Hampi Monuments Unesco, Karnataka, India

The fascinating ruins of the 15th-century city of Vijayanagar, near the village of Hampi, are set in an extraordinary landscape of giant granite boulders, lush paddies and banana plantations. The clock seems to have stopped at this World Heritage site, and you can spend a surprisingly large amount of time gazing at the weirdly balanced rocks, wondering how millions of years of erosion could achieve such formations. Given its magical atmosphere, Hampi is a major pit stop on the traveller circuit, with November to March (the cooler months) being the peak season. The ruins cover a wide area, but it’s possible to see the main sites in a day or two. However, this goes against Hampi’s relaxed grain, so plan on lingering for a while.

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