The Royal Enclosure in Hampi housed several Palaces, Audience Halls, Places of Worship, Baths and Gardens during the days of the Vijayanagar Empire. Over forty buildings, according to historians. As you enter the complex which used to be double walled, the first thought seems to strike you is "Well, what's happening, there doesn't seem to be much going on here".
Sadly, the first thought is quite right. The Royal Enclosure was the nerve centre of the Vijayanagar Empire about 600 years ago, particularly when their most powerful king Krishnadeva Raya ruled from 1509 to 1529 AD (Source: Wikipedia). Today, the silence is almost eerie. As you start looking around and walking around, some of it begins to sink in. Foundations of buildings. Rubble. Looking at the foundations, you may even tend to believe that construction is probably about to begin.
It takes several minutes to gather ones bearings and senses. After surveying the ruins, you would probably start walking around, all the time wondering where to begin. In fact,it took us two visits to come to grips with the ruins.
A rather remarkable feature is the presence of many tanks or baths. Some historians have concluded that there were 23 baths, used by the Royalty and the public. Far in the distance, a relatively tall structure seems to be standing.
Turns out that the tall structure is the Mahanavami Dibba. I'll let you read the details below.
That means quite a number of steep steps to climb. Let's go!
Whoa..!! Junior seems to be thinking "I don't believe the view." How far dis you say the Royal Enclosure stretch? And how many buildings were there?
Ruins of Royal Buildings and Walls...
Well, one part of the garden is well manicured. Looking across, you notice a long, bridge like structure running across parts of the enclosure.
It's worth a closer look. That's part of the system of aqueducts that were used to carry water to different parts of the kingdom, from the many reservoirs that had been constructed.
Reports say that the Stepped Tank was discovered by an engineer from the Archaeological Survey of India in the 1980s, who observed that one aqueduct seemed to be ending over a patch of land.
Curiously, the sides of the tank measure 22 metres while the depth is 7 metres.
The panels along the lower tiers of the Mahanavami Dibba tell hundreds of stories, about the Royalty, Worship, Armies, Animals, Ceremonies and from Mythology.
The damage is evident, the destruction of such lovely works of art.
After the two trips to the Royal Enclosure, a little break is needed, to reflect and capture our breadth.
Outside the Royal Enclosure lies the remains of a huge pairs of doors, carved out of stone, with what seems to be a hinge kind of mechanism. The double walls and doors were not adequate to keep the attackers away.
You may be interested in: