Zenana Enclosure, Hampi
After Hazara Rama temple, we walked towards Zenana Enclosure. Zenana Enclosure is a vast area with beautiful monuments inside and bordered by the tall compound walls. This was a private property reserved for the royal ladies of the Vijayanagara empire. It is believed that no men were allowed inside the campus except the king. To ensure the safety of the royal women, the enclosure has four watchtowers (currently only three towers) around the campus. Sadly, during our visit, we couldn’t enter the tower as authorities have locked the entry.
The basement of Queen’s Palace
As soon as you enter the Zenana enclosure, the first thing you can notice is the ruined structure of the basement of the queen’s palace. With the basement area of about 46 x 29 meters, it is the largest palace base excavated among the Hampi ruins so far. Intricate carvings present here gives us the idea of how grand the palace might have been during its glorious days.
The most fascinating structure in Zenana Enclosure, in fact, in Hampi itself is Lotus Mahal or Kamal Mahal. The structure gets its name Lotus Mahal as the dome of the structure is in the form of a lotus bud and the archways of the structure resemble lotus petal. It has Indo Islamic style unlike other monuments of Hampi which displays Vijayanagara architecture. Compared to others, this monument was less damaged by the Mughals during the fall of the Vijayanagara dynasty.
Lotus Mahal is a must-visit place in Hampi. The perfectly symmetrical structure has archways adorned with wonderful carvings. ASI department is protecting the monument by restricting the entry inside the hall. However, you are free to capture the marvel from outside. The green trees around increase the level of the magnificence of this precious structure.
Walk a little further from Lotus Mahal to reach the elephant stables. This contains 11 interconnected chambers arranged in a long line. The archways of the chambers are artistic making the stables very attractive. Elephant stable has Indo-Islamic style with the alternating circular domes resembling Islamic style while the remaining ones resembling Hindu temples.
Perpendicularly next to the elephant stables, a lengthy building catches your attention. That is Guards’ quarters, strategically located to provide security to the Zenana enclosure and the treasury. This beautiful single-storied structure is built upon a high platform.
At present, quarters are converted into a museum and host a collection of sculptures found in and around Hampi.
The outer portion of the building is an open hall and the inner portion of the building with an open courtyard and no window now have a series of interesting sculptures placed next to each other.
Underground Shiva temple and Achyutaraya Temple were the next in our must-visit checklist. Without having much time to spare, we rushed towards our car in the scorching afternoon of Hampi.
- Timing: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM on all days of the week
- Entry Fee for
Children: Free for Children under 15 years of age
- Photography: Allowed (Only handheld camera allowed. Tripod/stand not allowed)
- Video Charges: RS. 25.00
- Visit Duration: Around 2 hours
- Best time to visit: From November to February
(Please note, the ticket purchased at Vitthala temple is valid for Vitthala temple, Archeological museum, Kamalapura, and Lotus mahal)
Directions to reach:
You can also check our detailed video on Zenana enclosure here: