Virupaksha Temple Hampi Timings, History, Photos, Architecture

by Surojit Palmal
Virupaksha Temple Hampi

Located in Karnataka, Hampi is one of the oldest towns that you can visit in India. However even though most of the town is right now in ruins, that did not lessen the importance of this location as a historical site. You can find mention of Hampi in epics like Ramayana as well as in Puranas. Located in the Bellary district which is the Vijayanagara district, Hampi is also one of the major tourist sites. Majorly popular as the Group of Monuments, Hampi is also a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Furthermore it is also a popular religious site as well because of the presence of the Virupaksha Temple Hampi. The Virupaksha Temple is one of the functional and still existing structures in Hampi amongst the ruins. And it is also one of the major sites of pilgrimage in Karnataka as well where people from all over the country visit.

The Virupaksha Temple is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is a small town but indeed a popular one. The ruins of Hampi spread over an area of 4100 hectares. And UNESCO has described Hampi as an austere, grandiose site. So whenever you are in Karnataka you must try to make a visit to Hampi. And especially the Virupaksha Temple should be a must visit location in your list. Keep on reading this article as here I will mention everything that you might need to know about the Virupaksha Temple. This will be a helpful read for you if you are travelling to Hampi anytime soon.

Virupaksha Temple Hampi

Location: Vijaynagar district, Hampi, Karnataka

Timings: The Virupaksha Temple Hampi timings are from 6 am to 1 pm and 5 pm to 9 pm

Entry fee: There is no entry fee

How to reach

By air

If you are travelling by air then the nearest major international airport to reach Virupaksha Temple Hampi is the Kempegowda International Airport in Bangalore. From the Bangalore airport the Virupaksha temple is located at a distance of 360 km and it would take you around 5 hours and 29 minutes to reach there. The Jindal Vijaynagar Airport is yet another nearest airport to reach this temple in Hampi. From the airport the temple is located at a distance of 37.5 km. And it would take you around 55 minutes to reach there. To reach the temple from the airports the most convenient options would be to take a cab or a car. However buses are also available from Bangalore which you can opt for as well.

By train

While travelling in a train the nearest railway station is Hospet Junction. From there the Virupaksha Temple Hampi is located at a distance of 13 km. It would take you around 25 minutes to reach the Virupaksha Temple. You can easily take a car or hire a cab to reach the temple from the railway station. Otherwise you can opt for local transport as well to reach there conveniently.

By road

You can travel from locations like Bangalore and Hyderabad to reach Hampi easily. Regular buses are available from these locations. So you can opt for buses to reach there. The Hampi bus stand is the nearest bus stand to reach the temple which is located only 400 meters away from the temple. Other than that you can also opt for a car or you can drive through your own vehicle as well to reach the Virupaksha Temple from any location.

Best time to visit

The ideal time to visit the Virupaksha Temple Hampi is during the winter months from November to March. This is the time when the temperature of the location is most comfortable. So if you are visiting here during this time of the year you would be able to enjoy the ambiance more. Also if the weather remains favourable you would find it more comfortable to explore the whole area. You can also visit here during the main festivals of this temple. During the main festivals the temple ambiance becomes glorious and reflects a lot of fun.

A large number of devotees visit the temple to witness the marriage ceremony of Lord Virupaksha and Goddess Pampa in the month of December. Another major festival that also attracts a huge number of devotees is the Chariot Festival here. So you can definitely plan your visit to this temple accordingly to enjoy the most of the temple and its rituals.

Overview of Virupaksha Temple

Overview of Virupaksha Temple
Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

Located in the western end of the Hampi Bazaar the Virupaksha Temple is one of the famous temples in Karnataka. Very much a part of the Group of Monuments in Hampi, this temple is also a part of the designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Virupaksha Temple Hampi is further the only intact structure and a fully functioning temple in Hampi. Dedicated to Lord Shiva here he is worshipped as Lord Virupaksha. According to beliefs Lord Virupaksha is an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Other than Lord Virupaksha the temple also houses shrines of Bhuvaneshwari and Vidyaranya. Also popular as the Pampapathi Temple, this temple is situated on the southern bank of Tungabhadra River. It is furthermore one of the most popular places to visit in Karnataka.


