Mumbai to Hampi - Badami - Pattadakal - Aihole - Vijaypura Road Trip

Lately, I have developed an interest in the history of middle-aged India especially that of South India. Somehow, I feel that South India has been neglected by our historians. We got detailed descriptions of various kingdoms/dynasties of medieval North India but our history textbooks, surprisingly, contain very few details about the dynasties which were based in South India. The achievements of those dynasties not only in terms of territory but also in terms of trade and commerce, art, and literature deserve more attention.

A few years backs, I visited the temple complex at Belur and Halebidu, Karnataka to see the two architectural marvels developed during the rules of Hoysala. That architecture is known as Hoysala architecture.

This Diwali, I planned for visiting Hampi, Aihole, Pattadakal, Badami, and Bijapur. It was a 5 night/ 6 days plan from Mumbai by road with two nights stay at Hosapete (for Hampi), two nights stay at Badami, and one night stay at Bijapur.
 

Day 1 (3rd November)​



Our plan for the day was to reach Hosapete. We had pre-booked accommodation at Hotel Maurya Viajynagar TB Dam, Hosapete.

Though the plan was to start by 6.30 am, we could not start before 8.15 am. My father-in-law and brother-in-law were joining from Kolkata and their train was later. We took JVLR-Powai-Airoli route. Being a Saturday, we did not encounter much traffic in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai and it was all clear on the expressway after Kalamboli.

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The first break of the day was taken at Khalapur for breakfast at the food court immediately after the Khalapur toll booth.


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After spending around 30 minutes there, we resumed our journey at 10.15 am.


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We took an unplanned tea break at a roadside tea stall at Kothrud, Pune because I was feeling a bit drowsy.


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We crossed Satara around 1.15 pm. While approaching Satara, we encountered a slight drizzle.


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For the first day’s lunch, we were carrying homemade food. Around 1.45 pm, we parked our car on the service road at Karad and had our lunch, and resumed our journey around 2.15 pm.


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Then we faced the first major problem of the day or the only major problem of the entire trip. After crossing a toll booth, 11-12 kms before Kolhapur, I realized that the brake is not working. Fortunately, at that point in time speed was low since we just started from the toll booth. There was a truck in front of us but I managed to avoid any collision somehow and parked the car at the side of the road. Then we started looking for any garage/mechanic on google map and found one garage 3-3.5 kms away towards Kolhapur. So we took the car to that garage driving slowly using the left lane. While doing so, we found that though the brake was not working at the first stroke, it was working on the second stroke.

We were a bit perplexed because I got my car serviced a few days back and got brake pads changed. I called up the service center and reported the problem to them. They were also confused. After reaching the garage, we explained the problem to the mechanic and made him talk to the service center. Then the mechanic took the car for a drive and came back after 5 minutes stating the problem has been resolved. What he explained to me that while the brake pads are new, the brake shoes are old and worn out, that’s why the problem took place. Had the car run for another 200 kms, this problem would not have happened. What he did (as described by my brother-in-law and wife, because I was not accompanying him during the drive) was to apply full brake after picking up a high speed. Apparently, he did it 3-4 times. When he delivered the car, I found the brake perfectly normal. He assured me that the problem has been completely resolved and I can drive the car confidently. We had spent around 45 minutes sorting out this issue.

After some time, we crossed Kolhapur. Though the mechanic had told me that the problem was completely resolved, I drove the car at moderate speed for the first 30-40 kms and applied brake multiple times. After being sure that the brake was working perfectly, I started speeding up. I had covered almost the entire NH48 (from Delhi to Bengaluru) in relation to my earlier trips and found Kolhapur-Belagavi (Belgaum)-Dharwad stretch is one of the best sections and a speed of 100-120km/hr can be maintained easily.

Then we faced the first major problem of the day or the only major problem of the entire trip. After crossing a toll booth, 11-12 kms before Kolhapur, I realized that the brake is not working. Fortunately, at that point in time speed was low since we just started from the toll booth. There was a truck in front of us but I managed to avoid any collision somehow and parked the car at the side of the road. Then we started looking for any garage/mechanic on google map and found one garage 3-3.5 kms away towards Kolhapur. So we took the car to that garage driving slowly using the left lane. While doing so, we found that though the brake was not working at the first stroke, it was working on the second stroke.

