Till recently, tourists could visit the monuments of Hampi ruins only during day time. This, however, is going to be a thing of the past. From next month, tourists can gain access into this wonderland of past glory and marvel its beauty in the moonlight.
The much-awaited ‘Hampi by Night Trail’ will officially make a beginning in February, when visitors will get a glimpse into Hampi’s past through a five-and-half-hour ‘Sound and Light’ show, where the monuments themselves will form the panorama for the show.
After over two years of trial and error, the Tourism department has put together a show detailing the past glory of the World Heritage site.
The idea was to create activities at the heritage site past sunset so that the visitors have an opportunity to escape the blazing Bellary heat and wander through the ruins at a much leisurely pace through balmy evenings.
Tourism Minister Anand Singh said the department held a free demonstration of the show for 10 days during the last week of December and first week of January this
“People have appreciated the concept and given us feedbacks. Presently, the narrative is only in Kannada and we have been suggested to present it in English too, keeping the tourist profile in view. The department has taken note of this suggestion,” he said.
‘Hampi by Night Trail’ will be a guided tour that will take the discerning visitor through the heritage town from sundown.
The trail starts from the Krishna temple, leading to the Hemakuta hill, where the visitor will witness the sun setting in the distant horizon. The visitor will later get to amble through the resplendently illuminated bazaars, hills, temples, shrines, mantapas and the river bank, watching the Sound and Light shows at select areas.
Towards the end of the show, the visitor will get a dinner of local cuisine, while local folk artists/musicians perform.
“The tourist gets to see a hitherto unseen Hampi. The trail alternates between walking and riding in battery-operated vehicles just to ensure that the four-km trail does not exhaust the visitor,” said Krishna Kumar, Project Director of Innovative Lighting Systems Corp., Bangalore, which is executing the Rs 11.5-crore project.
Along this trail, 15 monuments/locations have been illuminated. They are: Virupaksha Temple, Chakratirtha, Kotilinga Segments - 1 and 2, Hasthagiri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Courtesans’ Street, Achyutharaya Temple, Varaha Temple, Vishnu Temple, Sugriva’s Cave, Pond, Ancient Bridge, King’s Balance, Kudre Gombe Mantapa and Gejjala Mantapa.
The Eduru Basavanna Mantapa forms the panorama for the first show, where ancient mythology associated with Hampi is recreated for 19 minutes. The show, which talks about the marriage of Virupaksha and Pampambike, also introduces the mythical land of Kishkindha and the saga of the monkey kings Vali and Sugriva.
The second show of 12 minutes will be at the Kodandarama Temple. It revolves around the meeting of Sugriva and Hanuman with Lord Rama and Lakshmana; the fight between Vali and Sugriva; Sugriva’s coronation; the war between Lord Rama and Ravana, etc.
The company is preparing for two more shows to be held in front of the Narasimha
temple and the King’s Palace.
They will depict the founding of the Vijayanagara kingdom, its glory and recreation of the destruction of the empire.
‘Son et lumiere’
‘Son et lumiere’ or Sound and Light show, a French concept, was first introduced in Mysore about six years ago, where the history of Mysore, including mythological tales of Goddess Chamundeshwari, Mahishasura, the founding of the Wadiyar dynasty and the Independence movement are chronicled.
The Mysore Palace forms the panorama for the show, which is on daily between 7 pm and 8 pm.
At Kittur, Srirangapatna
The Tourism department, which has conducted similar shows at Kittur during Kittur Utsav is planning to make it a permanent affair here. It is also planning to launch a show in Srirangapatna. Innovative Lighting, which has conceived the Mysore and Hampi shows, has been granted the new projects as well.
At Kittur, the company has created a show which revolves around Kittur Rani Channamma and her army chief Sangolli Rayanna. Instead of a narrative, here, the story will be presented through ‘gigipadas’ and ‘chowdike’ (traditional folk music forms) accompanied by Akkamahadevi’s vachanas.
Though Kittur has a fascinating history, it was not easy for the company to create a show at the Kittur palace.
“The palace is in ruins, making it very difficult to use the monument itself as a panorama for the show. As a result, many structures had to be recreated. Replicas of the palace in its original condition were created and integrated with what’s left of the monument.”
The Rs 1.95-crore project is also likely to take off shortly. Though the works are complete, the show could not take off because of a power problem. Now, a diesel generator set has been purchased to go ahead with the 45-minute show.
'Team behind ‘Hampi by Night Trail’
The key persons are - Krishna Kumar – Project Director; T S Nagabharana – Creative Director; Praveen Duth Stephen - Music Director; V M Nagesh - Associate Creative Director; N Mohan - Chief Lighting Engineer; Dr H S Gopala Rao - Basic Script Writer; B Siddagangaiah Kambalu - Dramatised Script Writer; M N Vyasa Rao
Sound and light show
The show has been recorded live and the dubbing artistes are K S Ravindranath, Murali, Champa Shetty. In addition, theatre and TV personalities such as Anu Prabhakar, Sharath Lohitashwa, Ramesh Pandit, Kalagangotri Kitti and Rangayana director B V Rajaram have lent their voices.
The show also has songs sung by S P Balasubramaniam, Hemanth, Madhu Balakrishnan and Nanditha, among others.