Archaeological Site ≠ Hotel, Restaurant

With the object of ensuring preservation in the erstwhile State of Mysore, The Mysore Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1961 was enacted. The State Government was accorded the power to declare certain ancient monuments as ‘protected monuments’ and certain archaeological sites and remains as ‘protected areas’. 10 villages, including Virupapura Gaddi, were declared to be ‘protected areas’.  

During the period 1990-2000, given the increasing number of tourists visiting Virapapura Gaddi, certain hotel/restaurant licenses were obtained from the Village Panchayat to cater to needs.

The Hampi World Heritage Area Management Authority, upon introduction of The Hampi World Heritage Area Management Authority Act, 2002 directed the Panchayats and Local Authorities not to renew any licenses and not to grant permission for commercial activities within Virupapura Gaddi. When we look at the village specifically, there appears to be sufficient material to establish its archaeological significance. There remains little doubt as to its historical importance.

The huts and buildings were constructed for the commercial purpose of running hotels, restaurants and guest houses. It is evident that owners/occupiers of ‘protected areas’ could not have constructed any building or utilize such areas in any manner other than cultivation, without the permission of the State Government. The permissions/licenses obtained from the Local Panchayat were issued without any authority.”

Hon’ble Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar, Sakkubai v. State of Karnataka, [Civil Appeal Nos. 1443-1456 of 2020].VG