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Until the 16th century, Vijayanagar was a vast, sprawling city of half a million people, the capital of one of the greatest empires in Indian history. Known today as Hampi, the city was vanquished by the Deccan sultans in 1565 and went into rapid decline - today all that remains are the ruins of statues, temples and palaces scattered across a plain of giant granite boulders. It’s one of the most atmospheric historic sites in South India, and a popular traveler center to boot, with a string of decent guesthouses and some excellent rock climbing. According to the Ramayana, the area around Hampi was the home of the monkey god Hanuman, who ...

Until the 16th century, Vijayanagar was a vast, sprawling city of half a million people, the capital of one of the greatest empires in Indian history. Known today as Hampi, the city was vanquished by the Deccan sultans in 1565 and went into rapid decline - today all that remains are the ruins of statues, temples and palaces scattered across a plain of giant granite boulders. It’s one of the most atmospheric historic sites in South India, and a popular traveler center to boot, with a string of decent guesthouses and some excellent rock climbing. According to the Ramayana, the area around Hampi was the home of the monkey god Hanuman, who became a loyal friend to Lord Rama, and the ruins are still alive with monkeys today. Most visitors base themselves in Hampi Bazaar or Virupapur Gaddi, which face each other across the Tungabhadra River. Although most of the temples are in ruins, the Virupaksha Temple in Hampi Bazaar is still an active place of worship, with one of the tallest gopurams in the country.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: A village in northern Karnataka state, in Southern India.
  • Language: Hindi, English
  • Currency: Indian Rupee
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    October to March, but prices peak just after Christmas in January.