Hampi Utsav, Hampi festival also known as the Vijaya Utsav is one of the largest celebrations of the ancient Vijayanagar empire now Hampi. The festivities take place every year at the Virupaksha Temple, commemorating the culture, traditions of the bygone era. With the beautifully carved ruins of Hampi serving as the backdrop, the rich culture of this region is shown through folk song and dance performances. The Janapada Kalavahini, a concert of folk songs, and the light and sound shows are unique attractions which you can't afford to miss.
Hampi Utsav is a celebration of cultural traditions and remembrance of the past than a religious festival. Therefore there is no fixed date of its celebration according to any calendar. The celebrations take place for three days. However, being a cultural event and one that is organised by the state, the festival is scheduled according to the time deemed best by the government of Karnataka.
Hampi Utsav Live - Venue
Hampi Utsav is celebrated in the ruins of the ancient city of Hampi, in the Indian state of Karnataka. Being a witness to ancient and medieval grandeur of Vijayanagara Empire and beyond, the site of Hampi relives the past in the three-day event at the same location. It is situated on the banks of the river Tungabhadra and at a distance of 373 kilometres from the city of Bengaluru, which is a technological hub and called the Silicon Valley of India.
Hampi Utsav - Events, Schedule & Program List
With a culturally rich history, Hampi in the Indian state of Karnataka witnesses numerous festivities throughout the year. The Hampi festival or the Hampi Utsav is the largest of all the festivals celebrated in Hampi. Although the exact time of origin of the Hampi Utsav is not known, the festival has been celebrated since the Vijayanagar Empire. It is noted that the beginning of Hampi Utsav has its roots in the Vijayanagar Empire itself since the festivities incorporate elements in remembrance of the grandeur of Vijayanagar reign.
Things to Do and See
Jumbo Safari and Procession
An elephant march is taken out, informally known as 'Jambo Safari?, remembering the grandeur of the Vijaynagar Empire's rule. People gather in large numbers for a procession, often causing overcrowding in the small city that Hampi has survived as. The parade includes men dressed up as military men of the medieval time on foot and horsebacks. The march is an apparent repercussion of the former empirical grandeur of an empire which the people have kept alive in their hearts, and relive it in traditions and festivities.
The Virupaksha temple enjoyed the honour of a guardian shrine of the Vijayanagar Empire. It is a temple of Lord Virupaksha, an attribute of Lord Shiva. Though the temple existed for a long time ago, it was enlarged during the Vijayanagara reign. The Vijayanagara kings patronised the shrine. Therefore, the road leading towards it, known as the 'Raja Marg', is adorned with decorations and lights on the Hampi Utsav as though for welcoming a king.
Folk songs constitute a significant part of the Hampi Utsav and performers entertain the visitors with much enthusiasm. The event is known as 'Janapada Kalavahini' which caters the visitors' with songs sung in the local language, while the traditional instruments such as pipes and flutes are played. Folk dances of Karnataka also are an essential ingredient of the Hampi Utsav.
Puppet shows are held at varied locations, providing entertainment for the visitors with the art-form rarely to be found elsewhere, or in other festivals, today. The fireworks light up the sky above Hampi during the festive period. The light and sound show at the ruins of Hampi is a major attraction of the festival and takes the audience back to the golden days of the Vijayanagar empire.
Apart from these, the three-day long festival provides a great shopping experience for the admirers of traditional handicrafts and other items particular to the region. The local food of Karnataka is an area deserving much exploration, and there is no better occasion than the Hampi Utsav to taste these delicacies.
The Hampi Utsav is organised by the government of Karnataka, to relive the grandeur of the rich history and to increase tourism and revenue in the state. For utilising the Hampi Utsav to the fullest for the benefit of the state in cultural and commercial fronts, the government has been introducing newer events in it. Watersports, rock climbing, and rural native games have found a place in the celebrations of the Hampi Utsav.
The History of Hampi - Culture & Traditions
Hampi was the capital of the famous Vijayanagar Empire, the most prosperous empire of the Indian subcontinent in the 14th century. The Vijayanagar Empire was a centre of trade & commerce as well as culture and traditions. The famous ruler of the Tuluva dynasty, Krishnadeva Raya, brought the empire to its zenith, and thus Hampi became the second largest city of the medieval era, with Beijing in China being on the top of the list.
The Vijayanagar Empire was not only a commercially and economically prosperous kingdom but it is also the richness of arts at its core. It is from the reign of Krishnadeva Raya that the character of Tenali Rama, a courtier, is brought into the stories even of the contemporary era. The fact that tales of the kingdom have survived in abundance points to the capability of the Vijayanagar Empire in arts and letters.
Although the city of Hampi dates back before the Vijayanagar Empire, it was at its peak during the rulers of the Tuluva dynasty. The Vijayanagar Empire faced its downfall after the end of Tuluva dynasty's reign over the kingdom. The final blow to the destruction of the empire and thus, of the city of Hampi came when Rama Raya, an Aravidu ruler, was backfired by the Muslim Sultanates. A coalition of the numerous Muslim Sultanates of the time launched a joint attack on Vijayanagar and sacked it, ultimately ruining it beyond repair.
The ruins of the medieval city of Hampi is spread over an area of 4100 hectares and is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Although much of the Vijayanagar empire have survived only as ruins, the city of Hampi continues to be an important religious centre. Among the numerous temples that the city of Hampi houses, the most significant ones are the Virupaksha temple, the shrine of Pampadevi, and the ancient monastery with its connection to the Adi Shankaracharya.
How to Reach Hampi
Being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hampi is a place frequented by visitors from all parts of the country and abroad. The nearest railway station from Hampi is the Hosapete Junction Railway Station in Hospet, which is the gateway town to Hampi and located at an approximate distance of 13 kilometres from it. Visitors can take a bus from Hospet to reach Hampi. However, the nearest airport to Hampi is the Hubali Airport, alternatively known as Hubballi Airport. It is situated at an approximate distance of 180 kilometres from Hampi. Buses and taxi services are available to reach Hampi from Hubali.
Thus, the Hampi Utsav at the remnants of Hampi of the Vijayanagara Empire revisits the past, and make the people witness the grandeur of the empire that once existed. The performances and the processions make a witness realise that the history is not to be forgotten easily if its significance remains alive in the hearts of the people. The Hampi Utsav is an occasion when the love a people have for their history and culture is manifested in its brightest of forms.