Virupaksha temple or alternately known as the Prasanna Virupaksha temple is
situated in the ancient city of Hampi on the banks of river Tungabhadra. This
ancient temple was built in the 7th century. The sheer beauty and marvelous
architecture of the temple are the reason why this temple has made into the
list of UNESCO World Heritage Site. This temple is dedicated to one of the
avatars of Lord Shiva known as Lord Virupaksha. Even though it is now located
in the quaint city of hampi, it used to be one of the small shirins of ancient
Vijayanagara Empire. You can still see the stone engraving and inscription on
its wall dating back to the 7th century. It describes the admiration and
skillfulness of those people of bygone era. If you get fascinated by the rich
history and culture, this is a must visit place for you.
you entered into the temple complex, you can see tall towers(known as Gopurams)
which are raised as the gateway for the inner sanctums. It is one of the
important features of most of the south Indian temples. Once you stepped inside
Gopurams, they will lead you to many inner hall and corridors. You can’t stop
without admiring the stone work on them. You can see many mythological stories
from the Hindu epics featuring many God and Goddesses. Apart from the main
God, Lord Virupaksha, you can also pay your tribute to other
deities present here. If you are here at the festival time, then you may get
overwhelmed by a large gathering, otherwise, it is not much crowded.
More on Virupaksha Temple,
architectural design according which this temple was built is influenced by the
South Indian style. This temple has three Gopurams; one lies in the eastern
side and is the largest among all whereas the other two are situated in the
inner temple complex in the eastern and northern side. The eastern side Gopuram
is of 50 m tall and has nine storeys. The outer face of the Gopuram is adorned
with many Hindu God and Goddesses. Once you entered into the eastern gateway
through the Gopuram, you will get into the outer courtyard which has many
sanctums for various Hindu deities. If you see the Bhuvaneshwari shrine
situated in the temple complex, you can get an idea of the architecture of
gopurams can be visible from the outer courtyard. You can reach the inner
courtyards and other small shrines through them. The 100-pillared hall has a
sanctum of a three headed nandi, the
attendant of Lord Shiva. And the inner sanctum of this very hall will lead you
to the shrine of Lord Virupaksha. You can find a Shiva linga in the main shrine
and the walls and pillars are decoreded so well to grab your attention. You can
also see the shrines of various other deities like Nava Grahas, Bhuvaneshwari,
Goddess Pampa, Pataleshwara and many
popular king of Vijayanagar empire, king Krishnadevaraya, contributed a lot for
the development of this temple. During his time, some major constructions were
done such as the construction of the central pillar hall(known as the Maharanga
Mandapam) was done to celebrate his coronation in between 1509-10 A.D. It is
one of the most beautiful and attractive parts of the temple. You can see some
inscriptions near the hall that tell about the contribution of king
Krishnadevaraya to this temple. You can see a ruin site just outside of the
temple which used to be a market site in those days.
History and Origin of
temple is dedicated to Lord Virupaksha who was the husband of Goddess Parvati
whom people rever as Pampa in that region. The former name of Hampi was
Pampakshetra which refers to the river Tungabhadra(also known as Pampa).
used to be the capital city of great Vijayanagar Empire, however, it is said
that the Virupaksha temple was built even before Hampi became the capital of
the Vijayanagara Empire. During the reign of Chalukya and Hoysala empires,
which was in the 9th century, a rather simple structure was constructed, but
the artistic work was done during the period of Vijayanagar Empire.
to the information given by the Archaeological Survey of India, this temple was
built by the wife of the king Vikramaditya II, Lokamahadevi as a remembrance of
king’s victory over the Pallavas of Kanchi. In many inscriptions, you can find
written ‘Lokeshwar Mahasila Prasada’ which was to praise the generous act of queen. It used to be small temple, but it
grew bigger with multiple pillars and gopurams under the reign of King Deva
Raya II. It is sad to say that this beautiful city of Hampi was invaded and
destroyed by the rulers of North India, however this temple is widely
Virupaksha – One of the
interesting fact about the Virupaksha temple is that it belongs to the
Pattadakal monuments. It is a collection of Hindu and Jain temple located in
state of Karnataka. All the temples that are considered as a part of Pattadakal
monuments come under the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The architecture they
show is the blender of northern and southern Indian styles. Out of other
temples considered as Pattadakal temples, the Virupaksha temple have the most
amazing stone work with the original deity not taken or touched by any invaders
in the past.
Celebrations at Virupaksha Temple
celebration is held twice every year during the period of March or April at the
Virupaksha temple. A wooden chariot is decorated with lights and flowers and Lord
Virupaksha is place in that chariot. A grand procession is done around the city
by carrying the chariot on the chariot street of Hampi. This is a remarkable
day when the Lord Virupaksha gets married with Devi Pampa or Goddess parvati.
in the month of December, this auspicious festival is celebrated to commemorate
the marriage ceremony of Lord Virupaksha
and Devi Pampa. This festival is called Pehla Puja festival. Lots of devotees
flock to see this festival. A large gathering can also be seen in the day of
Shivaratri, an auspicious day for all the devotees of Lord Shiva. It falls in
the month of February or March.
Tips For Visiting
1. You need to put your footwear outside. If it’s not
comfortable for you to walk in bare foot, you can wear your socks only.
2. Photography is not allowed in the main sanctum.
How to Reach Virupaksha
is located at a distance of 350 km from the city of bangalore. If you take the
train from Bangalore, it will take you about 6 to 7 hours to reach
Bellary. From Bellary, you can take any
private or public transport to reach Hampi. It will take you about 1 hours 45
minutes to reach the temple.
You can also take a train to the Hospet Junction which is 3o
minutes away from the Virupaksha temple.