Hampi Royal Citadel

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The city of Vijanagara originally had 7 lines of fortifications. The fortifications had a large number of bastions and entrance gateways. There is Daroji and the Domed gate. The strongest of all extant gates was Bhima''s gate that you see in the picture.

You see an incon of Bhima. In this section we have covered all the monuments in Citadel area but excluded Water Tank that you can see in Hampi Festival section. Queen''s bath is shown in Hampi Water System section. Also included here is Lotus Mahal and Hazara-Rama temple.

U see bas-relief of Bhima''s killing Kichaka and Draupadi tying her hair after Kichaka''s death. Inspite of visting Hampi in January found it very hot between 11 to 3pm. Suggest u see Hampi from 6 to 11am and from 4 to 7.30pm. Adjust timings for seasonality.

Before entering the Citadel area visit Octagonal Bath and Saraswati Mandir ie what you see. The Vaishnava motifs carved on its walls and an epigraph dated 1154 referring to Tiruvengalanatha suggest that it was a Vaishnava shrine.

Say a 5-10 minute walk from Queen''s bath is the Royal Enclosure area. It occupied area of 59,000 sq m and had 45 buildings including Mahanami-dibba, Durbar Hall, Public bath, Stepped tank etc. It had 3 entrances, 2 from the north and one from the west (used exclusively by the royal family). Evidence suggests 2 phases of structural activity.

The northern doorway near the Mahanami-dibba had a monolothic door (that you see) with temple type door flaps. In the enclosure is an underground secret council chamber of the king made of green chlorite. Missed clicking. If you have please mail me.

This stone is at the entrance of the royal enclosure. It indicates a technique by which stones were carved or water flow. Can someone help with appropriate narration.

The Mahanami-dibba was the hub of ceremonies like Durga puja, Navaratri, Dipavali that were publicly celebrated by the Vijayanagara kings. It is also know as the House of Victory or Throne platform.

This massive east facing platform rises to a height of 12 m n is built in 3 diminishing tiers. The 1st tier and the one above measures 40 n 24 square m and is built of well dressed massive granite blocks. Tier one and 2 have extensive carvings as we shall see later.

A close up of the carving. Behind carving are steps that take u from the platform to the ground. Platform was built in 3 phases. In phase 1 it had well dressed granite blocks and decorated with courtly scenes, festive moods, hunting scenes and rows of animans and birds carbed in relief around the platform, representing the life and times of the people of Vijaynagara.

A close up of the relief. U see horse riding, elephant fights etc. In phase 2 a neatly dressed and moulded plinth in 2 tiers was constructed over the platform. Platform was decorated with panels depicting elephants, geese, dancers, musicians, medalions and miniature shrines.

U see female wrestling. In the 3rd phase the western part of the platform was encased with beautifully carved schist blocks.

A view of the garden in front of the platform. The king sat on the platform and watched the functions that were performed in what is today a garden. In the centre of picture is water duct and to its right is the step tank.

Another view of the Mahanavami-dibba. U can see the platform levels very easily. Bang opposite these are the ruins that you shall see in the next picture.

Taken from top of the dibba u see ruins believed to be those of nobleman''s palaces or those who worked in the palace. In centre of picture u can see some steps - they took u to the Durbar Hall that you see shall see in next picture.

The steps that u see on the right took u to the Durbar Hall or the King''s audience hall.

Remains of the Durbar Hall. Remains of pillar-sockets and bases show that it was originally a wall with 100 pillars. In front of this wall is a large enclosure which was probably a general assembly area.

Ruins in th royal enclosure area. All that you see are the foundations today.

Some more ruins. In the ruins were offices and residences of the commander-in-chief and governor the city. Excavations also reveal there was a Palace of Elders or perhaps Old Palace.

Close to the royal enclosure area is a sun set point. Ruins of houses seen from this point.

Very close to the enclosure area is the Hazara-Rama temple that you see. The hill in the background is Matanga Hill highest point in Hampi. Temple name is probably inspired by the Thousand Ramas'' carved on temple''s walls but it probably comes from the word ''Hazaramu'' a Telegu word for entrance hall of a palace.

The east facing temple (33.5*61.0 m) consists of a sanctum of gods and goddesses, a kalyanamandapa and smaller shrines within a prakara and enclosed by a high wall. Outer walls are richly carved in bold bas-relief and depict scenes from the Ramayana. It is a 15th century temple.

Close up of temple vimana. See the nicely carved Kalash at lower level. This pic is from the north side since we came from the royal enclosure area. Main entrance is from east side.

A close up of carvings on temple wall - scenes from the Ramayana.

Inside the temple. 4 pillars made in black Warangal stone. The ornate central ceiling has the usual alternating square courses with a finely carved lotus motif in the middle.

These heavy, cubical pillars (that you see) have bas reliefs of Ganesha, Mahishasuramardini, Hanuman, several forms of Vishnu including the Kalki avatara.

A close up of another pillar.

This depicts the story of King Dasaratha and Sravan Kumar from the Ramayana. Top base shows the King hits arrow at Sravan Kumar by mistake. When the King goes to the parents to give water the parents curse the kind that just like they longed for their dead son so will the King. Lower base shows Sravan Kumar taking his parents in the forest.

A 5 minute walk from the Hazara Rama temple takes you to the Zanana Enclosure or Ladies Palace. What remains is the basement of a fairly large palace, a water pavilion, 3 watchtowers, the famous Lotus mahal and the so called Women guard''s quarters.

Right in front is foundation of Jal Mahal with Lotus Mahal behind it. It is a palace like structure in the middle of a rectangular tank (40.6*23.26m, 1.40 m deep). In the 4 corners of the tank are pillars and cross beams, probably to support small corner pavilions. Note watchtower on extreme right of pic. 50-60 feet wall around palace area.

U see Lotus Mahal a 2 storied structure. It is built on a moulded stone adhisthana. Arches suppoted by 23 square pillars carry the superstructure. I spent an hour admiring the structure. There is something very special about it - is very aesthetic. Pic taken about 2.30pm.

Pic taken at 5pm. The upper storey has a number of balconies with windows having recessed and foliated arches. The superstructure consists of 9 pyramidal shikharas of varying sizes the central one being the tallest. In their original state these were fully decorated, painted and covered with polished limsetone plaster work.

Interior of building is plain the only exception being the squinches below the corners, which have been styled to match the recessed and foliated arches. The central bay has a plain flat- cofferred ceiling decorated with a lotus bud at the centre.

A side view. The Lotus mahal is locally know as Chitrangini mahal but the Svaramelakalanidhi perhaps refers to it as Ratnakuta, where Rama Raya may have spent time with scholars well-versed in literature, music and art.

U see the founation of the Queen''s palace. The purpose of showing this pic is for u to get an idea how big the palace was by seeing its foundation. It was the largest palace in Vijayanagara.

A close up of the basement which shows a developed form in plan and elevation. Note watchtower in the background.

A close up of the elevation to give u an idea of how grand the palace was.

A few minutes walk is Elephant''s stable.

It has 11 large chambers with beautiful arched entrances. The domical ceilings of the chambers have lotus motifs. Domes are of different types - circular, ribbed ones and vaulted octagonal ones with ribbed sikharas and are arranged systematically on either side of the central chamber. Recent opinion claims that this majestic structure may have been the secretariat of Rama Raya.

It is variously identified as Guard''s quarters, Treasury, Concert Hall and recently as the council hall of Rama Raya. It has a high verandah in front, the façade is provided by high arches. Descriptions in these narrations taken from a booklet published by The Archaeological Survey of India. Credit and copyrights lie with them.

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