In an attempt to bring to light the poor state of the historical site- Pavuralakonda, a torchlight walk is being organised by Jayashree Hatangadi, a historical narrator based in Vizag. The walk begins at the foothill at 4 PM on 10 October.
Pavuralakonda, a 2nd-century Buddhist site, is a hillock lying to the west of Bheemli in Vizag. The historical site is often unkempt and raided on by bikers, boozers, and more. “The place is thrashed with beer bottles and other trash,” Jayashree says. When Jayashree visited Pavuralakonda around six months ago, the place was ransacked and trashed. According to the site in-charge, bikers start flooding the place during the sunset and break the lock, bash the gate, ride into the site, and around every structure- the cisterns and the sculptures as well. However, six months hence, the condition of the historical site has not changed. Jayashree witnessed ‘bold bikers’ go up and down the hill even during the pandemic.
“We want to fix a strong gate at the bottom of the hill- one that could avoid the bikers from entering the site,” Jayashree says. However, due to lack of funding, the Archaeology department has agreed to put a boulder instead. The boulder is expected to be up on the day of the walk. During the torchlight walk, Jayashree also aims to educate the participants on the importance of Pavuralakonda.
The major aim of heritage enthusiasts, a group of history and heritage lovers, is to stop the centuries-old Buddhist site from being destroyed.
“We promote our Buddhist heritage sites as ‘Buddhist Corridors & verandas and asl national and foreign delegates to visit our sites. But at the same time, we are destroying our ancient sites deliberately and due to lack of security. All this at what cost?” Jayashree questions.
Anyone who wishes to participate in the torchlight walk at Pavuralakonda is instructed to wear a mask, comfortable walking shoes, carry water, and maintain physical distancing.