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Notes on the Geography of Peninsular India: Hampi Sacred Center: Photo 10

world pictures Peninsular India: Hampi Sacred Center

A courtyard leads to a second, lower gopuram. As late as the 1920s, foreigners were allowed no further. Today, they can enter after buying a ticket at the window on the left. Disappointment awaits if they anticipate still greater magnificence within, because the climax of visual display comes with the first gopuram; after that, opulence declines almost step by step. That's fairly typical. Murray's guide of 1924 says not to worry, "as the temple differs in nothing from the ordinary type which can be visited anywhere." (How did Murray know? Simple: a British police officer in 1870 had forced his way in while chasing a suspect seeking refuge. With that precedent, a few other officers on duty were thereafter admitted.) The north gopuram rises behind the wall. The shala or barrel-vaulted roof on both towers is another standard feature.

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