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.
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
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.
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.
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.