Virupaksha Mandir the main center of pilgrimage in Hampi and considered the holiest sanctuary for centuries. It remains intact among the surrounding ruins and still used in worship. Virupaksha Mandir dedicated to Lord Shiva and the consort of the local goddess Pampa, who associated with the Tungabhadra River.
History of Virupaksha Mandir
The Mandir has an uninterrupted history dating back to about the 7th century. The Virupaksha-Pampa sanctuary existed long before the capital of Vijayanagara was located here. The inscriptions mentioning Shiva date back to the 9th and 10th centuries. What started as a small temple developed into a large complex under the Vijayanagara rulers.
Evidence indicates that some additions made to the temple towards the end of the Chalukya and Hoysala periods, although most of the temple buildings attributed to the Vijayanagara period. The huge temple building built by Lakkana Dandesh, a chieftain under Deva Raya II, the ruler of the Vijayanagara Empire. When the rulers defeated by Muslim invaders in the 16th century, most of the wonderful ornamental structures and works destroyed. Major renovations and additions made to the structure in the early 19th century.
Architecture of Virupaksha Mandir
The Virupaksha Mandir consists of an open pillared hall and pillared hall, three east chambers, and a sanctum. The entrance to the east has nine levels and the largest of all the entrances is 50 meters high. The stone base has two levels and the superstructure made of bricks.
From the eastern entrance, one can enter the outer court consisting of several small temples. The Mandir constructed in such a way that the river Tungabhadra flows along its terrace, descends into the kitchen of the temple, and passes through the outer courtyard. The central pillared hall the most ornate structure and believed to added by the famous Vijayanagara emperor Krishnadevaraya. The hall built by the emperor in 1510 AD. The stone plaque inscriptions provide a detailed account of the emperor’s contribution to the Virupaksha Mandir .