The spectacular ruins of the erstwhile capital of the last great Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagar are strewn across a surreal landscape of boulders, rice paddies and the flowing Tungabhadra river.
The UNESCO World Heritage site has several Dravidian temples and palaces, markets, water reservoirs and royal pavilions, all built between the 14th and 16th centuries. The grand city won the admiration of contemporary visiting foreign travellers. Conquered by the Deccan Muslim confederacy in 1565, the city was pillaged over a period of six months before being abandoned as the Vijayanagar empire crumbled away.
The ruins are spread over a large area, but the most popular sites are temples with elaborate stone carvings, grouped together into several clusters, each cluster a delight to visit and explore at leisurely pace.