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Once the capital of the mighty Vijayanagar Empire, a Hindu kingdom that controlled southern India for two centuries, Hampi today is a lovely, if little-known, destination. Labeled a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its intricate temples and shattered stone structures, Hampi's ruins stretch over 8 square miles (21 square kilometers). In recent years, however, the discovery of manganese ore, used in the production of steel and iron, has threatened Hampi and the nearby sites.
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Our co-founder Jay Tindall is a regular visitor to India, where he loves staying in the palace hotels of Rajasthan. His favourite experience? The amazing Kumbh Mela festival.
Take a walk down the street where diamonds and other precious gems were sold during ancient times. While the exact rationale for the street's name remains unclear, historians believe it may have been named for paan, or areca nut wrapped in betel leaf and sweeteners.
Climb Mantanga Hill, the center of Hampi and its highest point, for a view over the ruins; look south toward the Elephant Stables, a well preserved series of 11 chambers where the Vijayanagar kings kept their prized pachyderms.
This colorful, entertaining festival is held during the first week of November. During this time there are various celebrations and the ruins around Hampi are dressed up in colorful lights.
Organize your climbing gear and then head for the excellent rock climbing that Hampi has to offer. Enjoy the sun and the outdoors as you scale the boulders!
Temples and Ruins of Hampi
With your guide, spend an afternoon touring the remarkable ruins, including Virupaksha Temple, with its 16-story gopura, or entrance tower; the Narasimha Monolith, a 20-foot-tall, half-man, half-lion representation of Vishnu dating to 1528; and the astonishing Vitthala Temple, featuring hollow columns that produce various musical pitches when you rap on them.
Take a journey through Central India, passing through Mumbai, Hampi, Bangalore, and Hyderabad on this 11-day luxury journey. You’ll sleep in some of India’s most luxurious hotels, including the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, spend time in Bollywood, visit the ancient ruins of Golkonda, and rock climb in Hampi.
Take in the best of South India’s culture on this 14-day luxury journey from Mumbai to Madurai. You’ll peruse bustling markets, explore UNESCO-listed ancient ruins in Hampi, and enjoy the colonial charms of Pondicherry as you feel like royalty sleeping in some of India’s most luxurious Taj hotels.
A unique, creative resort set less than an hour from the ruins of Hampi, the Hampi Boulders resort overlooks the swift rivers of the Tungabhadra River. Each of the resortâ€™s luxury cottages were designed and built to co-exist in harmony with the local environment; indeed, several were built to resemble local boulders, for which the area is famous. The onsite restaurant serves authentic Southern Indian food, complemented by a decent selection of wine and exotic cocktails. Amenities include a rock swimming pool and a clubhouse, which offers a variety of games from billiards to table tennis.
The Hyatt Place
Less than an hourâ€™s drive from the UNESCO World Heritage ruins of Hampi, arguably the worldâ€™s largest outdoor museum, the Hyatt Place is set amidst the greenery of the nearby Vidyanagar Township. The Hyatt Placeâ€™s 155 rooms include a signature Hyatt Grand Bed, a media center, Wi-Fi, satellite television, a work desk, and a refrigerator; seven of the suites have their own private pool. The on-site restaurant serves Indian and western cuisine as well as a breakfast buffet, and a well-stocked bar that offers beer and wine from across the globe. Other facilities include a fitness center, a games room, an outdoor pool, a business center, and a coffee shop.