City of Ruins remains unaffected by Covid-19, slowdown

City of Ruins remains unaffected by Covid-19, slowdown

Foreign tourists at Ugra Narasimha monument in Hampi, Hosapete taluk. DH PHOTO

The World Health Organisation has declared the Covid-19 outbreak as pandemic. But that has not deterred the tourists, both international and national, from visiting the Unesco World Heritage site Hampi.

While the Chalukyan sites in undivided Vijayapura district, Hoysala sites in Hassan district and the City of Palaces are witnessing a drastic dip in tourists footfall owing to Covid-19 outbreak, interestingly, Hampi is seeing a good tourist turnout.

“About 5,000 to 6,000 tourists -foreigners and locals, visit Hampi on a daily basis. Virupaksha Temple alone is seeing a footfall of about 3,000 people a day. The numbers have not come down, despite the Covid-19 outbreak. The erstwhile capital of Vijayanagar empire has remained unaffected by virus scare and slowdown,” says Prakash Rao, the executive officer of Virupaksha Temple.

“Tourism industry in the world heritage site is not facing the Covid-19 heat. Most of the homestays and hotels in Hampi and Hosapete are full. Shops and tourist guides are making good business, as usual,” says a local shopkeeper.

The virus scare has not affected foreign tourist arrivals. Normally, about two thousand foreign tourists, including those from Russia, Israel, Germany, France and The Netherlands, visit Hampi daily. There is no dip in the number of tourists visiting the City of Ruins despite the Covid-19 outbreak and economic slowdown. Interestingly, many foreign tourists joined locals in the traditional Holi festival earlier this week.

“Nestled among the rocky hills, Hampi has remained untouched by the hustle-bustle of the city. The Health department has taken necessary measures to combat Covid-19. Teams of doctors are camping at Jindal Vijayanagar airport, Hosapete railway station, bus stand and at Hampi to screen the overseas and domestic tourists for the virus. Tourists are allowed to enter Hampi only after thorough checks. Good health practices from the department has allayed the fears of the locals,” says Gopal, a senior tourist guide.

He added, normally the overseas tourists spend two to three days in Hampi before going to other tourist spots in the state or Goa. But they are in no mood to take chance in view of Covid-19 outbreak. They are extending their stay by a week in Hampi before flying home.

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