The world-famous Hampi, which is an international tourist destination, came alive on World Tourism Day on Sunday, with the theme ‘celebrating diversity’.

This is for the first time that Hampi, the erstwhile seat of the Vijayanagar empire, got its due given the grand scale of the celebrations.

A colourful variety entertainment programme enthralled the audience who had gathered at the ‘Yeduru Basava Mantap’ (opposite Virupaksha temple on Car Street).

A ballet by Bangalore-based Bramari troupe depicted the diverse tourist potential of the State. The 80-minute ballet portrayed the environment, waterfalls, historical and religious spots, and the culture and tradition of the State. An added attraction were Bharatnatyam and Rajasthani folk art performances.

Earlier, a tourism walk was held from Ugra Narasimha to Yeduru Basava Mantap where Tourism Minister G. Janardhana Reddy, Health Minister B. Sriramulu, Bellary MP J. Shanta, legislators B. Nagendra, T.H. Suresh Babu, Nemiraj Nayak and Chandra Nayak, were among others who participated in the event despite the sultry weather.

The sounds of the ‘dollu’, ‘tasha ram dhol’ and ‘urime’ reverberated throughout the ruins of Hampi.

Lacking in publicity

Though the function was well organised, the Tourism Department failed in generating wide publicity. Except for sending an invitation, the officials of the department had not bothered to inform journalists about the details of the programme.

Speaking after inaugurating World Tourism Day, Mr. Reddy said that an investment of Rs. 2,000 crore was expected to be made under public-private-partnership model for developing tourist places in the State. “The process of holding preliminary rounds of discussion with the interested parties on various projectshas already begun. In addition, the State Government has already made huge investments to improve the infrastructure facilities at tourist destinations like Hampi and Bannerghatta,” he said, and added that the night safari at Bannerghatta would be introduced in a few months.

Mr. Reddy reiterated that battery operated cars would be introduced at Hampi to protect the monuments besides creating infrastructure facilities at the 233 acres of land near Kamalapur to suit the requirements of all class of tourists visiting Hampi.

N. Thippanna, Janata Dal (Secular) MLC, was all praise for Mr. Reddy for taking the initiative for promoting tourism in the State. “Hitherto, the Tourism Ministry was considered to be of least importance. But now Mr. Reddy has shown that it is indeed an important portfolio and that if the Minister is keen, he can do wonders for tourism.”

More In: Karnataka | National | News | States