Virupaksha Temple is one of the famous Lord Shiva temples and has a rich history located in Hampi, in the Ballari district of Karnataka. The temple is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Most people feel that the temple was built by Shri Krishnadevaraya. But the temple was built by Lakkan Dandesha, who was the chief of Deva Raya II of the Vijayanagara Empire.
Lord Shiva had the form of Virupaksha so that the temple became famous as Virupaksha temple. It is on the banks of the Tungabhadra River and many temples can be seen around the Virupaksha Temple. Many devotees visit this site and worship the main deity. We can see here the Pampadevi temple, the local goddess associated with the Tungabhadra River. The Maa Devi Virupaksini Amma Temple is also located in Nalgamapalle, Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh.
The temple has a long history, with some inscriptions on the temple walls indicating that the temple was formally built for the first time in the 7th century. Since then, the restoration and expansion of the temple continued until the reign of the Vijayanagara kings. Kings Chalukya and Hoysala also contributed to turning the small temple into a larger temple. In particular, under the rule of the Vijayanagara Empire, the temple increased its glory over a wide range. We can see evidence of how the temple was born as a large complex. In particular, Lakkana Dandesha, the chief of the Vijayanagar kings, built huge temple buildings and made a very sacred place for Hindu devotees.
During the reign of the Vijayanagara kings, the temple was decorated with beautiful works of art. The walls of the temples are carved with murals, sculptures, and cultural programs. Under the rule of Sri Krishnadevaraya, the path leading to the temple was beautified by restoring beautiful statues. Many foreign travelers visited the site during the 15th and 16th centuries and announced the greatness and incredible view of the temple and the city of Hampi. Even after Sri Krishnadevaraya, the Muslim invaders completely destroyed the beautiful structures and magnificent statues of the city of Hampi and the Virupaksha temple. Although the glory of the Virupaksha temple did not diminish, devotees continued the pilgrimage to the temple. The main renovation works of the temple at the beginning of the 19th century. Destroyed parts were restored, temple roofs were painted, north and east gopurams were built to restore the glory of the Virupaksha temple.
The architecture of the temple is very beautiful and magnificent. There is a monastery, three chambers, and it is packed around the temple with small shrines. Entrance doors adjoining the walkways with well-carved art sculptures. The gateways was built with nine levels and 50 meters in length. The Gopuram basement was designed with a structure made of granite stones and bricks. The surprising thing here is that there are five stories in all the gopurams and only three in the eastern gopurams. Most of the maha mantri Timmarusu undertook the temple renovation work. However, the Vijayanagara Empire was the pride of the rich Indian culture and tradition and will live forever.
How To Reach Virupaksha Temple
Virupaksha Temple, Hampi, is located 350 kms from Bangalore and is easily accessible via road. The nearest airport to Virupaksha Temple is at Bellary and the nearest International airport is at Bangalore. One can either hire a cab or taxi or volvo buses via NH67 for road drive of about 2 hours (approx). The nearest railway station to Hampi is at Hospet. One can hire a cab or taxi to reach the place.