Long before I visited Hampi I knew it was potentially a great location to photograph sunset. You only have to google “hampi sunset photos” to see what I mean. But in many of the photos I poured over online, the sense of drama just wasn’t there – everything seemed too far away. Most people seem to head up to the summit of Matanga Hill and the proclaimed “sunset point”, but I decided to try something different.
On my visit to Achyutaraya Temple earlier in the day I had scouted a path that seemed quite promising. It traverses around the northern side of Matanga Hill but is lower down. This was key for me as I wanted to ensure the Virupaksha Temple was a focal point of the shot as well as the sunset itself, the temple needed to be prominent and not just lost below the horizon.
There’s a more detailed description of the location I chose at the end of this blog. The actual spot I chose was about 10m north of path, a little scrambling was called for, but it offered exactly what I was looking for; the temple gateway rising up and prominent in the scene, the hills behind, and hopefully the actual sunset in the frame as well. I arrived early, so wasn’t entirely sure it was going to work, but in the end I got lucky.
With the sheer volume of boulders that are all over the Hampi landscape no tripod was needed. I just rested the camera on a beanbag on a chest high rock and I was all set to go.
It sounds all too clichéd I know, but it was a magical experience to stand there and watch the sun slowly dip behind the temple and the hills beyond. The Virupaksha Temple had been with me for almost the entire day, a reassuring beacon on the landscape. It seemed only fitting that I should conclude an amazing day by watching the sunset behind that temple.
So, how do you get to this place ? There are two ways to reach the location, depending on the direction of your approach.
From Achyutaraya Temple:
Take the path heading west from Achyutaraya Temple that climbs and skirts the north side of Matanga Hill. If your sense of direction isn’t that great, after walking for about a minute look back and this should be what you see. Hopefully that should ensure you’re on the right track.
From Hampi Bazaar:
Walk to the far eastern extent of the ceremonial street, with the Virupaksha Temple behind you. At the end is a pavilion sheltering a large monolithic image of Nandi. To the right is a stepped path that leads up through an open gateway and on towards Achyutaraya Temple.
Here’s the location on google maps, which might make a bit more sense of the directions.
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