Friday, October 23, 2009

The Lotus Mahal: This two storied palace, located in the Zanana enclosure, is one of the finest examples of Indo-Islamic architecture, with its typically Hindu base and Islamic super structure. Dated circa 16th century, it is an indented square in plan, with massive piers, with cusped arches, which demarcate fourteen bays in the lower pavilion. It has nine pyramidal cupolas on the second storey, of which the central one is the largest. DSC01110

The exemplary plaster work on the outer faces of the cusped arches are in the form of Kirthimukha(lion faced) toranas. The torana creepers have playful birds perched on them. The Lotus Mahal is also referred to as Chitrangini Mahal locally.

This structure is one of the best in the architecture that one gets to see in Hampi. It is still intact and was one of the important places where the queen used to spend time. The ceiling of the ground floor is concave and in partitions. As mentioned, there are arches on the outer end of the building and is caved with very delicate and fine art. We can see this delicate art at one another place and DSC01115we will talk about it soon.

It is said that the floor on the upper level is also concave and water was filled in the cavities. This was done to make the building cool during summer when the queen spent most of the time here, trying to overcome the extreme heat. It was kind of a natural air conditioner. As the walls are of plaster, they would be cooled more easily and provide a nice atmosphere inside. Even though no body is allowed inside the Lotus Mahal, we can feel nice breeze once we get near to it.

The Watch Towers: As mentioned before, there are three watch towers at the east, southeast and north of the enclosure. They are are built in Islamic architecture and their magnitude clearly shows us the kind of protection that the enclosure would have had then. All the three are multiple storied and the way to the upper levels has been closed now

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From here, we move on to the Elephant stables.


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