restoration, protection and conservation of the sites. 

Lakkundi is a prime spot, but homes are constructed in the temple premises and people live there. It has historical importance, and the committee has highlighted its potential in the report, he said.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the inauguration of ‘Our Monument: Our Heritage, Our Identity, Our Pride’ interaction and digital platform, Namma Smaraka, organised by the departments of Tourism, and Archaeology, Museums and Heritage, to help companies and individuals adopt a heritage site to maintain and protect it.

He said the government has notified 844 sites in the state, but commitment and the notification have remained on paper. To ensure the sites are protected, in the first phase, 248 sites are being put up on the portal for adoption and protection, as part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). He said there are around 10,000 sites in the state that need to be protected to draw tourists. The government alone cannot protect them, and requires involvement of all stakeholders.

Patil highlighted that Yellamanagudda, in Belagavi, Saundatti, drew 1.25 crore tourists this year, which is the highest footfall to any site in the state. This is despite the site not being maintained. He added that the spike in footfall is also because of the Shakti scheme, which has helped many women travel.

Various organisations signed MoUs for adopting sites, with Brigade Foundation signing up for renovation of Venkatappa Art Gallery in Bengaluru. Minister Patil participated in the panel discussion with various organisations and stake holders. They highlighted hurdles in seeking permission for restoration, tax exemption in section 80-G, streamlining and easing the adoption process. 

‘Tourism will aid growth’
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said a boost to tourism will help grow the state’s economy and country’s GDP. If the public joins hands with the government to protect monuments, Karnataka’s history and heritage can be passed on to the next generation, he said. Stating that 60 lakh women have travelled under the Shakti scheme, he said one of the reasons for introducing the scheme was to encourage women to travel and explore various destinations. 

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