Hampi Festival

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The festival was held on 27-29 January 2011 and is organised by Karnataka Tourism. The celebrations include classical dance and music shows, animal parades, light and sound shows. Most importantly the city and monuments are lit up. This section shows you key monuments by day and night. You see the giant tower (Gopuram) of the Virupaksha temple. It is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and considered the most sacred temple in Hampi.

You see the east facing gopuram of Virupaksha temple sunset time. It is a 52m high. Te lower two tiers is made of decorated stone work, thereafter with bricksuperstructure. Proluganti Tippa, a commander of Devaraya II (1422-46) built the gopuram. The temple complex assumed its present shape around 1520. Today the temple overlooks by the long and broad Hampi bazaar lined with remains of ancient mandapas.

The Karnataka Government had events at some 5 different places during the festival. You see the stage where the festival was inagurated by the Chief Minister. I did not witness the evenings proceedings but locals said it was a spectacular show. Artists made board replicas of the Chariot and other important Hampi monuments that you see on stage.

You see a icon of Goddess Saraswati (represents Knowledge) on stage. During the festival the city was lit up. Lights were placed on bolders, temples and other monuments. No vehicles were allowed on key streets. At this time of the year Hampi gets chilly in the evenings so great time to walk.

A day before the festival started there was a procession of dancers, musicians and elephants to Virupaksha temple. There were artists who played the role of Lord Ram, Hanuman etc. The procession and music charged up the atmosphere and got me into a festival mood.

A lady dressed up as Goddess Kali. She jumped towards a few foreigners who were surprised but impressed. I clicked her in action.

You see the processions with musicians.

Scenes from the Ramayan being enacted outside the Virupaksha temple. Person with the blue bow is Lord Ram.

A close up of the elephants in procession, looked magnificient.

You see an artists playing the role of Hanumanji.

A group of local girls playing music. At times the music was played with such gusto that felt as if were listening to a rock band, got me to dance with the crowds. Well organised.

A close up with the royal elephant with ivory tusks.

The road from the Hampi market to Krishna Temple has the Hemakuta Hill on its right. This stone wall divides the two. You see them lit up.

Boulders on Hemakuta Hill lit up.

Mandapas lit up that are opposite the entrance to the Sasivekalu Ganesha image.

Mandapas and bolders lit up that are opposite the entrance to the Sasivekalu Ganesha image.

You see Sasivekalu Ganesha image. Ganesha is seated in a half lotus posture, bears a tusk, goad, noose and bowl of sweets in its four arms. It was built in 1506 A.D.

The image ie situated on Hemakuta Hill. It stands 2.4 mts high and is enclosed in an open air pavilion.

The Krishna Temple was conscerated with an icon of Balakrishna brought from Udayagiri (Orissa) by Krishnadevaraya. The grand eastern gateway that you see is an outstanding eg of Vijayanagara architecture.

You see Krishna Temple by night. Only a part of the gopuram exists. The top part ie dark exists in part only. There is a bazaar and sacred water tank close to the temple.

The gateway by day. The wall that you see at end and in the centre of the picture is that of Krishna Temple.

You see this gateway while proceeding from Krishna Temple to other monuments like Lotus Mahal, Royal Enclosure.

The awe inspiring Lakshmi-Narasimha statue ie a few minutes away from the Krishna Temple. Lights are in 3 colors, was lucky to be there and click.

This monolith is about 6.7 m high. It is a 4 armed seated figure of Narasimha, but all the arms were broken now. A large 7 hooded naga (snake) curls above its head.

The image was one of the last additions by Krishnadeva Raya to Vijayanagara.

Conservations efforts by the ASI have helped it become one of the most striking monuments of Vijayanagara today.

On way to the Royal Ruins is the Chandikeswara Temple. Temple was originally dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is datable to the 16th century.

These are 2 sister boulders that form a huge natural arch. Such arches are popularly known the Bellary region as Akka-tangi-guddu or sister boulders.

Sister boulders by night.

On day one of the festival ie 27th January a girl making a lotus shaped rangoli outside the Virupaksha temple.

