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    The grand opening ceremony of Hampi Utsav

    The historical city of Hampi is all set to bedazzle with color, light, and bonhomie as Hampi Utsav 2017 will take center stage in the month of January. This is the time when all roads in South India lead to the prehistoric city of Hampi.The festivities date back to the times of Vijayanagar empire, and thus it is also known as the Vijaya Utsav.

    Hampi Utsav is a congregation of various events that highlight the glorious past of India. Renowned artists from all over the country and Bollywood stars perform at this cultural extravaganza and make Hampi one of the most popular places to visit in January. The opulence, clubbed with festivities around, makes the ruins of Hampi a spectacle worth beholding.

    About Hampi festival in Karnataka

    A play in progress at Hampi Utsav

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    Hampi Utsav 2017 will be a 3-day long carnival, which is also one of the biggest arrangements made by Karnataka government. It is inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Karnataka, and admission is completely free for all visitors. Recently, the district administration of Hampi has hinted that the festival might go international and could be stretched to 5 days from the existing duration of 3 days. Read more about the story here.

    While the exact schedule of Hampi Utsav 2017 is yet to be announced, the festival – like always- will include a flurry of attractions such as classical & traditional dance performances, skits and dramas, fireworks, puppet shows, and spectacular parades. Every year, a large number of people gather in Hampi to be a part of the celebrations and the city gets all decked up to offer a wonderful experience to its guests.

    Venue: Hampi Village, Vijayanagar, Karnataka

    Hampi Utsav 2017 dates: January 09-11

    Over the last few years, the Hampi festival has been celebrated alternately in November (3-5), which were also the dates of Hampi Utsav 2016, & January (9-11). However, the dates for the festival in 2017 have been confirmed for January.

    How to reach Hampi city

    By air: Bellary is the nearest airport to Hampi and is very well connected to major airports in India. The 60 km distance between the airport and Hampi can be covered by hiring a prepaid taxi or a cab.

    By rail: Hospet is the nearest railhead located at a distance of 13 km from Hampi. Hire a cab to reach the place with utmost ease.

    By road: Hampi is very well connected to major cities like Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Goa by the national highway. One can easily reach Hampi by taking a public or a private bus from any of the aforementioned cities.

    The entry of four-wheeler vehicles inside the city is prohibited during the entire festival. Visitors must park their vehicle near Hampi Arch and take the green bus that takes them to different venues.

    Suggested Read: 20 Most Famous Historical Places In India: You Think You Know Them Well Enough?

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    Hampi Utsav highlights

    1. One of the biggest attractions of Hampi Festival is the ‘light & sound show‘.  The 15 km stretch of Hampi ruins along the banks of Tungabhadra river lights up in different hues, looking absolutely spectacular.

    A play in progress during Hampi Utsav

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    2. Puppet shows, traditional dance & drama, music shows, procession, and cracker shows make for the heart & soul of the 3-day event.

    Group dance performed during Hampi Utsav

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    3. The parade of well-decorated horses and elephants with sounds of pipes and trumpets in the background is also a highlight. It depicts the military might of the Golden Era when Hampi thrived.

    Tourists riding an elephant during Hampi Utsav

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    4. Another prime attraction is the path leading to the Virupaksha temple. Known as the Raja Marg, it is beautifully decorated as part of the Hampi festival celebrations.

    5. To keep the guests occupied, various shows, competitions, and exhibitions are held in Hampi during the festival.

    6. To attract young tourists from surrounding cities as well as different parts of the country, Hampi festival now arranges sports like table tennis, volleyball, kabaddi, swimming, stone lifting, and mud field race among others.

    Wrestling match in progress at Hampi Utsav

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    7. For art and culture enthusiasts, performances by classical Indian dancers and Carnatic vocalists are a major pull.

    Carnatic vocalists performing at Hampi Utsav

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    8. Located near Vittala temple, King’s Balance is a tourist attraction in Hampi. In the olden times, this is where kings were weighed against gold or money on major festivals. The weighed wealth was then distributed among the poor.

    King's balance in Hampi is a must visit attraction

    9. ‘Janapada Kalavahini’– a concert of folk dance & songs, and ‘Jumbo Savari’– an elephant march are two events that should not be missed during Hampi festival.

    10. Watch out for modern craftsmen exhibiting beautiful handicrafts and leather puppets. Their skills are a proof that traditional skills thrive even today.

    Places to visit near Hampi

    Picturesque as the place is, one just doesn’t visit Hampi to experience the light and festivities. There are a few places in and around Hampi that make it one of the best places to visit in Karnataka.

    • Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary, Ballari

    Suggested Read: Seven Wonders Of India That You Wouldn’t Want To Miss

    Places to stay in Hampi

    A view of Hampi Boulders in Hampi

    The Hampi Utsav spans for a duration of 3 days and the city boasts of some exciting stay options where you can plan a comfortable stay. Some of the highly recommended stay options in Hampi are Hampi’s Boulders, Heritage Resort Hampi, Clarks Inn Hampi, Hotel Mayura Bhuvaneshwari Kamalapur, and Kishkinda Heritage Resort.

    Equipped with all the modern amenities these hotels offer elegant and luxurious stay options in the vicinity of the ancient city. The tariff of these hotels ranges from INR 1500 – 8000. Plan a stay in one of these hotels to make your trip a pleasant experience.

    Find out the reviews of some of the most sought after hotels in Hampi here.

    There are charming places in India you must visit in winter and Hampi Utsav makes for the perfect reason for a trip to the historical city at least once in a lifetime. Take a trip to Hampi in January to experience an unprecedented fusion of culture and art.

    Further Read: 15 Winter Festivals In India You Must Attend

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