One of the most impressive sites in Hampi, The Elephant Stables is a wonderful structure that provided shelter to the royal elephants of the grand Vijayanagara Empire. The intricate design and emphasis on little details indicate the importance that was attached to the royal elephants of the empire.
The elephant stables were built in the 15th century and are constructed in the Indo-Islamic style of architecture. The structure is an elongated building with domed chambers, which are large enough to accommodate two elephants at a time. There are eleven such domed chambers and these are interconnected with large arched openings.
This elegantly symmetric structure is a magnet for large number of tourists who travel to Hampi. It is also one of the few structures, of the many other exquisite buildings of the area, which has suffered least destruction due to the ravages of the time.
The central dome is the largest and most closely designed with exquisite architecture. All the chambers have high ceilings and have a small opening at the rear from where the mahouts could enter and exit. Another interest is a central hook embedded in the ceiling of the central dome which was most probably used to hook the elephants and a hidden staircase, used to reach to roof of the building.
The building of Elephant Stables is located in the area that is situated just outside the Zenana Enclosure. It is nevertheless, a major attraction and wonderfully displays the level of craftsmanship that was reached during the contemporary times.