Places in Hampi - Stage 3 Continued...
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.
Quite a large number of them can be spotted in and around Hampi. They were either the military observatories or the posts of guards at special areas. The military ones are typically located at vantage points like the hilltops, riversides, and peripherals of the fortifications etc. The other types are mostly located well within the royal area and other civil localities. The watchtowers located in Danaik’s Enclosure and the one inside the Zenana Enclosure are example of the fine watchtowers.
This long building with a row of domed 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 guards' 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 superior quality made arches, The Archaeological depart used this to store the stone sculptures and other artefacts from the ruins site.