Hidden underground meeting rooms, pillars that make melodious music, ancient temples – these are some of the strange things you encounter in the ancient ruined city of Hampi. Come let’s explore Hampi.


 

I am in Hampi for a quick extended weekend trip to explore the ruins. Over the next few days I find some fairly unique and strange things in Hampi. Things that cause marvel and amazement at the ingenuity of the ancients. Here’s a quick rundown of the top 5 strange things I find on my trip.

The Elephant Stables

Royal elephants were kept in this enclosure
Royal elephants were kept in this enclosure

These giant domed shaped stables used to house royal elephants when Hampi was bustling metropolis. The stables comprise of a long row of domed chambers, each suited to house an elephant. Inside the chambers, hooks used to secure the elephants can be still seen. A central chamber is much larger and might have served to host musicians during royal processions. I find these to be one of the most unusual structures I have seen in all the ruins I have visited.

The Underground Shiva Temple

Water covers the inner sanctum of the Underground Shiva temple in Hampi
Water covers the inner sanctum of the Underground Shiva temple in Hampi

While not strictly underground, the underground Shiva Temple is a few meters below ground level. Reputed to be one of the oldest temples in Hampi, the sanctum and inner areas of the temple are typically submerged under water. The location of the temple and the water logged interiors make it an unique experience to visit this temple.

The Dining plates fit for a Giant

These giant granite dining plates were supposedly used in the communal dining area
These giant granite dining plates were supposedly used in the communal dining area

I find these huge “dining plates” near the Pushkarini or Temple tank area of the Royal Enclosure. My guide insists that these strange pieces of granite were used in a communal dining area for soldiers. The plate was used to eat food during important festivals. Given the size of the plate, I wonder if the diners were all giants

Secret Meeting Room

The King met his ministers in secret here
The King met his ministers in secret here

Near the Royal Enclosure, lies this nondescript ruin. My guide takes through a narrow “secret” passageway into a meeting chamber. It is said that the king met his ministers in this meeting chamber, secure from prying eyes. The top of the chamber was covered to make a artificial pond hiding the meeting participants from prying eyes, while the secret passageway entrances hid the fact that the participants were meeting. Truly ingenious.

Musical Pillars

The musical pillars of Vitthala Temple are possibly the most well known oddity in Hampi. A marvel of engineering, each stone pillar is crafted to emit a musical note when struck. It is said that the when the Vijayanagar Empire was at its peak, the melodious music from dozens of pillars being hit simultaneously could be heard from miles around the temple. Seeing the pillars make music is possibly my most sublime experience in Hampi.

 

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