Lesser known places to see in Hampi

Hampi has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is an invaluable treasure of India. It has always been a major place for tourist attraction offering many places to visit. Here are some of the lesser known places to see in Hampi.

The Zenana Enclosure

One going further to the north-east, one can see a large walled area facing west called Zenana Enclosure.

In the centre of the enclosure is the ruined basement of Queens Palace and on the right a large water pavilion and at the left side corner women's guard quarters and watch tower can be seen.

Lotus Mahal

One of the best known monuments and the finest structure in the Zenana enclosure is Lotus Mahal. It is also popularly called as 'Kamal Mahal' and 'Chitragini Mahal'. It is a two storeyed open pavilion raised on a high and ornamental stone basement and constructed with bricks and plaster.

The flight of steps on the north side takes you to the upper storey which has a number of balconies, windows with leaf type of arches. Here the pillars and arches are in Muhammadan style. The base, roof, cornice and stucco ornaments are in Hindu style. It is an example of Indo-Saracenic architecture.

The Elephant Stables

These are situated behind the Zenana enclosure. Most of the domes of this building are in Muhammadan style and facing to the west. By seeing these eleven big roomy stalls, one can presume that it is used as stable for the State Elephants.

Guard Room

Left side of the elephant stable is a building facing south called Guards Room. It is similar to that of Guards room in the Zenana Enclosure.

Hazara Rama Temple

On moving to the south by the same path, to the right side is a temple called Hazara Rama Temple. As it is within the close proximity of the Royal enclosure, it is supposed to be a private place of worship of the kings. From the recent excavation a route from the Royal enclosure to the temple has come to light. The temple stands in a walled enclosure facing ea8t. Inside the temple walls, the main incidents of Ramayana and few scenes from Mahabharatha are depicted. Inside the temple are four highly polished Black stone pillars which are richly carved. The name of Hazara Rama Temple is popularly taken to mean the temple of 'Thousand Ramas'.

Outside the courtyard, the walls are decorated with rows of elephants, horses, soldiers and dancing girls.

This Hazara Rama Temple is really a picture gallery of Hinduism. In front of this temple excavation work is in progress by Archaeology Department.

Large Stone Trough

Just going further to the south of the excavated place (Near King's Audience Hall) a monolithic stone trough can be seen. It was used for the supply of water to the horses and elephants belonging to Ambassadors and nobles seeking an interview with the king. It is 42 feet long and 3 feet in wide and 2.9 feet thick. A small drainage hole at one end for flushing our water can be seen.

King's Audience Hall

Just going further to the south one can see the largest basement of a building among the ruins. The entrance is facing north. The southern side of this hall, has a staircase raising from the ground level.

Near by a small square chamber called under ground chamber below the ground level can be seen. It was used by the kings to discuss secret matters.

Throne Platform

Just going a few steps to the east, a platform of 36 feet high will catch the eyes of the visitor. It is called Throne platform. This platform facing north has different scenes depicting processions of horses, camels, elephants, soldiers, dancing girls on the basement walls. Some part of the western side, beautifully finished sculpture in chlorite stone and flight of steps can be seen. It was from this side that the king ascended the platform during festivals. On the east side, a small chamber with two flights of steps on the north and south of the platform can be seen. Since it played a prominent part during the celebration of Navaratri Festival, it is called 'Mahanavami Dibba' or 'Dasara Dibba', Paes states that it was erected by Krishnadevaraya after his victory over Udayagiri in 1513 AD.

Well with Steps (Puskarani)

Just going to the south-west of Mahanavami dibba, a stone water channel 5 feet above the ground level can be seen. If the visitor goes nearer, a decorated well in black slab stone with steps on all sides can be seen. This is one of the latest discoveries in the excavation.

Stone Door

Just to the north wall of the Mahanavami Dibba, a huge stone door now set up by the road side can be seen. It is a remarkable piece of work from a single stone. It is so beautiful that even bolt sockets have been carved in the doors.

Queen's Bath

Just moving further towards Kamalapur, one can see the building with plain wall surrounded by a narrow moat. It is queen's bath. In the centre of this building a small swimming bath can be seen. Around this an arched corridor with balconies with stucco work can be seen.

Octagonal Water Pavilion & Bhojana Sala

After queens bath, visitors can move towards Hampi (north side) by cement road. Within walkable distance, on the road side (right side) one can see the Octagonal Water Pavilion - a large eight sided structure with a monolithic trough in the middle.

Just opposite side of the road, one can see a channel lined with granite slabs on both sides. The green chlorite slabs are set horizontally and carved with circular shallow depressions large and small dishes for taking food by pilgrims. Some of them are like banana leaf.

Chandrasekhara Temple

Coming back from Bhojanasala towards Kamalapur by the side of queen's bath, a temple facing east is Chandrasekhara Temple.

Octagonal Bath

Just within walkable distance to the north-east of Chandrasekhara Temple, a path takes the visitor to a large and deep octagonal bath. With an open pillared corridor all round and molded octagonal basin in the centre can be seen. Just to the west one can see a temple called Saraswathi Temple. And now the visitor may go back to Kamalapur bus stand. With in 1 and 2 kilometers following temples can be seen.

Malyavanta Raghunatha Temple

It is on the state highway from Hospet to Gangavathi and within 2 km from Kamalapur. If the visitor has plenty of time, he can visit this temple.

This temple is situated on the hillock and stands in a high walled enclosure. The main object of worship here is Rama, Sita, Lakshman and kneeling Hanuman carved on a large natural boulder. Rama and Lakshman stayed here while they were in search of Sits during Chaturmasa. This place is also called Spatikshila. Most of the north Indian pilgrims visit this place.

Ganagitti Temple

While coming back to Kamalapur, one can see a temple attached to the high way called Ganagitti Temple or the Oil Woman's Temple. An inscription states that it was built in 1385 AD.

Just to the right of this Ganagitti Temple, visitor can see Bhima's gateway. Since it contains a bas-relief image of Bhima which is large and well-carved, it is named so. It is one of the gateways of Vijayanagara Kingdom.

Archaeological Museum

The Archaeological Museum is within walkable distance from Bus stand. It is on Hampi Power House Road. Here idols of Shiva, Ganesha, Jaina coins of Vijayanagara pieces of pots, weapons etc., of archaeological interest discovered during excavation around Hampi are kept. Without visiting this museum, the visit to Hampi is incomplete.

Pattabirama Temple

Just going further to the East of the museum, a large temple called Pattabirama Temple can be seen. As per inscription, it was built by Achutadevaraya. The temple facing east resembles the structure of Vittala temple.

Visitors may come back on the same route to Kamalapur Bus stop. From Kamalapur visitor may take leave of Hampi ruins. With this informative booklet on Hampi, name boards provided near all the monuments and sign posts on the roads through out the ruins will help the visitor to enjoy the History of Vijayanagara in Stone.

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