A little down the road is a large Shiva Temple that you see. It is called underground temple because the temple''s floor lies below ground level.

A lit up Shiva Temple. The ASI have created gardens and walls around all key monuments. Can see and appreciate the effort.

In the Royal Citadel is Lotus Mahal. Its arches are supported by 24 square pillars. The superstructure consists of nine pyramidal sikharas. End right of picture is a watch tower. There is a Queen''s Palace and Jal Mahal as part of this complex. A big wall surrounds what is called the Jnana Enclosure (where queens stayed).

Lotus Mahal by night. Loved it. The garden too was very well lit.

In the Royal Citadel is Mahanavami-dibba (platform). It rises to a height of 12 metres and is built in 3 diminishing tiers. It was the hub of religious ceremonies like Durga puja, Navaratri, Dipavali that were publicly celebrated by the Vijayanagara kings. It is also called the throne platform or house of victory.

House of victory by night.

You see entrance to the Hazara-Rama temple ie part of the King''s palace enclosure. The name might have been inspired by the ''Thousand Rama''s'' carved on the temple''s walls.

The temple is a veritable picture gallery. Its wall capture the immortal story of the Ramayana in stone. When lowest level shows elephant it means place is important and elephants are a source of strength. Next level shows Horses means place is huge. Third level shows Army means people strong. 4th level shows dancing women means prosperity. 5th level is also dancing lady. Round structure on top is for decoration and is petal shaped. Has icons of Hanuman, Lion etc.

Scenes from the Ramayanna.

Scenes from the Ramayanna. All the above monuments are in one direction barring the Virupaksha Temple which is in Hampi bazaar. I first walked from Hampi bazaar to Vitthala temple from where I took an auto to Kalyanapura. Then walked to all the monuments referred to above and reached Hampi bazaar.

Lastly we come to the most magnificent temple of Hampi ie Vitthala Temple. It probably dates to the reign of Devaraya II 1422-46. The temple was in active worship till the fall of Vijayanagara in 1565. Clicked from entrance in centre is Chariot, left is Marriage Hall, behind that what you cannot see is Meeting Hall. Just behind the chariot in the centre is the Dancing Hall (1000 pillared) behind which is the Vitthala Temple. Right end is Lakshmi Temple. To extreme right is Prayer Hall. I tried taking a similar picture at night but came blurred. Probably because of differences in lighting in the dance hall, lower level and above ceiling.

The walk from Hampi Bazaar takes about 30 minutes. After clicking pics wanted to walk back the same route but it was pitch dark. With great difficulty got an auto that took me back to Hampi. You see the stone Chariot of the Vitthala temple. The image of Garuda within it replaces the Garuda shrine normally seen in most Vaishnava temples.

All the intricate and delicate details found in a wooden ratha or simulated in this stone chariot. I could not get my eyes off the chariot.

You see the Marriage Hall. It has 50 pillars and highly ornate ceiling. The platform that you see is the innerpart of the hall where the marriages took place. Note the pillar carving.

Marriage Hall by night.

Every pillar has carvings on it and made in the Kakatiya (ie Andhra) style.

Meeting Hall by night. It has 100 pillars.

You see the Dancing Hall. Made in 1513. Each pillar plays a musical instrument that could be heard atleast a km away.

Ceiling and pillars of the dancing hall. Some of the narrations content taken from The Archaelogical Survey of India''s booklet on Hampi. Credit and copyright to them.

Another view of the pillars and ceiling of the dancing hall. Entry is not allowed now since the place is under restoration. A very good local guide for Hampi is Prakash 9448795114. Fluent in English, Hindi, knowledgable and articulate.

The Prayer Hall. The Karnataka Government done a super task in lighting Hampi. One could see metres of wires all over the place. Well done.

One of the many lit mandapas in Hampi. Seeing these monuments by night was a different experience. If you can make it do go during the Hampi Festival time. Jai Vijayanagara. We will be separately uploading pictures of Hampi. The narrations would be in more detail.