We were a bit perplexed because I got my car serviced a few days back and got brake pads changed. I called up the service center and reported the problem to them. They were also confused. After reaching the garage, we explained the problem to the mechanic and made him talk to the service center. Then the mechanic took the car for a drive and came back after 5 minutes stating the problem has been resolved. What he explained to me that while the brake pads are new, the brake shoes are old and worn out, that’s why the problem took place. Had the car run for another 200 kms, this problem would not have happened. What he did (as described by my brother-in-law and wife, because I was not accompanying him during the drive) was to apply full brake after picking up a high speed. Apparently, he did it 3-4 times. When he delivered the car, I found the brake perfectly normal. He assured me that the problem has been completely resolved and I can drive the car confidently. We had spent around 45 minutes sorting out this issue.

After some time, we crossed Kolhapur. Though the mechanic had told me that the problem was completely resolved, I drove the car at moderate speed for the first 30-40 kms and applied brake multiple times. After being sure that the brake was working perfectly, I started speeding up. I had covered almost the entire NH48 (from Delhi to Bengaluru) in relation to my earlier trips and found Kolhapur-Belagavi (Belgaum)-Dharwad stretch is one of the best sections and a speed of 100-120km/hr can be maintained easily.

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We crossed Belagavi (Belgaum) around 5.15 pm and reached Dharwad by 6 pm. After Belagavi, we again experienced some rains. By the time we reached Dharwad, it was dark.

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Dharwad-Hubbali stretch of NH48 (~18 km) is a single-lane highway. There was considerable traffic in both directions. Since it was dark by that time, it was very difficult to overtake. So we have to drive slowly. The road surface is good. Therefore, though the drive was slow, it was not painful.

After reaching Hubbali, we had to leave NH48. Google Map navigated us through Hubbali town and its outskirts and got us on NH67 for the final stretch of the day’s journey. As per, Google Map, we were 120 km away from the destination of the day. We took a break of 15 minutes and then resumed around 7.15 pm. And the worst nightmarish drive of the entire trip commenced.

Work is going on for making NH67 a four-lane highway. As a result, the condition of the road is very poor. It was a bumpy, dusty ride with recurring changes of the lane. After a tiring drive of ~ 115 km, we finally got a good road for the last 10 kms and reached Hotel Maurya Vijaynagar TB Dam at 10 pm. We had our dinner immediately after reaching there and retired for the day.

This distance traveled on day 1 is 752 km.

Hotel Maurya Vijaynagar TB Dam is a KSTDC property. It is quite an old property. Its foundation stone was laid on 10th August 1960 and it was opened on 16th June. At that time Hosapete was a part of Mysore State. Mysore was renamed Karnataka in 1973.

The rooms were quite spacious. The service was very good. Still, I would not recommend staying here because of the conditions of the room and bathrooms. As per the manager of the property, funds have been approved for the renovation of this property. I hope they renovate this property as soon as possible.
 
From Mumbai/Pune, there are three routes for Hosapete.

Route 1:

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Route 2:

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Route 3:

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While going, we used route 1 i.e up to Hubbali via NH48 and from there to Hosapete via NH67. At present, NH67 is in pathetic condition and more than 100 km has to be covered to reach Hosapete from Hubbali. Therefore, I would recommend avoiding this route.

While returning, we used route 3 with a detour for Badami, Pattadakal, and Aihole. Road condition in this route is fantastic. Hosapete to Vijaypura (Bijapur) by NH50 which is in superb condition. Vijaypura to Sholapur (Approx 95 km) via NH52. This stretch is a single lane. But the condition of the road is quite good especially on the Karnataka side (~70% of this stretch). Sholapur to Pune (approx. 200 km) via NH 65 which also offers a delightful driving experience. Pune to Mumbai via the expressway and therefore does not require any further elaboration. The only challenge in this route is Pune city has to be crossed in the east-west direction which can become very painful during pick hours. Still, I rate route 3 higher than route 1.

