Thursday, August 20, 2009

Zenana Enclosure, Hampi

In Hampi, the rectangular fortified enclosure surrounding several monuments is popularly known as the Zenana (harem) Enclosure. But there exists no evidence to justify the name. The wall on either sides 1.e., inner and an outer face of smoothed and fitted stone blocks with an earth and rubble fill between them. (Click on all the image for bigger picture)

watch tower

The four corners of the fortifications have watch towers. Three of these two storied towers can be still seen in close to the southeast, northeast and northwest corners. Like Lotus Mahal these are built in unison of Indo-Islamic architecture style.

A number of unnamed structures are present inside this enclosure. The major attraction inside the enclosure, the Lotus Mahal located at the southeast corner. Apart from this, as soon as one enters the enclosure, there are remains of water pavilion with a decorated platform in the center of it. Another major attraction is Elephant Stables. As the name suggests this place was used to ‘park’ the royal elephants.

Elephant stables

Elephant Stables is one of the least destroyed structures. This is a long building with a row of 11 domed tall chambers. Some of them are inter-connected. The center one is specially decorated and big when compared to adjacent domes. The entire building is symmetrical with respect to this central hall. The tower of the central hall resembles more like that of temples, where as the five pairs of domes on either side are of Islamic in style. The central dome is slightly destroyed, but others are better preserved and of alternating patterns. There are metal hooks on the inside of the roof. This could have been used for tying the elephants. At the rear of each hall are small manhole type openings for the mahouts to enter the elephant compartments.

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