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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Hampi Utsav

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.

Matanga Hill

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.

Pan Supaari Street

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.

Rock Climbing

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.

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