It is a bit difficult for me to comment on route 2 since we have not taken this route in either direction, but I guess it would be better than route 1 given the current condition of NH67
 
Before getting into the detailed description of the various attractions of Hampi, let me show the key attractions of the core area of Hampi on a Google map. This will help everyone to understand the sequence of photos of various attractions and also to make a plan for Hampi.

The attractions of core areas of Hampi are on a ‘V’ with Kamalpur as the apex as shown in the map below:


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Ideally, the day should be started with the Vijay Vitthala temple. Then come back to Kamalpura and take the other arm of the 'V' (Kamalpur-Virupaksha Temple road stretch) and the various attractions will come in the following sequence:

Chandrasekhara Temple, Saraswati Temple, Octagonal Bath

Queen's Bath

After Queen's bath, a detour has to be taken. You had to take a right turn and follow the gravel road to see the following attractions :

Royal Enclosure

Hazara Rama Temple

Lotus Mahal, Elephants' stable, Madhava (Ranga Temple), Jain temple

Mint Area, Palace of Vira Harihara, Basement of King's Palace

The Mohammedan watchtower, Band tower, Mosque

Prasanna Virupaksha (Underground Shivalaya Temple)

After Prasanna Virupaksha temple, the gravel road meets the aforesaid Kamalpur-Virupaksha Temple road stretch and a right turn is to be taken from that junction. The following attractions will appear in sequence:

Uddana Veerbhadra Temple & Chandikeshwara Temple

Lakshmi Narasimha (Ugra Narasimha Temple) &Temple Badaviling Temple

Krishna Temple

After Krishna Temple, a fork will come. The left prong of the fork Hampi road goes towards Hosapete via Hampi Village and the right prong goes towards Virupaksha temple. This will be clear from the following map:


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So from the fork, you have to drive a few hundred meters to see Saasivekaluu Ganesha and then need to come back to the fork to take the right prong towards Virupaksha temple. On that route, you will first find Kadalakeu Ganesha temple & Hemakutha Hill complex will come and then after reach Virupaksha temple and Bazar.

Hemkutha hill complex can be reached from Saasivekaluu Ganesha also but the entire temple complex is on the other side of the slope and therefore easier to access from the Kadalakeu Ganesha temple side. This complex is not accessible by car from any side so you have to walk.

On one end of Virupaksha Bazaar is Virupaksha Temple and at the other end is Monolithic Bull. From Monolithic Bull, you can access the following attraction on foot:

Achutyraya Temple and Bazaar

Matanga Hill

Kodanarama Temple

From Kodanarama Temple, you can go to the bank of Tungabhadra for a boat ride in an interesting round-shaped boat.


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So if you make Hosapete your base, you can start the day with Vijay Vitthala temple via Kamalpur and at the end of the day return via Hampi road as shown below:


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Hampi is huge with too many attractions. Each attraction deserves some bare minimum time. Therefore, Hampi can not be covered in a single day. It needs 1.5/2 days. So, the aforesaid sequence cannot be followed in toto. We spent 1.5 days in Hampi so there were some crisscrosses. We also had to skip some of the attractions which were not accessible by road because of tiredness and heat.

I will upload our actual itinerary, descriptions, and photos of the attractions covered by us in the next post.
 

Day 2 (4th November)​


We started from the KSTDC guest house at 8.30 am.

At that point in time, our knowledge was completely based on Google Maps. Since as per Google Map, Hemkuta hill was accessible by road, we decided to go there first. The idea was to cover as many attractions on Kamalpur-Virupaksha temple road on the 1st day and to cover the remaining attractions on Kamalpur-Virupaksha temple road and Vijay Vitthala temple on the 2nd day and then proceed towards Anegundi en route Badami.

To go to Hemkuta temple directly from Hosapete, you have to take Hampi road after traveling around 14 km on Hosapete-Kamalpur road. After crossing around 11 km on Hosapete road, we saw an old temple at the side of the road and decided to take the first stop of the day there. It was 9 am then.


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There was no description of the temple. It seems to be a Shiva temple. After spending 5 minutes there, we resumed our journey.


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After a few minutes, we reached the junction of the Hampi road and took a left turn.

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Immediately after taking Hampi Road, we saw an old Tomb and Dargah at our left-hand side and got down. Those tomb and grave structures were constructed following the Bahmani style of architecture which was known for its austerity.

