Hampi, the capital of the once prosperous Vijaynagara Empire, is all decked up to celebrate the grandeur and opulence of a bygone era and mark the 500th anniversary of the coronation of Krishnadevaraya, the famed emperor of Vijayanagara.

Declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO, Hampi, located around 13 kms from Hospet in Bellary District, will witness a three-day cultural extravaganza starting Thursday to commemorate the historical event. A major tourist destination, Hampi will offer visitors a rich, colourful and aesthetic palette of dance, drama, music and cultural activities during the festival.

Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj will inaugurate the event while Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa will preside over it. Union Home Minister P. Chidamabaram is scheduled to release two books to mark the occasion. Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar will be among those present at the event.

The three-day festival will also witness the laying of a foundation stone to set up a theme park where a bronze statue measuring around 25 feet in height of Krishnadevaraya, whose rule was described a golden era, would be set up.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and senior BJP leader L K Advani will be present at the valedictory function of the festival during which a special stamp and a coin would be released in memory of the emperor.

Veterean actor-dancer Hema Malini will be among those performing on the stage. Artistes from China and Sri Lanka led by Indian danseuse Sonal Mansingh will also make a presentation.