Virupaksha Temple, Hampi -A UNESCO World Heritage Site

November 13, 2022 by admin0
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Virupaksha Temple is located at Hampi, 350 km from Bangalore in the state of Karnataka in South India. Hampi, the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire, is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River. The temple is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Most people believe that this temple was built by the great Sri Krishnadevaraya. But the temple was built by Lakkan Dandesh, the chieftain of Deva Raya II of the Vijayanagara Empire.

Virupaksha Temple is the main center of pilgrimage in Hampi and has been considered the holiest sanctuary for centuries. It remains intact among the surrounding ruins and is still used in worship. Virupaksha Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is the consort of the local goddess Pampa, who is associated with the Tungabhadra River.

Virupaksha Temple

History of Virupaksha Temple

The temple 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.

Virupaksha Temple

 

Architecture of Virupaksha Temple

The Virupaksha temple 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 temple  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 temple.

Virupaksha Temple

The temple decorated with beautiful artifacts during the reign of the Vijayanagara kings. The walls of the temples engraved with murals, sculptures, and cultural programs. Under the rule of Sri Krishnadevaraya, the road leading to the temple was beautified by restoring beautiful sculptures. During the 15th and 16th centuries, many foreign travelers visited this place and declared the greatness and marvelous view of the temple and the city of Hampi. Even though after Sri Krishnadevaraya, the Muslim invaders completely destroyed the beautiful structures and magnificent sculptures of Hampi city and Virupaksha temple.

Excellent Architecture

However, the glory of Virupaksha Temple did not diminish, devotees continued their pilgrimage to the temple. Major restoration work of the temple done in the early 19th century. The destroyed parts restored, the roofs of the temple painted, and north and east gopurams  constructed to bring back the glory of the Virupaksha temple.

Beautiful Carvings

How to reach Virupaksha Temple

This is the main temple inside Hampi and any auto driver will easily take you to the temple. If you’re on the hippie side, use the boat to cross the river to reach just behind the temple. We crossed the river from the hippie side and reached the Virupaksha temple. There is no bridge and one has to take a detour of 45 km to cross the river by road. So, it is better to take a boat and cross the river in 5 minutes.

 

Government buses ply from the temple to the railway station with good frequency. We did not take these buses but saw them leaving the bus stand near the temple all the time.

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