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After spending around 10 minutes there, we started for Hemkuta hills.

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After 5-10 minutes, we reached a place where there was no road in the direction as shown by Google map. So, we got down from the car. There were few people standing there all of whom were tourist guides. From them, we understood that this is Hampi Village and Hemkuta hill cannot be accessed from this. Inevitably, they started convincing us that we must take a guide. After some negotiation one fellow agreed to guide us till 6 pm for Rs. 1500/-. As per his advice, we started for Vijay Vitthala Temple.

After the entire day’s experience, we realized that we took the correct decision by hiring a guide. Not only did he provide much additional information (which may not be authentic), but also made the day’s itinerary more time-efficient.

So we come to the junction of Hampi Road and Kamalpur-Virupaksha Temple road and took the right turn for Kamalpur as shown in the map of the previous post. We took one stop on that route as per the advice of our guide to see the plates and dining arrangement of that era. Probably, this was the dining hall for the soldiers. No superstructure was there now. Only the row of fixed plates and drainage system adjacent to that are proofs of the bygone era.

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We reached the parking lot of Vijay Vitthala temple around 10.15 am. On the way, we crossed Taralighat Gate.


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Vijay Vitthala Temple is not accessible by car. There is a parking lot around 1 km away from the temple. From there, the temple can be reached by either a trolley bus or walking. The trolley bus ticket costs Rs. 20/- head.

Beside the parking lot, we saw an old structure.


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This is called Gejjala Mandapa. It is believed to have been used for religious functions during the days of the Vijayanagara Empire.

Midway between the parking lot and Vijay Vitthala Temple, we saw Kudure Gompe Mandapa which was on the left side of the road. The name is derived from the horse sculptures (Kudure means horse in local dialect) that adorn its front pillars. For what purpose this had been used is still doubtful. However, its location, which is on the chariot road and tentatively facing the temple pond, suggests this structure was of some significance during the annual chariot festival or the boat festival held in the temple tank just across.


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At the right side of the road were remnants of Viajy Vitthala Bazar and pushkarini (tank). At its prime, this Bazar was 945 meters in length and 40 meters in width.


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Each major temple of Hampi had an adjacent Bazar and pushkarini. Vijay Vitthala Bazar used to be used for trading horses primarily.

The Vijay Vitthala temple was dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Vitthala is the Krishna aspect of Lord Vishnu.

The temple complex has three gates (Gopuram). The main gate is towards the east. The other two gates are towards the north (Tungabhadra riverside) and south.

Other than the main temple of Vitthala, the complex houses a stone chariot at the east of the main temple (between the temple and the eastern gate), ornate Kalyani Mandapa (Marriage Hall for the deities) at the south-east of the main temple, Sabha mandapa (Congregation Hall) at the south-west of the main temple, Utsava Manadap (Festival Hall) at north-east of the main temple and a Devi shrine. The northern bay of Sabha mandapa is called Narsimha mandapa.

This temple complex represents the highest watermark of the Vijaynagara style of art and architecture. It is one of the largest temples built in that period, built under the patronage of Devaraya II (1422-46 ad). Substantial portions of the present structure were added during Krishnadevaray’s reign (1509-1529 AD). The hundred pillared Sabha Mandapa and the eastern and northern gates curved with descriptions of Vishnu and his other forms are attributed to Krishnadevaraya and his queens.

The temple is built on a sculptured ornate plinth. The composite pillars of the Sabha Mandapa are massive, hewn out of single granite blocks, which are designed as clusters of slender pillars. Some of the pillars are musical pillars, when tapped gently, produce musical notes. The Utsava Mandapa does have musical pillars too. In the Narsimha mandapa, there is a pillar that has the sculpture of a Yogavarada Narshimha and various other forms. The stone chariot, a reproduction of a professional wooden chariot, is the most stunning sculpture, in my opinion. Typical of the Vijaynagara period, it houses an image of Garuda, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu.


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East facing main entrance (Gopuram)


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Courtyard of the temple complex


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Vitthala temple


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The Chariot


Utsava MandapaI

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Sabha Mandapa


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We spent around 1.30 hrs at Vijay Vitthala temple. We came back to the parking lot around 11.45 am and started for the next destination, Queen’s bath.


