Virupaksha TempleLocated on the banks of the Tungabhadra river in Karnataka, Hampi stands proudly for its rich historical significance. Around 1500 AD, the city had sheltered as the capital of the great Vijayanagara empire. Popular as the city of ruins, Hampi, listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, is enveloped by the abysses of the green rolling hills. Besides, the city is dotted with numerous ancient remains, colourful street markets, majestic temples, and forts, making it every traveller’s perfect getaway. This city of ruins lies 350 km away from Bangalore, the state’s capital. The Hampi Virupaksha Temple is among the many places to visit in Karnataka’s historically rich ancient city. Attributed to Lord Shiva, this temple was constructed by Lakkan Dandesha, the chieftain of Prada Deva Raya of the Vijayanagara Empire.
History of Virupaksha Temple:
The Virupaksha Temple is believed to have been ceremonially constructed in the 7th century, as denoted on the wall inscriptions. Its rich history can be seen in the various contributions made by various dynasties in its construction and renovation. From Chalukyan to Hoysala, the Vijayanagara rulers played a significant role in building this majestic shrine.
However, the temple rose to prominence during the reign of the Vijayanagara Kingdom. These are displayed in the form of massive temple complexes and the beautiful artwork on temple walls engraved with sculptures and historical occurrences. During Sri Krishnadevaraya’s reign, the road connecting to the temple was renovated by repairing it with beautiful murals. But soon after, the Muslim invaders brutally destroyed the temple; nevertheless, it didn’t fail to attract foreign visitors.
The temple was renovated in the early nineteenth century by reinstalling the damaged sections and colouring the ceilings and walls. Also, the north and east gopurams were erected to revive the beauty of the Virupaksha temple.
The architecture of Virupaksha Temple:
What makes the Virupaksha temple so captivating and architecturally rich is its structural Gopuram, which can be spotted from any high altitude in Hampi. A gopuram is an elevated sizable tower that forms a fundamental component of South Indian architectural style. Famous as the Raya Gopuram, this majestic Gopuram reaches upto a height equivalent to nine storeys.
The beautiful sculptures and paintings that adorn the entire Gopuram, temple walls, and doorways give an account of the past events. All of these works of art are dedicated to Lord Shiva. And one such painting depicts a hunter giving away his eyes to Lord Shiva. Indeed, one can feel wading through a rich historical story as they enter the Virupaksha Temple.
Moreover, the carvings on the wall are so defined and well-sculpted that one can effortlessly perceive what it is trying to portray.
The sanctum, embellished with stunning artworks and amazing sculptures, is the temple’s most striking feature. However, to one’s dismay, photography is explicitly banned here.
And as you explore the temple’s depths, you will witness the splendid renowned marriage mandapam. The carvings on the pillars are depicted so majestically and intricately that you would remain completely awe-struck. It is a treat to watch for everyone as the pillar bears the imprints of numerous events from various epics and narratives. They look so royal and realistic as if you are watching some epic movie in that historical monument.
Among the other architectural displays in the Virupaksha Temple are the vast columns carved and painted with various Hindu gods and goddesses. And, if you are planning a trip here, don’t miss out on the spectacular painting depicting Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati’s marital union. Another masterpiece to be admired here is the sculpture glorifying the creator of the Universe- Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.
Last but not least, the rock edict completes your visit to this temple, on which you will find the list of renovations done by the Vijayanagara empire.
Hampi Virupaksha Temple Timing:
Though the temple’s gate is accessible throughout the week, you must visit only during the specified timings. For a comfortable pooja experience, stick to the times listed below.
|Sunday||6:00 AM to 1:00 PM||5:00 PM to 9:00 PM|
|Monday||6:00 AM to 1:00 PM||5:00 PM to 9:00 PM|
|Tuesday||6:00 AM to 1:00 PM||5:00 PM to 9:00 PM|
|Wednesday||6:00 AM to 1:00 PM||5:00 PM to 9:00 PM|
|Thursday||6:00 AM to 1:00 PM||5:00 PM to 9:00 PM|
|Friday||6:00 AM to 1:00 PM||5:00 PM to 9:00 PM|
|Saturday||6:00 AM to 1:00 PM||5:00 PM to 9:00 PM|
How to reach the Virupaksha Temple?
One can locate the Virupaksha temple through the address- 8FP5+3F2, River Rd, Hampi, Karnataka 583239.
Travelling to the Hampi Virupaskha Temple is made simple by the availability of all three modes of transportation: air, train, and highway. Subsequently, the Bellary and the Kempegowda International Airport lie near the destination. From the airport, you need to book a taxi or a bus through NH67 for a road trip. And, if you opt for the train journey, the nearest station is Hospet. Following that, one can hire a cab up to Hampi.
Virupaksha Temple Facts:
- The Virupaksha Temple gopura is one of the tallest in southern India, standing approximately 165 feet tall, 120 feet deep, and 150 feet wide.
- Apart from this, there are two other gopuras in the temple complex. The first is the Northern Gopura, which has five divisions, and the second is on the eastern edge with three layers.
- The Bhuvaneswari and Goddess Pampa are the most significant and gorgeous sub-monuments you can find here.
- Ahead of the sanctum is a beautiful mandapa hall constructed in the Vijayanagar theme, incorporating beautiful motifs and Bas Relief frames.
- The most intriguing and interesting aspect of the Virupaksha Temple is the elephant at the entrance, which greets the visitors with a garland.
The temple does not charge any entry fee, but if you want to donate, you can do so. However, an amount of ₹ 50/- will be charged for photography.
Festivals in Virupaksha Temple:
The temple witnesses large gatherings in March/April when pilgrims come to observe the Virupaksha Car Festival. And this happens to be Hampi’s most prominent religious festival, drawing a massive gathering annually. The festival commemorates Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati’s marriage, with their wooden statues taken in a chariot through the streets of Hampi.
Other popular festivals include Diwali and Sivarathri.
Importance of the Virupaksha Temple:
Built-in the name of Lord Shiva, this temple reflects the artworks of the Vijayanagara rulers. Besides being an important religious site, it is also known for its annual chariot carnival.
The information in this blog is only a small fraction of what is there to see and experience at this amazing historical site. And a majestic monument like this can’t be presented in mere words. Indeed, the Virupaksha Temple is every backpackers’ ultimate destination in Hampi.
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