Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Octagonal Water Pavilion, Hampi

December 23, 2013
This is one of the many bathing places in Hampi, its a part of the royal center. Octagonal water pavilion is near the Queen's bath, closer to Chandrashkehara temple and a stone's throw from Saraswati temple. The pavilion is a 80' diameter octagon in plan and few feet below ground level.

The structure is a octagonal pit with a central octagonal platform surrounded by a octagonal shelter supported by columns.

The center piece.

There's a step and a channel running along the rim of the pit.

This must be a public bath for those visiting Chandrashekhara and Saraswati temples.

There's another octagonal bath near the Queen's bath, just besides Kamalapur-Hampi road.
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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Adil Shahi summer resort, Kumatagi

The present day Kumatagi village, 10 kms east of Bijapur on Sindhagi road, is known for an ancient summer resort. That summer resort was created by Mohammad Adil Shah between 1627 and 1656 CE. Its not clear if Kumatgi village existed at that spot back then. Anyway, the resort which consists of a lake, rows of tamarind trees, palaces & bath houses surrounded by gardens was a place to escape the searing heat of Bijapur plains. The Adil Shahis had developed a sophisticated water system which supplied water to the palaces,  mosques, and tombs in abundance. Even common people had access to sources of fresh and clean water, for example Taj Bawdi. Rain water was channelized to tanks and lakes with capacities enough to last until the following season. With an elaborate water managing system in place its no surprise that Adil Shahi kings enjoyed the luxury of a summer resort.

November 29, 2013
Travelling back from Gulbarga to Dharwad, we had to pass by Bijpaur and I saw that as a good opportunity to visit the 17th  century summer resort at Kumatagi. As we enter the resort complex, we are greeted by a rough looking stone wall building built on a platform. However, as we go around the building..

..the front side comes into view. It's a simple but beautiful looking structure with five arches. Those grills are recent addition to keep out vandals. This building is the bath house with showers and bath tubs.

This smaller but taller structure is a palace, as you see it is surrounded by stepped channels. Also there are 4" diameter pipe lines running throughout the complex bringing in water from the main source- a lake few hundred meters away. This two level palace seems small but is quite spacious inside.

Another view of the palace, in the background is the bath house and one of the 4 towers which had two purposes - water tank and sentry post.

Such an elegant structure, it is decorated with sculptures of wildlife and human beings. One single narrow is the only way to get across the water channels surrounding the palace.. i.e. if you chose not to get wet. Other wise one can simply wade across the channel.

All the while I was accompanied by the caretaker and he was kind enough to unlock the gates and let me in. We climbed to the second level through the only stairway which was pretty narrow and steep. The inside is all white and glossy, creating a cool but bright interior. I remember seeing such white finish floor at Jumma Masjid at Gulburga fort. The octagonal top has four windows and four chambers. I guess these are rooms to sleep in, there's sufficient privacy in up here.

A even narrower stairway lead to the roof. That's the bath house, its quite big.

Bath house interior. At the center is a small pit on the floor with a decorated rim. Exactly above it in the ceiling is an opening from which water showered.

This building has two sections within, the front and rear. While the front portion is bright, the rear section is dim.

That's one of the two bath tubs.

The interior has some tasteful decorations in the form of murals in mortar and colorful paintings. Well, you'll have to imagine the art in its best form i.e. when new.

A closer look at one of the many paintings. Its not easy to paint a wall facing downwards.

View of the two level palace and the lake in the background.

The hydro and sentry tower. This 50' tall tower provided head for water and a commanding view of the surrounding to guards in charge of security.

The caretaker insists on seeing the lake as well. We step out of the palace-bath house complex. This is one of the cisterns which controlled the water supply to the palace. A close look at the pit will reveal circular openings which are pipeline outlets.

This is a narrow stairway going up the tank bund and that stone structure is a multi-purpose building which serves as a pump house, dock, sentry point and a rest place.

Notice the narrow stairway to the roof. The building has such arches of all four sides and a large pit in the center. The caretaker said that water would pumped down to the cistern and then into the complex. This rough looking building has a beautiful interior.

The floral ceiling with a sunroof.

The placid water of Kumatgi lake and the tank bund. We walked along the band to catch a glimpse of the ruins of another hydro tower and a cistern. This resort is quite large, spread across 70 to 80 acres. There are plenty of tamarind trees (see inset).. they have a special look to them. I feel they are very old, perhaps planted during Adil Shahi rule. In fact there's one tree near the village Deverahippargi (closer to Sindagi) which is said to be 400 years old i.e. planted during Adil Shahi rule.

The summer resort of Adil Shahi is definitely a monument worth visiting when touring Bijapur.

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