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Queen’s bath is located at the Southeast of the Royal Enclosure. It had its separate enclosed space, consisting of a complex of changing rooms and a bath. At present, only the bath is extant. On the outside, it is a simple facade structure in the Indo-Islamic style of Vijayanagar architecture.

The total area of the structure is 30 sq. meters. The total area of the bath is 15 sq. meters. and it is 1.8 meters deep. The pillared and vaulted corridor runs all around the bath with ornate balconies projected into the bath. There is an intel water channel to the east and moat that runs all around the structure ensuring a constant supply of freshwater. The interior of the bath is in sharp contrast with the simplistic structure of the outside, with its ornate stucco and plasterwork.

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After Queen’s Bath, we proceeded to the Royal Enclosure taking a right turn from Kamalpaur-Virupaksha temple road. It was a gravel road. Royal Enclosure is very close to Queen’s Bath. The distance is less than 1 km

The Royal Enclosure, admeasuring 59,000 sq meters was the nucleus of Hampi and had housed as many as 43 buildings. It was protected by a double wall with three gates. Now, no superstructure which was primarily made of sandal and teak wood exists today. It was completely destroyed by the victorious army of the coalition forces of the Deccan Sultanate. Only the plinth manage to survive that onslaught probably because it is made of granite.


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The remnants of the main entrance

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At the eastern side of the Royal enclosure, there is an elevated platform of 80 square ft. in the area and 22 ft in height. This is Mahanavami Dibba. It was built by King Krishna Devraya in memory of the conquest of Orissa. Dussera celebration used to take place here.

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Artwork on the wall of Mahanavami Dibba


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The remnants of the bygone era are scattered across the entire area of the Royal Enclosure. Though it was November, there was no respite from the unbearable heat on account of the blazing Sun. So after visiting the stepped water tank and king’s secret chamber, we decided to take a lunch break and headed towards Kamalpur market.

Stepped Tank

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Entrance of King's Secret Chamber


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The passage towards Secret Chamber


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We had our lunch at a restaurant called ‘Pink Mango’. It is at Kamalapura market, on Daroji-Kamalapura Road, bang opposite of Kamalapura Archeological Museum. It is a non-AC restaurant on the first floor. The sitting arrangement is a bit different. You have to sit on the floor. There are cushions for that. There are slightly elevated rectangular tables on which food gets served. The cushion comes with a pillow so that someone can take a rest. The overall ambiance was good. It was a vegetarian restaurant. We ordered for special South Indian Thali. Each thali cost Rs. 125/-. The ala-carte food menu was also there.


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After our lunch, we came back to the same place. Hazara Rama temple, our next destination, is adjacent to the Royal Enclosure. It was 2.30 pm by then. In the open place in front of Hazararama temple, there is a signboard mentioning ‘Pan Supari Bazar’. There were no remnants of the old bazaar there other than a few lamp posts.


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The Hazara Rama temple is a 15th-century temple. It is the only temple in the core of the royal enclosure. This temple was built for the royal family exclusively. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu in his aspect as Lord Rama.

This temple is a fine example of a compact Dravida Vimana type of temple with sanctum, vestibule, pillared dance hall, entrance porch to the north and south. The eastern porch is extended into an elegant pillared pavilion. There is a shrine for the Goddess to the north which is also elegantly sculptured.

This temple is known for its sculptured friezes depicting the Ramayana, in three tires, running all around the main shrine and the narrative sculptures of Lava-Kusha story on the Devi shrine. Probably, because of this, this temple is called the Hazara Rama temple. In addition, the temple is also known for the sculptures of the Bhagavata and sculpted polished pillars of the Maha Mandapa (main hall). It is evident that this temple received ample royal patronage.

Hazararama temple compound (this photo was taken in next morning)


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The front side of Hazararama temple (This photo was taken in next morning)


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Pillars inside Hazararama temple


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Artwork on the temple wall


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View from the rear side of the temple

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After the Hazara Rama temple, the gravel road bifurcates. One branch turns in a westward direction and continues along the wall of the Hazara Rama temple complex. The other branch continues straight. We took the second one and immediately reached the parking lot of Zenana Enclosure.

