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Published: December 20th 2019
Today is our last day in Hampi and a check of the itinerary showed there were still several places I wanted to see which we hadn’t visited yet. So after breakfast we headed out, intent on walking to the Queen’s Bath about a kilometre away. But we didn’t get far before a rickshaw driver stopped to talk, looking for a fare.
He pulled out his Hampi map and I pointed out the places we had yet to visit. We came to an agreement on price for the morning and piled into his auto rickshaw, the idea of walking now completely forgotten.
First stop was the Queen’s Bath. This structure was the private bathing chamber of the king and his wives. It has a very plain boxy exterior but inside there’s a two metre deep bathing pool with steps, overlooked by ornate balconies, each with 3 windows. These opened onto an arched walkway on all four sides of the bathing pool. The building was surrounded by a moat for privacy. A lady was sweeping whilst we were there and was happy to pose for a photo.
Next stop was The Royal Enclosure, there was a stepwell here I was
interested in seeing. We also visited the Public Baths here, they were huge, though unrestored. What I found interesting is the system of water channels that flow through the entire complex, not just here but at a lot of the places we have visited. Somewhat like irrigation channels, they pass next to or through every structure in the complex, including the temples. They fill the baths and provided water for everyday use.
From here we went to Hazara Rama Temple. Located between Danaik’s Enclosure and the Royal Enclosure, this temple is famous for exquisite bas reliefs of 1000 Rama figures, and it was the private temple of the kings and royal family. There are 2 huge gateways that give access to the temple compound, and we were both impressed by the ornately sculpted black granite columns inside, they were the only ones I’ve ever seen like that.
We had stopped outside Krishna Temple yesterday but never ventured inside, we were too busy eating ice creams and exploring Krishna Bazaar across the road. The facade of this temple was covered in scaffolding and looked closed. Thank goodness we returned today, there were exquisite carvings inside we almost missed.
Our rickshaw driver also took us to see Bhima’s Gate. This gateway is a classic example of Vijayanagara military architecture, and was one of many, and considered the strongest, into the fortified city of Hampi.
The interesting feature of the gate is its smart design. One cannot cross this archway in a straight line. You enter this gateway complex through its western arch. Straight ahead is a huge tall block of a wall like structure. You turn right, left and then once again left to go around this obstruction to reach the exit at the north. So, this works as a blind spot for invading armies and makes it impossible for elephants to charge through.
We found ourselves back at Green Restaurant later in the afternoon for an early dinner, more vegetarian pizza and Kingfisher beer. We were being picked up at 6.00pm for a private transfer to the railway station. Tonight we sleep on another train, this one bound for Goa.
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