A Guide to Virupaksha Temple – Hampi | Timings, Architecture & History

Posted on by Sandy

The Temple of Virupaksha is situated in Hampi, 350 km from Bangalore, in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. It is part of the Hampi Monuments Group, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Virupaksha is a form of Shiva and has other temples dedicated to him, especially at another World Heritage Site, the Group of Monuments at Pattadakal.

In the remains of the ancient town of Vijayanagar, the capital of the Vijayanagara kingdom, Hampi lies on the banks of the Tungabhadra River. The Virupaksha Temple is the largest pilgrimage center in Hampi and has been known over the years as the holiest sanctuary. In the nearby ruins, it is entirely intact and is still used in adoration. Lord Shiva, revered here as Virupaksha, is devoted to the temple as the consort of the nearby Pampa goddess who is aligned with the Tungabhadra River.

Virupaksha Temple – Temple Facts

DeityLord Shiva
LocationHampi, Karnataka
SignificanceUNESCO Heritage Site
Best time to visitOctober to February

Darshan Timing
Monday to Friday9 AM – 1 PM5 PM – 9 PM
Entry FeesINR 2
Dress CodeTraditional
FestivalsThe annual chariot festival in February.Marriage festivities of Virupaksha and Pampa in December.
ParkingFree
PhotographyINR 50 for Camera
ArchitectureStyle: Vijayanagara Architecture
Established In7th Century
Constructed ByAhuka and Manyuka

Virupaksha Temple – Hampi Location

In east-central Karnataka, Hampi is spread out on the banks of the Tungabhadra River, about 376 kilometers from Bangalore, 266 kilometers from Belgaum, and 385 kilometers from Hyderabad. The nearest train station to Hampi is the town of Hospet or Hosapete, about 13 kilometers away.

Virupaksha Temple – History

The history of the temple from the 7th century is uninterrupted. Much before the Vijayanagara capital was located here, the Virupaksha-Pampa sanctuary flourished. Shiva-related inscriptions date back to the 9th and 10th centuries. Under the Vijayanagara kings, what began as a small shrine developed into a huge complex. Evidence suggests that in the late Chalukyan and Hoysala periods there were additions made to the temple, while most of the temple buildings are credited to the Vijayanagar era.

In the middle of the 14th century, under the Vijayanagara kings, the flourishing of indigenous art and culture began. Much of the wonderful decorative buildings and inventions were deliberately demolished when the rulers were overwhelmed by Muslim invaders in the 16th century.

With the fall of the city in 1565, the religious sect of Virupaksha-Pampa did not stop. Over the years, a prayer there has continued. There were significant renovations and extensions at the beginning of the 19th century, including ceiling paintings and the towers of the North and East Gopura.

Virupaksha Temple Architecture

There is a sanctuary or sacred place of worship in the temple, a corridor with a variety of pillars and three antechambers. The temple is surrounded by courtyards, a pillared monastery, a few small shrines, and entrances.

The eastern gateway is the best of all gateways. It is nine-tiered and it is 50 meters high. It is well planned and has some former buildings. The foundation is of brick and involves a gravel base giving way to the outside court. This tribunal comprises numerous sub-sanctums. Three stories grace the inner eastern gopuram, while the northern gopuram has five stories.

Towards the north, the Kanakagiri gopuram brings visitors to a narrow enclosure with additional sanctums.

Krishnadevaraya, a revered Vijayanagara King, was a donor to the temple. The main pillared hall, which is the most decorated structure of this temple, is believed to be his addition. Next to the hall, there is a stone slab that has inscriptions that describe his temple offerings.

There are lots of dilapidated mandapams around Virupaksha temple. In front of this temple was an old shopping complex intertwined with mandapams. Today, the ruins remain.

How to Reach Virupaksha Temple

By Air

Hampi’s nearest international airport is Bellary, located 350 km away. From Bellary to Hampi, visitors can take a taxi from.

By Rail

The closest train station is Hospet, about 13 kilometers away. The main towns such as Bellary and Bangalore are extensively related to Hospet. To enter Hampi, tourists normally hire a cab from Hospet. The road from Hampi to Bangalore is 288 km.

By Road

From places like Bellary, Hospet, and Bangalore, visitors can go to Hampi by bus. For travelers, Volvo and AC buses are available. Travelers may also take advantage of cabs.

Places to visit near Virupaksha Temple

To visit the numerous places that make up the Hampi ruins, you need a full day. The Hampi Monument Group is commonly known as Hindu, Jain, and Muslim monuments, consisting of several market complexes, temples, shrines, hill monuments, water reservoirs, elephant stables, communal kitchens, and fountains, mosque, and tomb. Of all the buildings, few remain unchanged, and others are easily visible. Visiting these monuments should require a day of Hampi:

Vitthala Temple & Market Complex: The three-kilometer-long Vitthala temple and market complex lies to the north-east of the Virupaksha temple and closer to the Tungabhadra dam. The shrine is thought to have been built sometime in the early to mid 16th century as a religious site for the Vijayanagara rulers. Vitthala, considered an incarnation of Lord Krishna, is devoted to the temple. The Garuda shrine, which is a beautiful stone chariot at the Vitthala temple, is one of Hampi’s most photographed monuments. The chariot has come to be Hampi’s synonym. An open-pillared mandapam with 56 carved stone beams in different forms, heights, and lengths faces the Garuda shrine.

Hazara Rama Temple: On the western portion of the royal center section, inscriptions refer to this temple as the temple of Ramachandra. Hazara Rama acted as a ritual temple for the kings, dating back to the early 15th century. Look at the detailed artwork on both the temple’s inner and outer walls. You’ll come across pictures of a Holi parade, a Mahavanami festival, elephants marching, horses galloping, singers and dancers, and a mass of people frolicking. A detailed narrative of Ramayana, the great Hindu epic, lies on the inner wall. Apart from carvings dating back to the Hoysala era of Rama, Lakshmana, Sita, Durga, and Shiva-Parvati, the structure contains a mandapam, a yagna hall with exceptional ventilation for its time. A treasure-trove of frescoes, inscriptions, and carvings connected to the Hindu religion is the abandoned temple complex.

Pattabhirama Temple Complex: This was the center of all cultural and economic development, built in the early 16th century, and devoted to Lord Rama. A mosque, a courtyard with columns, a roofed mandapam, and a gopuram entrance are part of the complex with an east-facing sanctum. The temple’s most intriguing characteristic is its 100-pillared hall, possibly used as a place for meals, rich in reliefs depicting Hindu gods and goddesses.

Queen’s Bath: This is a square water pavilion enclosed with a vaulted and pillared bay. The Indo-Islamic influences in the structure’s inner arches are a nod to an era when Hindu and Muslim schools of architecture thrived together. Close by, you can see the ruins of an aqueduct that was used to carry water from Hampi to drains, tanks, and other parts of the city. The Vijayanagara Empire can be credited with building some of the most extensive water infrastructures in the South.

Hampi Timings

In general, the location of the ruins is open for observation from sunrise to sunset on all days of the week, so here are the particulars.

Virupaksha TempleSunrise to Sunset
Vittala Temple6 AM and 6 PM
Heritage Museum at the Hampi Bazaar10 AM and 1 PM – 3 AM to 6 PM
Archaeology Museum at Kamalapura10 AM and 5 PM
Zenana Enclosure, Elephant Stables, and Lotus Mahal6 AM and 6 PM
Queen’s Bath6 AM and 6 PM

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