Zenana Enclosure, a segregated area for the use of the royal women of the Vijayanagara Dynasty It is a sprawling compound with a mud road running through the middle of the compound. The entire compound is encircled by high walls with three watchtowers.


Zenana Enclosure from outside


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Inside of Zenana Enclosure

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The Queen’s Palace (visible only in the basement) is located in the middle of this area, on the left side of your path. Measuring about 46 x 29 meters, this has been the largest palace base excavated in the Hampi ruins so far. Also, the three-tiered elaborate base structure speaks of its importance as a palace. The superstructure was made of wooden or less durable materials compared to the stone base. Along with the other royal structures, a gut during the incursion of the coalition forces of the Deccan Sultanate destroyed the palace.


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The Lotus Mahal, at the South-east of the Queen’s palace, is on the other side of the mud road. It is otherwise called the Kamal Mahal or Chitragani Mahal. It was constructed in Indo-Islamic style. It is one of only a handful few astonishing buildings in Hampi that had not been damaged by the rampaging army of the coalition forces of Deccan Sultanate.


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At the northwest corner of the enclosure, there is an otherwise featureless rectangular building. Some believe that it was the quarters of the eunuch guards who protected this area.

There are traces of several unnamed structures and separation walls inside the campus.

At the east of the Zenana Enclosure, there is Elephant Stable. It is a 15th-century structure. Domed and rectangular, this structure was built in the Indo-Islamic style of architecture. This structure is believed to be used as the stable of state elephants. Facing west, it has 11 large domed chambers interconnected by large arched openings.

The domes are of various types such as circular, octagonal, ribbed, and fluted in design and are symmetrically laid out. There are remnants of the ornate stucco and plastered ornamentation on both exterior and interior.


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Adjacent to the Elephants’ stable, there is a south-facing structure (thereby creating an ‘L’ shape along with Elephants’ stable). This is believed to be used as Guards’ quarter.


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There is a mud road towards the east along the wall of the Elephant stable. It leads to an old Jain temple. We skipped that on account of lack of time. We also skipped Madhava (Ranga) Temple which was south of the Zenana Enclosure which was visited by us in next morning.


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We came back to Hazararama temple and took a right turn to follow the westward gravel road. After driving for a few minutes, we came back to Kamalapura-Virupaksha temple road and took a right turn towards Virupaksha temple.

Before reaching the junction, we crossed several old structures namely the mint area, the palace of Vir Hariahara, the basement of King’s palace, Mohammedan watchtower, Band tower, mosque, Prasanna Virupaksha temple but decided not to get down because of the paucity of time. There were some structures on the right-hand side also.

After taking a right turn on Kamalapura-Virupaksha temple road, we first crossed Chandikeshwara temple and then the Krishna Temple complex. After the Krishna temple complex, there is the junction of Hampi road. We took a left turn for Hampi road and after a few hundred meters and again took a left turn to an open area to reach the parking lot for Lakshmi Narayana Temple and Badaviling temple.

Lakshmi Narayana temple houses the magnificent monolithic statue of Lakshmi Narsimha, the 4th incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The statue, standing at a height of 6.7 meters is one of the finest examples of Vijaynagara sculpture. The statue sits on the giant coils of Adishesha, the scared guardian snake of Vishnu. Its seven hoods, acting as a canopy, are arched by a Kiritmukha gate in front.

The roof of the temple is not there. This has caused much weathering and damage to the statue. The four arms of the statue have been broken and the seated figure of the consort Lakshmi on his left has been missing. The face also has been damaged which mislead people into believing that this is a statue of Ugra Narshimha. The presence of the right hand of God embracing the Lord at the back is proof that it is a statue of Lakshmi Narasimha.

(This photo was taken in next morning)

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The Badavilinga temple is situated just beside the Lakshmi Narayana temple.

(This photo was taken in next morning)

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This temple houses a Shiva Linga of 3 meters in height. Like the Lakshmi Narasimha statue, it is also a monolithic structure, cut out of a single rock. The pedestal remains in a bed of water. This Linga was also damaged by the enemy armies, but the extent of damage is less compared to what happened to the Lakshmi Narayana statue or other structures in Hampi.


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