Hampi (Karnataka) : Curtains came down late Jan 29 on the three-day 500th anniversary celebrations of the coronation of the Vijayanagara emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya in the ruins of this renowned world heritage site here.
The grand finale of the cultural extravaganza showcasing the life and times of the mighty empire in the Deccan heartland of peninsular India held the crowds spellbound for over three hours.
The native songs, folk dances and musical compositions from the well-lit dazzling stage reverberated across the 26-square km ruins dotted with hilly rocks, boulders and the flowing Thungabhadra river on the northern side of this capital city.
When Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) senior leader L.K. Advani crowned the emperor's 19th descendant bearing the same name - Krishnadevaraya - with a replica of the royal headgear, thousands of people cheered and applauded the moment. The present Krishnadevaraya owes his linage to the daughter of the 16th century emperor and belongs to the Aravidu dynasty.
Congratulating the Karnataka government - the BJP's first in the state - and the people of Hampi for organising the coronation anniversary five centuries on, Advani said the mega event was a fitting tribute to the great son of the soil who was not only a great warrior, but also a noble king, poet, scholar and patron of arts and culture.
"The glorious achievements and rich contributions of the golden era of the Vijayanagara Empire and its extraordinary king should not be limited to Hampi or Karnataka, but spread across the country and overseas," Advani said. Advani's 30-minute valedictory address in Hindi was translated into the local Kannada language by BJP general secretary H.N. Ananthakumar.
The former deputy prime minister also released a book titled `Hampi - A Story in Stone' on the occasion. Besides Advani, Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, several religious heads and other dignitaries participated in the valedictory function.