Hampi (Karnataka) : The grandeur of the mighty Vijayanagara empire was revived at this heritage site in Karnataka on Jan 27 on the 500th anniversary of its emperor Krishnadevaraya's coronation, marked by pomp and pageantry.
The grand celebrations began on dot amidst the ruins of the historic capital city where thousands of people gathered from far and near to witness the spectacle of the bygone kingdom, with a galaxy of seers, pontiffs, VIPs and dignitaries participating in the royal inaugural bash.
The six-hour long spectacle on a massive decorated stage, with the stone structures of Hampi's majestic palaces and monuments forming the backdrop, held the crowd spellbound and revived memories of the valiant emperor who heralded a golden era in the Deccan plateau during his 21-year glorious rule from 1509 to 1529.
A royal procession comprising a dozen caparisoned elephants, a score of camels and 40 horses was taken out to the main venue from 'Sasivekalu Ganesha', a giant rock statue of Hindu god Ganesh. About 500 folk artistes, musicians, drummers, dancers and singers also participated in the mile-long procession, minutes before the fest got underway. The statute is christened 'Sasivekalu' as the potbelly god is in the shape of a mustard seed, which in the Kannada language means 'sasivekalu'.
An estimated 20,000 people roared in unison and applauded thunderously when Krishnadevaraya's royal titles 'Rajadhiraja', 'Samrat', and 'Maharaja' were proclaimed to signal his coronation. About 120 singers and musicians rendered the state's anthem 'Nada Gita', scripted by the legendary Kannada poet Kuvempu (K. Venkatappa Puttappa), invoking the motherland (Kannada nadu).
Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was present along with noted seers and pontiffs from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh temples and religious institutions. State Tourism and Infrastructure Minister G. Janardhana Reddy welcomed the guests, VIPs, dignitaries and the people in the local language Kannada.
As part of the coronation ceremony, state Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa 'crowned' union Home Minister P. Chidambaram with a replica of the headgear that was adorned by Krishnadevaraya. Similarly, state Revenue Minister G. Karunakara Reddy crowned Yeddyurappa and state Higher Education Minister, in turn, crowned Ravi Shankar. Marking the grand occasion, Chidambaram released a set of eight books, two in English and six in Kannada on the life and times of Krishnadeveraya. The three-day Hampi Utsav is being held at six venues spread over the 16th century capital of the Vijayanagara empire on the banks of the Tungabhadra river, about 350 km from Bangalore.