General Tour of Hampi Continued...
The Zenana Enclosure, or the women's quarters meant for solitude rather than protection, is an early form of high-walled relaxing places. It is said that the queen and king's companions lived here.
There are four significant structures inside the enclosure; the largest is Queen's Palace, which is in a ruined state present. Two buildings served
as watch towers are placed in the north and south-east of this enclosure.
The architectural manner of these watch towers tells that these were used by the ladies for viewing proceedings occurring outside. Lotus palace,
a pretty monument located in this area, is supposed to be the Zenana Enclosure. The two-storied palace looks like a lotus and is assumed to be the
meeting place for the royal women folks. Its architecture shows a display of Indian and Islamic influences.
You have to buy an entrance ticket and the same ticket can be used to visit the Vittala temple and Archaelogical museum in Kamalapur. Below 14 years free entrance.
|Entrance ticket for Indians||RS- 30-00.|
|Entrance ticket for foreigners||RS-500-00.|
|Video charges||RS- 25-00.|
Lotus Mahal is situated in the Zenana Enclosure. The Zenana Enclosure in general would refer to the Queens. Lotus Mahal is a two storied very symmetric structure exhibiting a fine example of Indo-Islamic architecture. The base of the structure depicts a Hindu foundation of stone just like in the temples, typical of Vijayanagara Architecture while the upper superstructure is Islamic in architecture with pyramidal towers instead of regular dome shapes, giving it a Lotus-like look, originating in the name.
This ornate structure was probably used by the military chief as his office or the queens of palace as a pleasure pavilion. The entire monument is surrounded by a fortifying wall which is rectangular in plan.
This long building with a row of doomed chambers was once used to ‘park’ the royal elephants. There are 11 domed tall chambers; some of them are inter- connected. The centre one is specially decorated and big. Probably the musicians and the associated band troops had been using this during ceremonies involving elephant processions. This is another structure that shows Islamic influence in its domes and arched gateways. The guard's barracks are located right next to the elephant stables.
At right angles to the Elephant stable is a lofty south-facing long rectangular building, known as Guard’s quarters. It has a high veranda in the front. Inside is a central courtyard open to the skies and surrounded by a covered corridor. This probably was a ceremonial building due to its super structure made arches, The Archaeological department used this to store the stone sculptures and other artefacts from the ruins site.
King's Audience Hall
KING'S AUDIENCE-HALL-This large structure is about 137 metres to the west of Mahanavami-dibba. 'Abou'r-Razzaq states that it was the loftiest building in the Citadel. Vestiges of pillar-sockets and bases show that it was originally a hall of hundred wooden pillars.
This underground chamber is adjacent to the Royal palace. The King discussed most important issues and held secret parleys with his ministers and other important persons in this chamber. It was a narrow passage that led to the chamber.
The Stepped tank is the small but neat tank is about 22 square meters and about 7 meters deep. It has five distinct tiers, each fitted with steps set in a pleasing pattern. This tank was discovered during the recent excavations.
This pyramidal, three tired stone platform, rising to a height of 8 meters is located to the northeast of the royal enclosure It was one of the most important ceremonial structures of royal use, built in granite and subsequently encased in sculptured stone. It is dated to circa 16th century AD.
Queen's Bath, located in Royal Enclosure, is a rectangular building with the long veranda inside approaching a square tank of 1.8 metres depth from all sides. This is considered as the Royal bath, where the king and his wives had their baths. It's believed that water in the tank was filled with perfumes and fragrance flowers for the royal family.