Hampi - Queen’s Bath & Zenana Enclosure (Ballari - Karnataka)

The whole of Vijayanagara city was built in 1343 to 1565. The architecture was a beautiful mixture of the existing Hindu architecture and the Indo-Islamic architecture brought in by the Bahmani Sultanates who were wiped off by Krishna Deva Raya, the star king of Vijayanagara Empire. As I said in the last post, Orange County Hampi has its own inhouse historian and guides. Our exploration in Hampi began with Mr.Ramesh and we started off with the Islamic area! 



The first place we went to was Queen’s Bath. This is a large square pool (ofcourse has no water today)! From the exterior it does look plain but the interiors are beautifully carved. There’s a passage all around the pool and there are some balconies. The ceiling of the passage is filled with ornate plaster work and so are the balconies. 

There is a staircase from inside that leads to the terrace that is closed today. The water from the reservoir outside, is brought in using a passage made of granite. Check it out close, that’s a single piece of well-polished granite that’s about 7ft long. 
From here we went over to The Zenana Enclosure. The only 2 standing structures of Zenana Enclosure are the watch towers and the Lotus Mahal. The Lotus Mahal is kinda one of the few structures in a very good condition. The base structure does remind me of Belur & Halabidu. The dome however is in a lotus shape which lends it its name! Climbing it (I mean even its platform, let alone the ceiling) is not allowed today! The arches are just perfect in symmetry and alignment! The very Vijayanagara style of Pushpa Podhigai are atop several pillars!

The base is filled with several rows of relief sculptures. Yes, one of the buildings in Orange County has been designed with this as the inspiration! The outer arches alone were surrounded by more relief sculptures and a couple of medallions as well. There were a couple of lions that were attached to corbels! But then, there were just 1 or 2, rest all were gone!!! 
This also has a first floor. I was told that the first floor has some unique set up like a fountain that helps to keep the whole chamber cool!!! A few yards away from it, is one of the three standing watchtowers! 

From here at a walkable distance is a square. On the 2 sides of it are the Elephant Stable and Soldiers’ Barrack! Elephant Stables is a series of 11 chamber with 3 types of domes atop. Atop the central chamber has a 2 tiered tower atop it! All the entrances are arched doorways and between them is a small arched chamber as well. The walls that separate the chambers also has an arched opening on them! 


Beside this is the Soldier’s Barracks. Unlike the Elephant Stables, this is on an elevated platform. It has a corridor and a central courtyard. The central courtyard is open to sky and the corridor has a roof. This is used as a museum today for the sculptures from the temples here (yes, there are 3 on-site museums in Hampi).

A walk from here, takes to the Queen’s Palace, or rather the base of it! There are a few rows of sculptures on it as well! Just beside it is another watchtower! On the way to Hazare Rama Temple, from here, is the Pan Supari Bazaar. About Hazare Rama Temple and more is coming up. Stay tuned!!!


To Get There:
From Bangalore: 343km via NH48 & NH50
From Hyderabad: 373km via NH44
From Goa: 316km via NH67
From Pattadakkal (another UNESCO site): 135km via NH50
From Orange County Resort: 9km
Map of all important sites: hampi.in

These sites are covered in The Raya Trail organized as a guided tour by Orange County Resort.
Each trail costs Rs.1000/- per head as a group.
If you want it exclusive just for you it costs Rs.4000/- for 2 trails (+ Rs.1000/- incl vehicle).
If you want a guide for yourself for the whole day it costs Rs.8000/-

Otherwise, KSTDC certified guides (they carry an ID card mentioning the same) can be hired at the Tourism Office or Ticket Office located in the premises of Virupaksha Temple, Sasivekalu Ganesha and Vittala Temple. The prices are Rs.1200 for 2-3hrs and Rs.1700 for 5-6hrs for upto 3 persons. For a larger group, the price would be higher. Also they are highly adaptable to your requirements / interest area etc and they could also meet you at your hotel and begin from there!
Ph no: of Prakash, one of the certified guides: +91 94820 61626

Dedicated to Venkat

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 78 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of Sept 2020. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands