Hampi: Ancient city of gods, kings and ruins; Darshini Kandasamy; CNN

India – Group of Monuments at Hampi

In the southern Indian state of Karnataka, Hampi was once the seat of a mighty empire. Learn more about what travelers will find there.

(CNN) — It’s a view that renders speech impossible.

We’re standing atop Matanga Parvata, or Matanga Hill, after a 30-minute climb that began in pre-dawn darkness up a barely there path laid out hundreds of years ago for worshippers.

The rising sun, diffused behind the curtain of a cloudy sky, begins to bathe the valley below with soft light, revealing a spectacular boulder-strewn landscape of formidable hills, lush vegetation and skeletons of once mighty temples and watchtowers.

The misty appearance befits this sacred land of gods, kings and ruins — India’s historic city of Hampi.

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