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A Cultural Splash at Hampi Utsav

by Madhav Srinivasan 1757 days ago

Hampi Utsava is popularly known as the Vijaya Utsava, and it has been celebrated since the time of Krishna Deva Raya. The festival is a mega cultural extravaganza showcasing the dance and music of Karnataka. The festival is scheduled for 3 days each year.

Hampi is a town in North Karnataka and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was the capital of the erstwhile Vijayanagara Empire. Hampi lies on the banks of the Tungabhadra River, and it is dotted with the ruins of over monuments. The ruins date back to the 15th Century and are spread over an area of 25 square kilometres.


Highlights of the Hampi Festival

In 2012, the Hampi Festival is scheduled to be held from 27th to 29th January. The ruins of Hampi provide a spectacular backdrop to the music and dance performance showcasing the rich culture of Karnataka. Yakshagana is the traditional dance drama showcased at this festival. Folk dancers dance to the mesmeric drums of Janapada Kalavahini at the venue. 

Renowned dancers and musicians perform live at Hampi during the festival, the venues for which are spread across 5 sites. The Hampi festival has numerous stalls selling wooden lacquered toys, leather puppets and brightly coloured handicrafts that Karnataka is famous for. Sandalwood carvings and products such as potpourri sachets, soaps, oils, and perfumes are sold at these stalls.

The ruins of Hampi are backlit, and a spectacular light and sound show spotlights the ruins on the banks of the Tungabhadra. The road to the Virupaksha Temple is recreated as it was in the time of the Vijayanagara Empire. Gloriously caparisoned elephants, turbaned soldiers in traditional costumes, and life-size models of monuments give tourists a glimpse of life in Hampi as it was 500 years ago. 

Jumbo Savari akin to that during Mysore’s Dasara festival is organised at Hospet. The ‘Howdah’ carried by the lead elephant belongs to the Vijayanagara Royal Family. Hampi is a world popular historical site included in most of South India tours.

Facilities at Hampi

Hampi attracts tourists from the all over the world, and most outlets serve Kannadiga and international cuisine. There are a number of budget hotels in Hampi, but staying in Hospet is an advisable option. It takes almost 2 days to explore Hampi on foot. Hence, if you intend to explore the place at ease after attending the festival, then you need at least 2-3 days, so book your Hampi tours in Karnataka in advance.

Reaching Hampi

Hampi is about 350 km away from Bangalore by road. Private and public transport is easily available for the journey, which takes about 9 hours. Hospet is the nearest railhead, and there are private taxis plying the 12 km distance from Hospet to Hampi. The nearest international airport is at Bangalore, although there are smaller airports at Bellary and Belgaum.
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