The Elephant Stable in Hampi is an impressive structure that was used to provide shelter for the royal elephants of the Vijayanagara Empire. The elephant stable is located in the area that lies just outside the Zenana Enclosure.
It is one of the very few structures that have not suffered extensive damage during the Mughal attack on Hampi that led to the downfall of the Vijayanagara Empire in 1565 A.D. The ancient stable is a major attraction among the tourists even today.
- Timing: 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM on all days of the week
- Entry Fee for Indians: INR 10.00
- Entry Fee for Foreigners: INR 250.00
- Entry Fee for Children: Free for Children under 15 years of age
- Photography: Allowed (no extra charges levied)
- Visit Duration: Around 1 hour
- Best time to visit: From November to February
History of Elephant Stable, Hampi
The elephant stable was constructed in the 15th century, during the reign of the Vijayanagara Empire. As the name indicates, the stable was constructed to house the royal elephants of the Vijayanagara Empire.
The elaborate structure indicates the importance attached to the royal elephants during those days. It also suggests towards the amazing craftsmanship of the artisans of that era.
Impressive Architecture of Elephant Stable, Hampi
The elephant stable in Hampi is one of the finest examples of Indo-Islamic style of architecture. Though most of the structures and monuments in Hampi were built using the Vijayanagara style of architecture, a few structures display the Indo-Islamic style as well.
The elephant stable is a prominent building in Hampi that displays this beautiful architectural style.
The elephant stable is a long building with a rectangular shape. The building has a row of eleven huge domed chambers. Each chamber is large enough to accommodate two elephants at a time. The domed chambers are interconnected with large arched openings.
The walls between the arches have small doorways. There is no sign to indicate that the chambers ever had any doors in the doorways.
Every chamber contains a small opening at the rear side. It is believed that this opening was used by the mahouts to enter and exit the chambers.
The building also contains a concealed staircase that leads one to the roof of the building. The chambers of the building have high ceilings.
The central chamber contains a metal hook embedded in the ceiling. This hook was most probably used to tie the elephants during the days of the Vijayanagara Empire. The hook could also have been used as a pulley by the mahout to set the howdah on the back of the elephants.
Uniqueness of domes in Elephant Stable, Hampi
The uniqueness about the elephant stable is that it has a distinct central dome. The central dome is the largest and most decorated among the 11 domes of the building. The design of the central dome represents the architectural style found in the temples of Hampi.
The other 10 domes represent the Islamic style of architecture. The domes of the building were designed in a variety of shapes, such as, octagonal, circular, ribbed, drum-shaped and fluted. All the domes possess a symmetric layout. Each of the domes was decorated with ornate plaster on the interior as well as the exterior.
Present Condition of the Elephant Stable, Hampi
The elephant stable is among one of the few least destroyed buildings in Hampi. The wear and tear of time and weather has faded and weakened the building to an extent. However, it is still in a firm condition, more than 600 years after it was constructed.
The plaster of the building has fallen off at some places. The central dome is not as well preserved as the other domes. Yet, the stable stands as one of the most remarkable structures in Hampi and attracts scores of visitors on a daily basis. It is one of the monuments that are preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India.
How to reach Elephant Stable, Hampi
Hampi is a tourist destination that is well-known for its ruins. The elephant stable is one of the few intact structures in Hampi. Placed within a short distance of the Zenana enclosure and the Guard’s Quarters, the stable is situated in an easily accessible area of Hampi.
It is also one of the few buildings in Hampi that require tourists to have a ticket to visit it.
Hampi is an ancient village without an airport of its own. Ballari (Bellary) is the nearest town to have an airport. Ballary is located at a distance of around 64 km from Hampi. Visitors can reach Ballari by taking a flight to the small town and then travel to Hampi by means of local transport.
Hampi has no railway station of its own. The closest railway station is situated in the city of Hosapete (Hospet). Hosapete has the Hospet Junction Railway Station. Hosapete stands at a distance of around 10 km from Hampi.
An easy way to reach Hampi from Hosapete is to board a bus. A few other means of local transport also exists and visitors can avail them to reach Hampi from Hosapete.
Hampi is known for its good road network. It is well-connected to many towns and cities with the help of this network. There are several KSRTC buses that operate between Hampi and some other towns and cities in Karnataka. Visitors can reach Hampi by taking a bus or by hiring private cars, cabs or other vehicles from the major cities like Bengaluru (Bangalore) or Mysuru (Mysore).