Hampi - Royal Enclosure (Ballari - Karnataka)

Incl. Kings Palace, Underground Chamber, Audience Hall, Stepped Tank & Mahanavami Dibba 

From Hazara Rama Temple, we walked over to Mahanavami Dibba and on the way, we saw some very ruined structures, whose only bases are all that’s left now! 

One of the bases was of the King’s Palace or precisely assumed to be Krishna Deva Raya’s palace. Similar to the Queen’s Palace, here too only the base exists. But better than the Queen’s Palace here are some more of the relief sculptures still exists. There were 3 friezes each of Elephants, soldiers with Horses and Dancers! There were 2 broken monolith standalone elephants on either sides of the steps at the entrance.

There’s also an underground chamber. We did try to venture into it without our torches and the initial few steps in utter darkness was so cool! There’s a central portion of this chamber that was meant for the king to hold his secret meetings. The walls & the pillars here are a mix of black stone and green chlorite! The ceiling of the central room is gone. There were a couple of inscriptions of single words on some pillars!
Beside this was the King’s Audience Hall aka Durbar Hall. This was a 100-pillared structure. Today all that’s there is a platform with 100 slots where the pillars would have stood once in 10 rows and 10 columns which has access with a staircase on east & west! On the southern side is a staircase that should have led to the 1st floor but today only the stair case exists!

The most majestic structure in this area is the Mahanavami Dibba! As the name says, it has all its importance during Navarathri festival and the procession during Dusshera begins from here!  The base is of huge 40 sqm area and on the topmost platform existing today it is at 24 sqm. On the west side are staircases that pretty much reminded me of a very Mexican Mayan structure! 

On the northern & southern side are a set of staircases, that led to the first platform. The hand rail of these staircases with an elephant & Yaali’s trunk forming the curvature! Here again, on the east side’s edges at north and south are 2 staircases from the inside the platform! 

The friezes on its exterior is just too stunning with camels, elephants, horses, swans, soldiers, dancers, hunting scenes etc! I also spotted this interesting sculpture seen mostly in Dravidian architecture – a bull and a horse in the same shape!!! A portion of the upper platform is made of the green chlorite and the sculptures on this are less but very very intricate!!!

The most beautiful structure in this area is the Stepped Tank and it reminded me much of Modhera Sun Temple’s tank! There’s an inlet of water and an elevated water passage! Today even getting on these steps isn’t allowed, let alone nearing the water! 
Just getting out of this area are 2 monolith granite doors (1 of which was broken) that look exactly like wooden doors complete with bolts and sockets and knobs etc!!! It may have been a door of the  citadel wall, though its original location is unknown!
Btw, even before getting to the Royal Enclosure, just outside it was this trough! It’s a monolith granite trough meant for horses to drink water from! Very close to it is a small water tank as well! 


To Get There:


Dedicated to Venkat

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

34 comments:

  1. Again, thank you for the history lesson. You are right, some resemble temples and/or monuments. Can you imagine how many of these are hidden all over the world and has stood the test of time. Great post, thank you.

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  2. Such a fascinating place, filled with wonderful architecture and history. The photos you have taken show the enormous work, love and devotion it would have taken to complete over many years. I just love seeing this and one day hope to see it in person for myself.

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  3. Such a fascinating place and thank you for the history lesson. The architecture is incredible - I think I could photograph this place for hours! It would be like exploring a living piece of history!

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  4. So close, yet so far. Hampi is next on my list. Being a Bangalorean ,its a shame that haven't been there. Thanks Bhushavali

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  5. Thanks for such a great history less on this! The architecture is incredible and all the detail and work that must of gone into creating this is amazing. I would love to be able to visit some day!

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  6. The underground chamber looks a bit intimidating haha. Overall, the intricacy of detail in these places are insane! You look like little ants on top of these places because they are so large! Very interesting.

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  7. I love the detailed shots of the walls and the semi relief of the animals depicted. Looks like a place I'd enjoy very much.

