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Marred by vandalism and neglect

D.K. Kishan Rao

The stone elephants once stood at the gateway of the Malliabad fortress



Vandals have their way:The damaged stone elephants located at the fortress of Malliabad village near Raichur

Raichur: A pair of life-sized elephants exquisitely carved in white granite, located within the fortress in Malliabad village on the outskirts of Raichur city, was declared a protected historical monument by the State Department of Archaeology. The elephants are said to be from the period of the Vijayanagar Empire. However, today, the monuments are in a state of neglect.

Going back in history, the elephants were placed in front of a Vishnu temple when the original fort of Malliabad was built by the Kakatiya Queen of Warrangal in 1294 A.D. It is said that the elephants once adorned the gateway of the Malliabad fortress. Incidentally, the monument was intact till about two years ago, when vandals cut off a section of the ear of an elephant and damaged its belly, while they removed the tusk of another. It is feared that the monuments may face further vandalism if no action is taken to protect them.

Two years ago, the State Government had released Rs. 40 lakh to the Department of Archaeology to take up the restoration of the Vishnu temple located near the stone elephants and provide proper protection to the historical monuments surrounding it. The department spent the funds on the temple but neglected to give protection to the historical monuments.

Activists concerned with the preservation of historical monuments appealed to the district administration to give proper protection to the monuments. But the district administration has so far shown no interest in protecting these explicitly carved elephants.

Then, the monument caught the attention of Rajaneesh Goel, Regional Commissioner, Gulbarga, while he was here for two days on official duty last week. Mr. Goel, along with officials of the Archaeological Department, had visited Malliabad and noted the damage to the monuments. He directed officials concerned to take immediate action to put up a signboard highlighting the historical importance of the Malliabad fort. He also asked the officials to arrange for shifting of the stone elephants to the premises of the office of the Deputy Commissioner in the city. However, the people of Malliabad village objected to the move. They said if proper protection was given to the monument, it would serve as a potential tourist spot.

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