Royal Enclosure, Hampi

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Royal Enclosure, Hampi

The royal enclosure is the nucleus of the capital city (Hampi) of Vijaynagar empire. It is the largest extent enclosures in the ancient city occupying an area of 59,000 sq km protected by lofty double walls. The enclosure had housed as many as 43 buildings.

Royal Enclosure, Hampi

The enclosure has three entrances, two on the north and one on the west. The northern entrance which is located to the east of Audience Hall was the main entrance with well guarded massive doorways arranged in zig zag plan. The other northern entrance with flight of steps near Mahanavami Dibba platform had a doorway with exquisitely carved monolithic temple type door flaps. The Western entrance leads to a passage the Hazararama temple on the north.

Royal Enclosure, Hampi

Entering the enclosure through the northern main entrance, there is a neatly plastered open courtyard and a pillared hall leading to a well decorated hall. To the south of this hall is the underground secret council chamber. The southwest of the secret chamber was the king’s residence with as many as 9 chambers including a pooja room. To the west and northwest of the residence were many structures. It is interesting to note that a flight of steps used to lead from a chamber to the first floor of the king’s audience hall.

Royal Enclosure, Hampi

To the east of the palace complex is the sacred area including a large open courtyard with well plastered floor, accommodating at the center a homa kunda and a tank. The two structures with decorative plinth on the south of the sacred area were the residences of Queens.

Royal Enclosure, Hampi

The long rectangular pillared halls in a row arranged in units of two and separately by a wide avenue on the south of the palace complex were probably the residences of people working in the palace complex. Water was brought to the enclosure from an external source through a main aqueduct running in the middle and feeds 23 small and big tanks in the enclosure.

Royal Enclosure, Hampi

The so called public bath located in the south eastern corner is the largest tank in the enclosure. However, the most ornamental among the tanks is the stepped tank located north of the public bath. Every ornamental member of this tank bears a mason mark indicating the exact location of the member in the construction. There is another “T” shaped tank in front of Mahanavami Dibba platform. There is also a well in the enclosure.

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