Hampi is a village within the large ancient capital of Vijayanagar, one of the greatest Hindu kingdoms in India’s history. In around 1500 Vijaynagar had 500,000 inhabitants, probably making it one of the biggest cities in the world. It has some extremely captivating ruins, strangely mixed in with large boulders dotted all over the landscape. The ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The ruins, which date back to the 14th century, stretch for just over 10 miles and comprise more than 500 monuments. The most striking monument is the Vittala Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Its main hall has 56 pillars that make musical sounds when struck.

An incredible energy can be felt at Hampi. The sunrise and sunset over the village, viewed from atop the central Matanga Hill, are truly magical and are not to be missed. Be sure to have a comfortable pair of shoes with you as some of the ruins can only be accessed on foot and you’ll need to walk quite a distance in order to explore them. Try taking a ferry trip across the river to Anegondi and exploring the relics there. Alternatively, it’s a good idea to hire a bicycle to get around. Night tours are also possible. The best time to visit is from November to February. In March, it starts getting unbearably hot.

The recently opened Hampi airport has improved accessibility considerably with new routes and flights being added regularly.