We our not so spry as we once were and so we pretty much just skimmed the Royal Center, hitting only what we thought looked like the high points. It was somewhat frustrating. We realized that two whole days is not enough for Hampi. That is not to say that one has to see everything, but it is such a pleasant and fascinating place that one could happily spend more time there -- at least three whole days.
We started the afternoon's tour by going to look at the so-called queen's bath. It appears that this is really misnamed and was actually used by male courtiers and their "lady" friends. Be that as it may, the rather plain exterior gives no indication of the beauty to be found inside. We were wondereing what it would look like with water in it, an experience opposite to what we would feel later.
|Queen's bath, exterior||Queen's bath, interior|
|Water channel to feed stepped tank||Watch your head, Siv|
After that, we drove (yes...) to a walled enclosure which contains a number of ruins, including a huge platform and our goal here, the beautiful square stepped tank. Knowing from Internet pictures ( here or here) what it looks like without water -- a beautiful, three-dimensional geometric pattern, we were this time disappointed that there was water in it. But you can't have everything. The stone channel to bring water to it is not only impressive as an engineering achievement, but quite pleasing to the eye too. You have to watch out for the low ceiling, though!
Once again, as Khajuraho in 2006, we were impressed by the labor surplus in Indian which makes possible the kind of weeding of the grass we saw in both places. Next, we drove past the Hazara Rama Temple and over to the zenana enclosure, which was also probably not what the name purports it to be (a harem). We had already been quite impressed by the construcion of walls at Hampi, but this one really took away our breath. Each stone is different, but they are all fitted together masterfully. And beautifully!
|Weeding near the stepped tank||Gorgeous wall|
|Zenana enclosure and lotus mahal||Lotus mahal|
|Watch tower||Family picnic|
Inside the zenana enclosure (to enter which one must purchase a ticket) there is a lovely, well-tended garden, in the latter half of which is found the Lotus Mahal, a lovely mandapa-style building which probably served as a council hall. One nice thing in Hampi was that not all the tourists were westerners, although we were well represented. Beside the lotus mahal, an Indian family was picnicing. We often saw this around here.
We then passed through the gate at the rear of the enclosure and viewed the old elephant stable. The arches are indeed high enough for an elephant to walk under.
|Elephant stables||Rain in Hampi!|
That evening, we were pleasantly surprised by the arrival of a real, heavy rain. It was great just to sit and watch it and smell the humidity. It was less great to smell the cow crap being converted into slippery crud by the rain. It was a nice end for our -- too short -- visit to Hampi.
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