Saturday, 28 February 2015

Hampi, beauty admist ruins ~ Part VII

The last remaining ruin is the Zenana Enclosure which houses the famous Lotus Mahal, the Queens Palace and the vast Elephant's stable. The Zenana Enclosure is open from 8:30 am and you have to buy entry tickets priced very modestly at 10 INR. With this same ticket one can see the Vittala Temple on the same day.


Basement of Queen's Palace and Watch Tower at the distance

Watch Tower
  Just after the entry of the Zenana Enclosure lies a huge elevated basement on the left which once had the Queen's Palace. The Queen's Palace has been totally brought down by invaders and now only the basement remains.

  A little further on the right of the actual path lies one of the most loved and photographed structures of Hampi, the Lotus Mahal. It is a very beautiful two storied structure. The archways and the windows have the typical lotus petal shape quite unique to the Indo-Islamic style of architecture. This structure was most probably build for the royal ladies to enjoy the beautiful view of the Zenana Enclosure from the top. There is a well maintained garden surrounding Lotus Mahal.


Lotus Mahal

Lotus Mahal and Watch Tower

Lotus Mahal

Lotus Mahal


Lotus Mahal

  A little further are watch towers, where castrated male soldiers were deployed to guard the royal women.


Watch Tower

Watch Tower
  On the other side of the Zenana Enclosure is the Elephant Stable. Its such huge and so elegant. Its a stable yet it looks like a palace! There are 11 stables and they are all symmetric on either sides of the middle one which is somewhat bigger and a little different. The entire structure is interconnected and the stables also have the typical dome structures on top and petal like gates, very much the Indo Islamic architecture pattern. Because of the Elephant's stable, many noted historians argue that this entire Zenana Enclosure was not at all a building for the royal women but was a discussion place for the royal ministers and army heads and the Lotus Mahal was in fact  the structure where these meetings used to take place.


Posing

Elephant Stable

Small doorways inside the stable

Watch Tower near the Stable

Elephant Stable

Ankur taking photograph
An elaborate structure next to the elephant stable
  A lot of parrots have made the Zenana Enclosure walls their nest. They make such a lovely sight screeching, flying and digging the royal walls.


Parakeet
  Just outside the Zenana Enclosure is a feeble sign board which shows Ranga Temple. Since we were not much aware of it, we did not go there, but later we came to know that the temple has the largest Hanuman sculpture in Hampi. Anyway sometimes its better to leave a few things so that you can again come back for those. Ranga Temple is one such for us.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Hampi, beauty admist ruins ~ Part VI

Today is our last day at Hampi. We have planned that we will cover as much we can in the first half of the day and then head back to Bangalore.

   So with that plan in mind, we started early. Last day we could not see the Hazara Rama temple as it was already dark. So we reached the temple premise at 6 am, but since the temple opens at 6:30 am, instead of waiting for the temple gates to open we went around to see the ones that are open all the time.

Mohammadan Watch Tower

Mosque and the Band Tower

Mosque and the Band tower
    We first went to the Mohammadan watch tower. This is situated in the Danaik's enclosure. There is actually no proper path to reach the watch tower and also I don't think one can get inside the watch tower. We saw it from a distance.

   In that same enclosure is the Band Tower. It is a two floor hexagonal structure. Just by the side of the band Tower is a mosque. The Danaik Enclosure is sort of not much maintained, though there is no proper way to reach the towers but we saw them pretty well from a distance.

   From there we went back to the Underground Shiva Temple. Strictly speaking the temple is not underground but at a much lower elevation compared to the ground. The inside of the temple is dark and further deep inside is filled with water. There is a Nandi statue inside the temple. Nandi is the holy bull and also the escort of Lord Shiva.

Underground Shiva Temple

Underground Shiva Temple

Nandi

Squirrel
    Next we went back to the Hazara Rama Temple. The temple opens at 6:30 am. This is one of the most beautiful temples of Hampi. The whole temple has the various scenes of Ramayana carved on it. There are more than a thousand carvings of the various scenes of Ramayana and hence the temple gets its name. In Sanskrit "Hazara" means thousand and "Rama" is Lord Rama on whom the Holy epic Ramayana is based on. Its really good if anyone visiting the temple of  Hazara Rama gets himself acquainted to the Ramayana, that way it will help that person to appreciate the amazing craftsmanship even better.

Hazararama Temple

Me, taking photograph of the carving on the wall

Hazararama Temple

Alter behind the temple

From behind the Temple

Alter behind the temple

Pillars and carvings

Pillars and sculptures

Documenting the wall art

Hazararama Temple from nearby Royal Enclosure

Drainage system at the temple

Devi Durga Mahisasur Mardini Sculpture

Wall Art

Wall Art Depicting Tales from Ramayana

Sculpture

Sculpture

Pillar Sculpture

Front Pillar Sculpture

Entrance to the temple

Alter at the back of the temple

Ankur Taking Photographs

Sculpture

Sculpture

Ancient scripts embedded on the foundation stone of the temple

Tales from the Ramayana

Granite Pillars with Carving

Brahmha Sculpture

Vishnu Sculpture

Sculpture

Door to the inner sanctrum

War scene
    Just opposite to the temple of Hazara Rama is the Paan Supari Bazaar and that spreads on a big area. There is nothing much left to this day, but maybe once upon a time a baazar used to be here.

Pan Bazaar

Pan Bazaar
 
   Next we went to the Zenana Enclosure. But since I have a lot of pictures of the Zenana Enclosure, I have split that part in the next blog.

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