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The Ruins Live Yet Another Life - Hampi Utsav 2008

In the midst of rocks and ruins Hampi looks splendid all the time of the year. But to see the overwhelming splendour of the city and its richness, one should attend the Hampi Utsav (festival) in their lifetime. The festival is known by several names including Vijayanagara Utsav, Vijayanagara Vaibhava, Hampi Utsav or Vijaya Utsav. The event is aimed at promoting tourism and also to increase the awareness about Hampi.

This year, the celebration would be from 3rd to 5th of November. While the administration has planned to celebrate the festival on a grand scale, it is yet to be seen how well the plans are executed. There is a huge surge in tourism with a several hundred thousands of tourists flocking the place during festival. All the hoteliers have been given strict instructions to take precautionary measures and prevent any health hazards.


The festival was started in the year 1987 and is in its 12th year. However, this is just the recent past. It is believed that the Kings of Vijayanagara Empire started the public celebration of Dasara who used to participate in the nine day festival along with their subjects at Mahanavami Dibba. There has been a wonderful recording of the festival by the Italian chronicler Nicolo De Conti who visited the Vijayanagara Empire around 1420/1421 A.D. during the reign of Deva Raya II. Conti never wrote anything himself and his stories were recorded by Poggio Bracciolini. In one such recordings, he talks of three festivals "the third, which lasts nine days, they set up in all the highways large beams, like the masts of small ships, to the upper part of which are attached pieces of very beautiful cloth of various kinds, interwoven with gold. On the summit of each of these beams is each day placed a man of pious aspect, dedicated to religion, capable of enduring all things with equanimity, who is to pray for the favour of God".

After the fall of Vijayanagara Empire, the Wodeyar Kings continued the celebrations on a much larger scale in Mysore annually but Hampi had lost it for a few years. The Government of Karnataka started it again but for a period of 3 days only and also not during the Dasara festival itself but a few days after Dasara.

Cultural events

Special events including sports, dance and music concerts by prominent musicians of India are held at various monumental sites in Hampi. This year, there are plans of putting up five stages in different sections of the ancient city with one of them reserved exclusively for women. These stages are generally named after the prominent personalities and philanthropists of the region. The festival also promotes local culture by providing a chance to local artists to perform during the fest.

The festival includes Dance, Drama, Music, fireworks, puppet shows, spectacular processions, etc. Artists from various fields and from every corner of India gather here to enjoy the beautiful splendour of the festival. All the events are held in open spaces, so the people enjoy the open air environment of the celebrations. The calm and quiet Hampi city enjoys the vibrant and soothing classical music and enjoys the presence of artists during these days.

Noted film actor Hema Malini would be among the star performers at the utsav. The high-powered committee for organising the Hampi Utsav under the Chairmanship of Tourism Minister Sri Janardhana Reddy is orgainising the mega cultural festival on a grand scale and to hold the celebrations in a befitting manner. Some of the big names from the world of entertainment will perform at this year’s Hampi Utsav. Asha Bhonsle, Kishori Amonkar, Sonu Nigam, Gazal singer Pankaj Udhas, actor Vasundhara Das and legendary Ilayaraja will be the star performers.

Hampi Utsav 2008 Timetable

For the complete time table of the events and latest updates, please click here.


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