Bellary, Mar 15: Anegundi, part of the World Heritage Site, Hampi, is being developed into a world class tourist spot by engaging the localites to sensitise them to their cultural wealth and provide them a means of livelihood.
The picturesque village, located on the northern side bank of river Tungabhadra, was said to be the legendary Kishkinda, a kingdom of the monkey prince Sugriva and the cradle place of the historic Krishnadevaraya dynasty of the glorious Vijayanagar empire and falls in the core zone of Hampi.
Realising that to appreciate and be involved in conserving ancient lineage and historic surroundings, the villagers of Anegundi must be self-sufficient with sustainable economic support, the Union Government under its Rural Tourism Scheme formed a Trust named Kishkinda to build capacity in the villagers to maintain business incubators.
Kishkinda Trust Coordinator Shama Pawar told UNI that the Rural Tourist Project was aimed at achieving a balance between the present day needs of people and sensitising them to their own cultural wealth. It was a larger comprehensive action plan to revisit, redefine and reassign values in citizenry.
She said the Centre had sanctioned Rs 54 lakh for the project, of which Rs 30 lakh had been spent on various development and business activities. The remaining amount would be spent after assessing the works.
The main activities taken up engaging the localites were improving the village surroundings through landscaping, developing parks and gardens, putting up fence and constructing compound walls, laying roads within the Panchayat limits, fixing street lights, managing solid waste and sewerage, procuring equipment required for water sports and adventure sports, introducing eco-friendly modes of transport for moving within the tourism zone and setting up reception centres.
To meet contemporary needs of tourists, traditional houses in the village were converted into guest houses without disturbing its ancient look. The villagers were earning a handsome amount by renting out these houses to the tourists.
They have also set up a craft shop offering a range of items made locally using banana fibre, an internet cafe to help visitors keep in touch with the outer world and a restaurant to treat their taste buds. Local artforms had also been revived to entertain the visitors.
Existing tanks in the village had been redesigned to store clean drinking water and proper drainage facilities developed to keep the surroundings clean and hygienic.