DHF Voices

Upper Shivalaya at the summit of the North Fort, Badami. Photograph by Surendra Kumar

Shining the spotlight on some of the people involved with the Deccan Heritage Foundation, whose vision and tireless work have been at the core of our architectural restoration projects and community outreach programmes.

Dr. George Michell, Architectural Historian and Co-Founder of the DHF

Our latest video on the DHF YouTube channel has over 21,000 views. It is a wonderfully insightful conversation between our co-founder, Dr. George Michell and the historian Anirudh Kanisetti about the history and origins of South Asian temple architecture. They are filmed against the backdrop of the Ravana Phadi cave in Aihole – one of the great architectural and economic centres of the early Western Chalukyas.


Dr. Helen Philon Archeologist, Scholar and Co-founder of the DHF

What first drew you to Bahmani architecture?

HP: The uniqueness of the buildings. Bahmani architecture is unexpected and awe-inspiring in its majesty, plan and decoration.

Which sites in the Deccan do you keep returning to?

HP: Bidar, Bijapur, Hampi, Badami, Ramappa Temple in Telangana — there are so many wonders in the Deccan!

Could you share a highlight from your recent trip to India? 

HP: We discovered Santhebennur! Another highlight was the DHF’s restoration of the Gagan Mahal in Anegundi, the first Vijayanagar capital.

Akhila Udayashankar Conservation Architect

What do you find most rewarding and most challenging about being a conservation architect?

AU: What I find most rewarding is that every project presents new challenges and so it is never repetitive or boring! The job also gives us access to rooftop views and locked spaces that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to experience.

What is your favourite historic site in the Deccan?

AU: I find all of Bidar so beautiful. I am in awe of the monuments in Bijapur every time I go there. Visits to the tombs at Talner, the fort at Balapur, the stepped tank at Santhebennur really stayed with me.

If you could choose any building or monument to work on, which would it be?

AU: At the moment, it would probably be the fort at Srirangapatna. There is so much potential and it really saddens me to see it so neglected and crumbling away.

Dr. Madhuvanti Ghose Associate Curator of Indian, Southeast Asian and Himalayan Art, The Art Institute of Chicago and Trustee of the DHF

How did you first become interested in the Deccan? 

MG: Since childhood, I was obsessed with history, and the Deccan with its complex history fascinated me! I helped organise a family trip there in my teens and fell in love! Memories of Hyderabad and Bangalore from those days still haunt me.

Which part of the Deccan are you most looking forward to visiting next?

MG: Warangal! I have never been there, and cannot wait to see the Ramappa Temple!

Do you have a favourite artwork from the region?

MG: One of my favourite Deccan paintings is Yogini with a mynah bird, from the Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah Album from Bijapur. It is in the collection of the Chester Beatty Library.
(Pictured below)

Learn more about the Deccan through our latest talk series on YouTube and in our comprehensive travel guidebooks, which are available in both paperback and digital format on the DHF Bookstore.

Get in touch with us about how to get involved and support our ongoing restoration projects. Visit our website for more information here.