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  8. Such a lovely and truly interesting place - it did feel like I was brought into a different time.

    Did they say why people aren't allowed to get near the water? I wonder if they change it or something.

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  9. Lovely pictures! The design and architecture really pay attention to details. It's always interesting how these survive!

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  10. The structures are exceptionally beautiful and I am happy to see that it still preserves today. Its really cool that you had the opportunity to go underground even without the torch. Love all the pictures!

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  11. This place really looked like ancient Egypt to me and I was thinking about what the pillars would look like if they were still standing. It's always fascinating to study the past and ponder how the structures were made. The elephant carvings are so intricate and I wonder how long something like that would have taken.

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  12. I should really stop reading your posts as every time I do I end up adding more and more places to my already super long list of places to visit when I go back to India! That sentence was way too long, sorry! The friezes with the elephants, soldiers, horses and dancers look crazy similar to some ruins I saw in Peru. Except replace the elephants for condors and horses for alpacas! Super cool that you could enter the underground tunnel, even if it was just the entry!

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  13. What a fascinating place! The architecture blows me away and how it just still stands after all this time! I would love to go there one day so thanks for sharing!

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  14. Very nice. I really like looking at ancient architecture and learn the history behind these sites. Your series of Hampi articles will definitely inspire more people to visit this place.

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  15. What an education! I love exploring ruins, I've just come back from Pompeii. It looks like you could get really up close and personal with them which is really good and a different experience, as in some other places you have to stand well back.

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  16. It's nice to venture the Royal enclosure. There so much story written on its walls and chambers.

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  17. I love exploring old ruins like this. Walk along the pillars,the stones, trying to think of how it looked when it was still standing. How People used to live here, what they did. Thanks you for a great post and history lesson. loved it!

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  18. It's always so surreal visiting ruins like this. You can almost imagine how people functioned in these spaces! :O

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  19. I love the posts about those ancient ruins - I love to explore them! I'm impressed by the details, reliefs and inscriptions. Great article!

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  20. These posts about ancient buildings are wonderful. I'm so mesmerised by the intricate details. Especially the friezes on the exterior. All those animals hand carved in. Just wonderful!

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  21. Wow these ruins are incredible! How amazing to see. I'm not so sure about the underground chamber though - I think I would get very claustrophobic! Incredible bits of history.

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  22. Its a very interesting place where all kind of thing made beautifully and inner architect is fabulous.

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  23. Hampi looks like a very interesting destination. Really want to visit some day! Are there historical tours available there?

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  24. Thank you dear for sharing this adventures! Sometimes when I read historical related post, am thinking that maybe being archaeologist is a cool job! You've a chance to discover many things :)

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  25. Hampi ruis look so mystic and interesting... it's always thrilling to read about a place's history.

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  26. Lovely photos and as usual great insight into history. You are definitely taking us into very interesting places with rich history and beautiful architecture. Thanks for sharing!

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  27. WHOA! The view of the inside of this place is crazy. Really, really cool. The underground chamber sounds a bit scary, though... I don't know that I'd want to climb down a pitch black staircase. Haha. Thanks for sharing

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  28. An incredible historical site. You could really see the royalty within the enclosure from the beautiful carved out architecture. I loved the photo of the elephant friezes, which I am sure looked even more stunning in person. Thanks for sharing another great site.

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  29. Hampi seems to be the go-to place for everyone these days. I am seeing so much stuff about it. Good you shared your story too. The step well looked very similar to the ones you find in Rajasthan.

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  30. The awsome place you can always visit except in summers. But the awfull thing is we always visted it in summers since we have long term holidays in summer yet we enjoy.

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  31. I too, loved this enclosure. There was so much to discover here. The underground tunnel was so cool....and then did you see that giant swimming pool at the far end? Fascinating it was.

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  32. India is indeed incredible!!! What a rich heritage to visit...My dad had visited Humpi and I still remember the photos he took. Stunning!

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