Hampi, India, was the capital of the fortified metropolis of Hindu Vijayanagar in the 15th century. Located 350 mi/565 km southeast of Mumbai, the mighty kingdom covered one third of India and was known for its riches, foreign trade and exemplary administration. It was later destroyed, ransacked and burned by invaders in the 17th century—only the stone buildings from that time remain.
Take a bus or rickshaw from the railway town of Hospet to see the extensive ruins of this former capital of a Hindu kingdom. Allow a full day to see the relief carvings and Hindu shrines (still in use). The ruins are spread over a huge area, so wear comfortable shoes.
Striking the stone pillars at Vitthala Temple causes them to emit different musical notes; however, after centuries of striking, sometimes with unsuitable materials, the pillars have eroded to the point where they are in danger, and it is now forbidden to hit them. A life-size stone replica of a chariot is in the complex, and the Indian epic Ramayana is depicted through carvings at Hazara Rama Temple.
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