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Villagers launch a signature campaign to include Sandur temples in the UNESCO list

In a concerted effort to safeguard the Kumaraswami and Parvati Devi temples nestled in Swamimalai Hill, villagers of Sandur taluk have initiated a signature campaign. These ancient structures, dating back 1,200 years, face the threat of degradation due to ongoing intensive mining activities in the vicinity. Collaborating with the Janasangrama Parishad Samaja Parivarthana Sanudaya Samaajamukhi, the villagers aim to secure a UNESCO tag for the temple, currently under the purview of the Archaeological Survey of India. This designation is anticipated to bolster the protection of this historically significant site.

The Kumaraswamy temple, predating the Vijayanagara Empire, has recently witnessed the collapse of one of its pillars due to the impact of mining activities near the temple, situated within a reserve forest. Subsequently, concerned villagers filed a case with the Karnataka High Court against the mining company, prompting the court to establish an Environment Board committee to investigate the matter.

Shrisail Aladahalli, leader of the villagers, expressed their determination to utilize the ongoing Skanda fair in Sandur to garner support for their cause. Conducting a two-day signature campaign at the fair, the villagers intend to leverage the crowd to raise awareness and support. Despite a court order to halt mining activities in proximity to the temple, some mining companies continue to flout directives.

Aladahalli emphasized the significance of obtaining UNESCO protection for the temple, emphasizing that such a designation would prohibit mining and non-forestry activities in the area. The signature campaign seeks to collect support from the community, with plans to submit memoranda to the UNESCO country head office and the Karnataka High Court. The ultimate objective is to prompt the state government to promptly declare the temple surroundings as a protected forest, facilitating the cessation of mining activities within a 2 km radius of the temple. The villagers anticipate approximately 20,000 signatures on the memorandum, underscoring their sole aim of preserving this historic temple for future generations.

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