Halmidi village in Belur taluk has a significant place in the history of Kannada language, as the oldest Kannada inscription was found here. However, the village remains obscure even today. Tourists visiting Hoysala temple of Belur and Halebid usually give Halmidi a miss.
Kannada Sahitya Parishat, in an attempt to make the place known to the public, will hold Halmidi Utsava on November 16 and 17 at the village. The two-day event will include seminars on the importance of the inscription found in Halmidi and its contribution to understanding the evolution of Kannada. The inscription dates back to 450 A.D., and it is the oldest known so far with Kannada characters. The 16-line inscription is on rectangular sandstone.
The Hassan district unit of the Kannada Sahitya Parishat has placed a fibreglass replica of the inscription for the benefit of visitors. The original is preserved at the Department of Archaeology and Museums, Bangalore.
“We are holding the event to popularise Halmidi as an important site for study trips. Schools and colleges, which take students on study tours, should make a point to organise visits to the village,” said H.L. Janardhana, president of Hassan district Kannada Sahitya Parishat.
The central Kannada Sahitya Parishat has consented to provide Rs. 10 lakh for the programme. Besides this, the district unit is seeking the cooperation of local representatives and the public to make the programme a success. Noted scholar M.Chidanandamurthy will inaugurate the event, which will be attended by the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and Minister of State for Kannada and Culture Umashree.
Many scholars from different parts of the State will take part in the programme. Noted scholar Basavaraj Kalgudi and Minister for Public Works and in-charge of Hassan district H.C. Mahadevappa will take part on the second day.
In 2007, Kannada and Culture Department provided Rs. 25 lakh for construction of an auditorium at Halmidi. However, it remained unutilised for many years, though the local people were ready to give land for the construction. “We took the matter seriously and took a site of 100 by 80 sq ft from the public and succeeded to pressurise the district administration to begin work. We are hopeful that the construction would be complete before Halmidi Utsava,” Mr. Janardhana added.