Vijayanagara – The Elephant Stables


Vijayanagara – The Elephant Stables in Hampi, India as viewed from the Mahout quarters. From this distance it’s hard to appreciate the huge paddocks of the elephants all built with precise symmetry. You can see the craftsmanship of the stone carvings from the elephant in the foreground. Its probably the most beautiful stable block I’ve ever seen. The stables were used to house the ceremonial elephants of the royal household. The area in front of them was a parade ground for the elephants, and for troops. This is another structure that shows Islamic influence in its domes and arched gateways. The guards’ barracks are located right next to the elephant stables.

Vijaya Nagara was the capital city of the historic Vijayanagara Empire which extended over South India. The city’s ruins, surrounding the modern-day village of Hampi, are in Ballari district, Karnataka. Around 1500, Vijaynagara had about 500,000 inhabitants (supporting 0.1% of the global population during 1440-1540), making it the second largest city in the world after Beijing and almost twice the size of Paris. The ruins are now a World Heritage Site.

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