The city of the Vijayanagara kings is one of the most grandiose sights in India. A listed Unesco World Heritage site, it features thousands of vestiges spread over an area of more than 4000ha. Hampi is a treasure chest lost in a desert of rocks lovingly polished by time.
The little spray-swept village of Mahabalipuram, 60km south of Chennai, is a delight, although very touristy. The Pallava kings left architectural masterpieces, Unesco World Heritage, whose distinctive style spread as far as the Far East.