The Lotus Mahal or Lotus Palace is a unique structure located among the rich architectural ruins of Hampi. This majestic structure is a part of the Zenana Enclosure, a secluded area reserved for the royal ladies of the Vijayanagara Empire. The Lotus Mahal is also known as the Chitragani Mahal and Kamal Mahal.
The highlight of the Lotus Mahal is its exceptional and distinctive architecture. It is one of the few amazing structures in Hampi that were left undamaged during the siege of the city.
- Timing: Open on all days of the week from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
- Entry fee for adults: Rs. 10 for Indians and Rs. 250 for foreign tourists
- Entry fee for children: Entry is free for children under 15 years
- Photography: Allowed (no extra charges levied)
- Visit duration: 2 hours approximately
- Best time to visit: From November to February
The striking shape of Lotus Mahal, Hampi
The Lotus Mahal stands as the highlight of the Zenana Enclosure and is one of the most famous attractions of Hampi. As the name indicates, the beautiful domed structure has been designed in the shape of a lotus bud.
The archways of the structure resemble petals of a lotus and provide the whole structure the shape of a half-open lotus bud. The central dome is carved in the shape of a lotus bud. Even the towers of the Lotus Mahal are pyramidal in shape and enhance the lotus-like look of the structure.
Unique architectural beauty of Lotus Mahal, Hampi
The most remarkable feature of the Lotus Mahal is its exceptional architectural style. It is a deviation from the conventional style of architecture found in almost all structures in Hampi.
The Lotus Mahal is designed in the Indo-Islamic style of architecture. The base of the superstructure has the traditional Vijayanagara architectural pattern. However, the upper portion of the structure has nine pyramidal towers of varying sizes and they represent the Islamic style of architecture. The central pyramidal tower is the tallest one among all of them.
The Lotus Mahal is a two storied symmetric structure that is surrounded by a rectangular fortifying wall. Initially the fortification had 4 watch towers , but only three can be seen today. These watch towers were once used for keeping guard against intruders trying to enter the Zenana Enclosure.
The beautiful structure of the Lotus Mahal has tall arched windows. Twenty-four square pillars support the arches and the superstructure of the Mahal. The pillar arches of the structure are covered with exemplary carvings and delicate art work.
Even the walls have mesmerizing carvings of amazing patterns, birds, Makara Torana (a popular sea creature from Hindu mythology), etc. The upper floors are decorated with balconies having arched windows. The ceiling of the structure is decorated with an elaborate lotus bud at the centre.
Unique features of the Lotus Mahal, Hampi
An interesting feature about the Lotus Mahal is that it was an air-cooled structure. During the hot summer months, the temperature inside the structure was maintained and kept low. The proof of this fact is provided by the pipeline work that runs above and between the arches of the structure and the sides of the roof.
This presents an insight into the high level of construction and architectural knowledge that was prevalent among the Vijayanagara workers.
Exceptional beauty of the Lotus Mahal, Hampi
During the ancient times, the structure probably used to be a place where the royal ladies used to relax and socialize with other members from the royal family. Today the structure is a famous tourist spot that is considered to be one of the must-visit sites for anyone on the Hampi trail.
It is one of the structures in Hampi that offers an exceptional sight not only during the day but also during the night. In fact, the night illumination provides a very beautiful look of the structure against the background of the dark night.
It is ideal for photography and is one of the most photographed structures in Hampi. The large lawn surrounding the Lotus Mahal adds to its beauty and attraction.
How to reach Lotus Mahal, Hampi
The Lotus Mahal is situated within the Zenana Enclosure that is a part of the royal enclosure. As such it is one of the easily accessible sites in Hampi.
Hampi has no airport of its own. Ballari is the nearest town with an airport. As such, visitors who wish to reach Hampi by air must take a flight to Bellary and then avail local transport to reach Hampi. Bellary is situated at a distance of about 64 km from the town of Hampi.
For those visitors who wish to reach Hampi by the rail network, the nearest station is located at Hosapete. The Hospet Junction Railway Station is located at a distance of about 10 km from Hampi. The ruins of Hampi can be easily reached from Hospet through one of the frequent buses that commute between the two places. Some other means of local transport is also available from Hospet to reach Hampi.
Hampi is well connected to several towns and cities by means of road network. The ancient town is easily reachable by bus service from a number of major towns and cities. Visitors can also hire private cars and vehicles from places like Bengaluru or Mysuru to reach Hampi.