Zanana enclosure and the Elephant stable are very close to the Royal enclosure and are a must visit. Many of the buildings are still in good condition and are enclosed inside huge walls which form a periphery around these monuments.

Our visit to Hampi was a relatively short one and hence we had a packed day. Having already visited the Vitthala temple complex (read more)  and the Royal enclosure (read more), we had limited time to visit one more monument. We decided to visit Zanana enclosure and Elephant stable as they were very close to the Royal enclosure. Parking your car would be a bit of a challenge here as the entire parking lot is full of tourist vehicles. There is ample space available around the Royal enclosure, so if you do not mind a 10 minutes walk to Zanana enclosure, park your vehicle at the Royal enclosure and walk down to Zanana enclosure. Would save you time and the hassle of finding a parking space.

Zanana Enclosure:

Zanana enclosure is a structural complex with Tall enclosed walls on four sides with entrances at the NorthEast and North. This enclosure has at present structures identified as a rectangular treasury building facing East, an ornate terraced building identified as Queen’s residence facing to the North and Jal Mahal facing East.

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The 2 storyed Lotus mahal from a distance. This is one of the key attractions inside the Zanana enclosure.

 

To the East of Jal mahal is the most popular two storeyed Lotus Mahal. To the North of Lotus Mahal is a tank. The enclosure has watch towers at East, South-East and North.

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One of the watch towers which is still in good condition.

 

The structures of the Zanana enclosure are in Indo-Islamic style Architecture. The structures in this complex are judiciously spaced exemplifying manifestations of Vijayanagara secular architecture.

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Another shot of the Lotus Mahal. Notice how symmetric the carvings on the pillars are.

 

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The side view of the Lotus mahal

 

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The intricate carvings inside the Lotus Mahal… With limited tools, wonder how the workers of those era were able to carve out such intricate designs.

 

 

After spending about an hour in the Zanana enclosure we walked towards the much famed Elephant stable. The elephant stable is a short walk from the Zanana enclosure and it one of the monuments which is in good shape.

 

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The pathway leading from the Zanana enclosure towards the elephant stable. Notice the walls which are built out of huge boulders of rocks.

 

Elephant Stable

This magnificent 15th century, domed and long rectangular structure, built in the Indo-Islamic style architecture is considered to be the stable for the state elephants. Facing west, it has eleven large domed chambers interconnected with large arched openings. There are shallow niches and doorways in the walls between the arches. The remnants of a structure near the central dome suggest a pillared pavilion on top.

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The elephant stable from the distance… The stable has eleven large domed chambers interconnected with large arched openings.

 

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Each chamber is big enough to house an elephant… During those days, the sign of opulence of a kingdom was highlighted by the number of elephants that they had…

 

The domes are of various type such as, circular, octagonal, ribbed and fluted in design and are symmetrically laid out. There are remnants of ornate stucco and plaster ornamentation on both the exterior and interior, which was part of the architecture and design of the building. There is access to the roof from a concealed staircase through a niche by the side of the central chamber.

 

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The remnants of a structure near the central dome suggest a pillared pavilion on top.

 

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Another angle of the chambers..

 

A visit to the Zanana enclosure and the elephant stables is a must during your stay at Hampi. These two monuments are in relatively good shape and give us a clear picture about the grandeur of the Vijayanagar empire.

 

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