Posts Tagged ‘Zenana’

Hampi Tour in Karnataka

 

If you have a taste for history and seek a glimpse of India’s glorious past, do include Hampi in your itinerary. Set amidst a barren, rocky landscape dotted by giant boulders, Hampi was once the capital of the powerful Vijayanagara dynasty of South India Tour. It is replete with ancient temples, monuments and ruins of buildings used by the royal family. Take a guided tour conducted by the Tourist department, or make your way leisurely (by bike if you can) around the royal sites!

The largest complex of royal ruins includes the King’s palace, Darbar (audience) hall, mint, water works, underground chamber and other important buildings, as well as a water tank. As you stand at the center of this raised complex and look around, you cannot help but feel the echoes of the past. All that remains of the grand Durbar hall is a high platform with a flight of steps; this is the largest structure standing today. Nearby is a monolithic stone water trough for visitors’ horses. You can descend to an underground chamber, walk around an aqueduct, marvel at the stone “plates” for the soldiers, and sit by the royal tank-Pushkarini. This tank was used by the royal family for ceremonial occasions and religious purposes, and has five tiers of steps made of polished black stone set in a symmetrical pattern. Notice marks and numbers on each block; these show the direction, row and location of the steps which were assembled according to a plan. The markings also ensured that all the steps were cleaned at regular intervals! places to visit in india

Another imposing structure is the Mahanavami Dibba, also known as the Dasara platform. It was used by the king to view the celebrations during the famous Dasara festival, as well as other festivals like Holi. Built to commemorate a victory, the structure has square cut holes on the outer walls, indicating that there were provisions for lighting. Notice the elaborate carvings on the walls: elephants, camels, dancing figures, hunting scenes, festive celebrations, and some figures suggestive of foreign visitors.

A short drive away is a royal bath: the Queen’s bath, another synthesis of Hindu-Muslim architectural styles. The first view may fail to impress, but you will certainly be impressed by the arrangements inside: a pond in the middle, and outlets for water to flow out.

To the north of the King’s palace lies the “Zenana” (ladies) enclosure, surrounded by high walls and three watch towers; it consists of the palace, ladies’ apartments, water pavilion and the Lotus Mahal (palace). Though only the basement remains of the palace, it will give you an idea of the once imposing structure. On the other side is the water pavilion, and nearby, the pretty Lotus Mahal. This is a good mixture of two types of architecture which have dominated Indian art at different times and regions-the Hindu and Islamic. Notice the pillars, windows and beautiful arches which are typically Islamic in origin, while the spires represent the Hindu style. The two-storey building is made of mortar, and the guide will point out the arrangements for water to flow down from the top floor. Hampi can get very hot in the summer, so it was essential to cool the building!

An arched gateway leads out of the Zenana enclosure to another interesting complex-the Elephants’ stables (where the king’s elephants were housed) and guards’ quarters. Like the Lotus Mahal, the former displays Indo-Islamic architecture: domes of different shapes represent the two styles. Walk through interconnecting doors between the eleven rooms, which are airy and well maintained. Look up at the ceiling and notice the iron hooks from which chains were hung to tie the elephants. On the other side is another long building with a veranda in front-this is where the guards lived. The façade has eleven arches, and the rooms are built around an open courtyard.

A tour of the royal ruins is sure to whet your appetite for the rest of the splendors of Hampi, deservedly a world heritage site with south india tour packages.

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