HAMPI: The Virupaksha Temple is witnessing a rush of devotees who are eager to have glimpses of the gold crown of Lord Virupaksha on the occasion of Hampi Utsav.
The crown weighing 10kg solid gold was donated by King Krishnadevaraya during his coronation in 1509, the period which has gone down in the history and remembered as the golden era of Vijayanagar dynasty. Its design reflects the richness of 15th century art.
Devotees from various parts of the state and foreign tourists are visiting the temple in large numbers.
M H Prakash, a temple committee official, told Express that the Virupaksha idol is decorated with golden crown only on special occasions. “The crown is kept in the treasury of the government and the devotees will get to see it only 11 times a year,” he said.
It is recorded in the history that gold, pearls and precious stones were sold to the people in a large quantity in the historic bazaar lane located in front of the Virupaksha temple. The crown is valued over `3 crore as per the present market rate. Security has been beefed up at the temple as the crown is kept for public view.
“Vijayanagara was one of the richest kingdoms in its time. The Chinese traveller documents in his diary how gold and pearls were sold on the roadside market. The kingdom also gave large scope to architecture and heritage. Several stone matapas were created during the 14th centaury still dot the map of Hampi and Anegundi,” say the old timers here.
Hampi Utsav has created a cultural world at the historical site Hampi. Express spoke to some tourists to know their likes and dislikes. While many were happy with the festival, some expressed their dissatisfaction too.
The heritage site is welcoming tourists from various parts of the country and world. Cultural programmes such as dance, songs and drama and sports are receiving good response from the visitors. However, they have disappointments too.
Lisa and Eric, who have come from the US along with their two kids, expressed their happiness over the conduct of the cultural festival. “I liked the heritage walk held as part of the festival. I also liked the mehendi art and rangoli. The organisers should have printed the invitation card in English to help those who cannot read Kannada to get information about the events,” said Lisa.
Eric said he liked the bhajan at the temples. They expressed their unhappiness over the behaviour of some people. “Some tourists were troubling our children by taking photos with them and touching them. Some tried to take selfie with us, which made us uncomfortable,” they added. They said power cuts should be reduced during the festival. Nitzan and Noa from Israel told Express that some people troubled them when they were touring the heritage site. “We are happy with the festival, but these type of annoyance should be reduced,” they said.
Ramesh Biradar from Kalaburagi said the crowd should be managed well. “The orchestra by Rajesh Krishnan on Thursday was very nice and I enjoyed it,” he added.
Biradar’s friend Gajanan said there is a need to control the room tariff and set up more mobile toilets.