Hampi is spectacular. I am very happy that I visited it, and I am sure that I will come back there in the future.
There are so many beautiful and interesting places in India that picking the few that one will have time to visit is a true challenge. I spent quite some time reading guidebooks and researching the resources on the Internet to pick the two places near (as within <700 km of) Hyderabad that I should visit. In the end, the UNESCO World Heritage List proved to be the most useful and I only visited places present on this list: the Group of Monuments at Hampi and the Caves at Ellora and Ajanta. All of which were magnificent and exceeded my expectations.
Hampi was the capital of the last great Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagar from 1336 to 1565, when it was conquered by the Deccan Muslim confederacy. The city was plundered over six months and then abandoned.
The ruins at Hampi are truly spectacular and give you a good sense of how rich and powerful the Kingdom of Vijayanagar must have been a few centuries ago. Even today there are still more than 500 ruins remaining, some of them in the excellent shape. There are many temples, palaces, bazaars, markets, elephant stables, Queen's Bath, all that enclose within massive fortifications.
But not only ruins make Hampi special. The surroundings of the city are also spectacular. It is located on the banks of torrential Tungabhadra river, near several beautiful hills, in a relative isolation from other cities and villages. Moreover, the contemporary city of Hampi has only around several hundred inhabitants and, therefore, feels very relaxed and peaceful. All that makes Hampi a perfect tourist destination, worth exploring for several days.
Few of over 500 ruins remaining in Hampi:
The Vitthala Temple Complex:
Nancy, Naomi and I:
Lotus Mahal at the Zenana Enclosure:
Underground Shiva Temple:
Badavi Linga made of black stone: