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The Deccan is a whole other civilization in itself, different again among India’s myriad cultures. Seemingly remote from all the usual access points of North South East and West, it is much less frequented by the tourists, and remote from the storybook forts and palaces of Rajasthan. But it too has forts and palaces, temples, and ruins, Hindu, Muslim, Jain and Buddhist sites, all in an exotic garb waiting for the traveler to discover and savor it, in a leisurely time of eras gone past.
Hampi & Lepakshi
HAMPI If you like ruins - not the battered fort or tottering temple or even the Pompeii-like state of suspended animation - but real desolation that has you quoting Shelley: “look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!, Nothing beside remains, round the decay, … boundless and bare”. Then you must see Hampi. There you will feel the tranquillity of departed spirits. This is a shell of a great Empire, which will spark your imagination with ‘ghosts of things past’, with stirring tales of lavish hospitality, military prowess, love of the arts, and devastating defeats.
LEPAKSHI is in Andhra Pradesh, on the borders of Karnataka. See the magnificent 16th century Vijayanagara style temple with the best preserved ceiling and spectacular wall paintings from the period with a huge monolithic Nandi (bull) sculpture of granite 5m high and 8m long.
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