Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Royal enclosure, the nucleus of the capital city of Vijayanagara is the largest extant enclosures in the ancient city occupying an area of 59,000 sq.mts. and protected by lofty double walls. The enclosure had housed as many as forty three buildings. DSC02993

The enclosure has three entrances, two on the north and one on the west. The northern entrance east of  the Audience Hall was the main entrance with well - guarded massive doorways arranged zig-zag on 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 that connects Hazararama temple on the north.

DSC02980 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. To the southwest of the secret chamber was the Kings residence with as many as nine chambers including a Pooja room.

To the west and northeast 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.DSC02981

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 a decorative plinth on the south of the sacred area were the residences of queens. 

The long rectangular pillared halls in a row arranged in units of two separated by a wide avenue on the south of the Palace complex were probably the residences of the people working in the palace complex. Water was bought to this enclosure from an external source thrDSC01054ough a main aqueduct running in the middle feeds 23 small and big tanks in the enclosure.

The so-called Public Bath located at the south eastern corner is the largest tank in the enclosure. However the most ornamental of 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 the Mahanavami Dibba platform. There is also a well in the enclosure.


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