Hampi Water System

By Sanjeev Nayyar [email protected] | 2012

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The Royal Enclosure area has efficient arrangements for supplying water, storing it and drainage system. Water was brought from an external source through a main aqueduct running in the middle of the enclosure ie that u see in the picture. On the right side towards the end u see a water outlet. That goes into a stepped tank that u shall see in next picture.

You see a stepped well. It is made of well-dressed schist blocks, square on plan. This tank has 5 landings each connected by ornamental steps. Such design wells are found in large numbers in Gujarat and Rajasthan. Note the main aqueduct branched into a network of sub-channels to feed 23 small and big tanks within the enclosure. Importantly, there were wells at the junction between the main aqueduct and branches were sources of water in the times of emergency.

It is called a public-bath, is the largest tank in the enclosure and was perhaps used for jalakrida by the royal women. An open mandapa, on the western side of the tank, might have been used by the royalty to sit and watch games.

U see a network of underground drains made of slabs of lime concrete and provided with man-holes at regular intervals. They channelised all the waste and rain water, empting it into a large drain on the southern side of the enclosure.

U see the Queen''s Bath. It is a large square structure with a plain exterior and an ornate interior. It has a bath, 15 m square and 1.8 m deep, surrounded by decorated corridors and projecting balconies. It is called Queen''s bath probably it is located near the Royal Enclosure. Belief is that it was built by Achyuta Rai (1529-42).

Through an external duct water comes into the bath. I was impressed by the lay out of water ducts. Also envy the royals for having such a huge bath. In its hey days must have been something.

The pavillion originally had ornate stucco decoration. U see a deep octagonal basin the centre.

At the periphery of the bath are 8 holes through which water entered the bath. U see one such inlet. I believe that we need to rediscover the traditional forms of water harvesting and water mgmt so that the ground water level increases.