Virupaksha Temple Hampi History

The history of the Virupaksha Temple Hampi goes long back to the 7th century CE. Even before Vijayanagar was the capital, the Virupaksha Pampa sanctuary existed at this location. There are inscriptions that suggest the temple belongs to the 9th and 10 centuries. Previously it was a small humble shrine. But later during the opulent rule of the Vijayanagara dynasty the temple complex grew larger. There is further evidence as well that suggests that even the Hoysala and Chalukya rulers had made additions to this temple. A chieftain of Vijayanagara Empire Lakkana Dandesha, under the rule of King Deva Raya II built this huge temple complex.

Further you will also find some paintings here that date back to 15th and 16th centuries. Even after the religious destruction during 1565 nothing happened to the temple structure. Through the centuries the devotees have been worshipping Lord Virupaksha here. And this is the only surviving and intact temple that is still functioning amongst all the ruins in Hampi. During the beginning of the 19th century there were some renovations that took place here. Till date this temple is one of the oldest preserved temples and is a centre of pilgrimage in Hampi.


Architecture Virupaksha Temple Hampi

Architecture Virupaksha Temple Hampi
Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

The architecture of the Virupaksha Temple is truly astonishing. The main temple has a large temple tower or gopura which is 160 feet tall. On top of it there are 9 tiers that face the Hampi Bazar. Then there is another small gopura as well, a beautiful mandapa with carvings on it, and a portico. There are large corridors here as well that support the inner walls of the temple. The construction of the main tower goes back to 15th or 16th century. The main tower is the Eastern tower and it forms the entrance of the temple. The tower is an example of finest craftsmanship. Each of the floors of the towers has beautiful carvings with hundreds of Gods and Goddesses in it.

Later there had been renovations here which Krishnadevaraya had done during the 16th century. Krishnadevaraya had also built a Ranga Mandapa here. This Ranga Mandapa is located just in front of the main sanctum. You will be able to notice a specific Vijaynagar style of architecture here along with some murals, embellishments and reliefs.

You will also find manifestations of Lord Shiva here along with the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu. A beautiful depiction from Mahabharata is also present here. The depiction shows the scene where Arjuna shot a fish with his arrow in order to marry Draupadi. A mural of Saint Vidyaranya is also present here who was the spiritual founder of Vijaynagar.


What’s more?

The inner sanctum of the temple houses the main shrine of Lord Virupaksha in the form of a Shivalinga. Also there is the shrine of his consort Pampa who is believed to be the daughter of Lord Brahma. Within the complex you will also find another shrine of Bhuvaneshwari as well. Here you will be able to notice some Chalukyan influence of architecture. With beautiful carved ceilings, ornate pillars, relief works and doors the section looks majestic. Along with that there is a triple headed Nandi statue here as well.

Furthermore there is an outward court where you will find some smaller shrines. There is a stone base along with a brick structure here. You can find the Kanakagiri Gopuram towards the northern side and that leads to a small enclosure. Further this path leads to smaller shrines and leads its way to the Tungabhadra River.

One of the most interesting features of the Virupaksha Temple Hampi is its mathematical conception for the construction. There is a heavy usage of mathematical calculations here along with mathematical concepts in both construction and the decoration. The concept of fractals is also deeply visible here with the repeated patterns in construction. The temple structure is triangular in shape. Here you will also find some halls as well which are used for various purposes.

Hotels near Virupaksha Temple Hampi

If you are planning to stay over in Hampi then you will find some decent hotels here. Other than that the nearby Hospet town also houses some of the best hotels as well that you can check out.

1.       Hotel Hampi International

2.       Clark’s Inn

3.       Hotel Malligi Hampi

4.       Hampi Delmont Resort

5.       Hotel Mayura Bhuvaneshwari

Wrapping Up!

So that was all about the Virupaksha Temple Hampi and now you surely need to plan a trip there. Hampi in general is one of the most exciting locations to visit in India. With the ruins of various structures and monuments there is a whole world that you can explore there. The Virupaksha Temple is a very important temple in Karnataka. So whenever you are visiting there you cannot miss out on visiting the Virupaksha Temple for sure. The history attached to this ancient temple is one of the many reasons why you can’t miss out on visiting here. Furthermore the architecture of the temple is worth exploring as well. So when are you planning a trip to the Virupaksha Temple Hampi? And let me know if this article on the Virupaksha Temple is helpful for you in planning a trip to this location in Karnataka.

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