Hampi is 460km (285 miles) NW of Bengaluru and 13km (8 miles) E of Hospet

The surreal, boulder-strewn landscape of Karnataka's hinterland is the backdrop to the largest complex of ruins in India. Hampi, capital of one of India's most formidable empires, the powerful Vijayanagara -- whose rule stretched from the Arabian Sea to the Indian Ocean -- was home to a population of half a million, and protected by more than a million soldiers. Set in a vast valley sprawling from the banks of the Tungabhadra River, the splendid "City of Victory" -- where even the king's horses were adorned in jewels -- is now a ghost city with numerous temples, fortification ramparts, stables, royal apartments, and palaces, popular with determined sightseers and trance and rave party disciples. Long popular with Bollywood as a shooting location, Hampi is also where scenes from the 2005 Jackie Chan thriller The Myth were shot. Hampi may be a little difficult to get to, but this remoteness is to a large extent its charm. You can easily enjoy 2 or 3 days in this serene atmosphere, particularly if you've booked at Hampi's Boulders, a comfortable resort within striking distance of the ruins.