Shri Virupakasha Temple

Getting To Know The Temple

Hampi, which is now in its ruins, is the location of one of the sacred sanctuaries of Lord Shiva, the Virupakasha Temple. It is in the state of Karnataka, 350 km from the city of Bangalore. The temple had its uninterrupted history since the 7th century when it was build. The temple existed even before the time of the of Vijayanagara empire. History holds no such records about who build it as the temple used to be a humble shrine. But it gained its significance during the reign of the Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagara Empire in the 14th century. Many additions to the structure of the complex were believed to be constructed in the Chalukyan and Hoysala eras. It is listed as one amongst the many heritage site of the world by UNESCO.

Cultural And Religious Significance Of The Temple:

Since, the Virupaksha Temple Hampi, is the sacred abode of Lord Shiva in the form Virupaksha or Pampapati, so it is primarily the most sought out pilgrimage site in the place for centuries. And, Hampi was considered as an important religious place from the ancient times.

Presiding Deity Of The Temple

The presiding deity of the place is Lord Shiva in the form of Virupaksha, who is the consort of the local goddess Pampa. Pampa is associated with the river Tungabhadra and is considered as the daughter of Brahma.

About The Idol

The Virupaksha Temple image must have increased your curiosity of the idol that is worshipped in the temple. Here Lord Shiva in the form of Virupaksha, the associate of goddess Pampa is worshipped. But there is no idol but instead the temple worships the phallic symbol, Linga, which is placed inside the temple. The linga is positioned at the center of a female sexual organ. And thus it represents the creative sexuality of male and female. On a philosophical outlook, the linga represents the guiding code of the universe as a whole.

The Temples Within The Complex

The most of Hampi is in a dilapidated condition owing to the destruction caused by the Deccan sultans in 16th century. The original temple was a collection of few humble shrines which is the abode of many gods and goddesses. Though most the temple complex is in the ruins but is worshipped as it is still today. There is also a shrine of Vidyranya, who was the spiritual founder of the temple is also there within the temple complex. The inner prakaram consists of many shrines that are as old as 12th century. The several manifestations of Lord Shiva and the ten incarnations of Vishnu are portrayed in the mandapam, which was built by Krishnadevaraya. There are also other few mandapams in the temple complex, which is in its ruins. There is also bull positioned at the sanctum of the temple. The bull is considered as Nandi, who guards the linga.

Nature Of Worship In The Temple

The worship of Lord Shiva takes place in the morning between 4:30 to 6 and various offerings are given to the deity and devotees gather at this time to pay a visit and to see the aarti that follows after the offerings. The temple remains open after this for tourists and devotees to visit. The temple remains open till 8 in the evening.

Special Festivals Related To The Temple :

There are two different festivals that are celebrated in the temple. One is in the month of December which calls for the divine marriage ceremony of Lord Virupaksha and goddess Pampa.

Another one takes place in the month of February, which is known as the chariot festival.

Pilgrimage Site

Hampi was the place of many temples and is considered as one of the sacred sanctuaries of Hindu gods and goddesses, Lord Shiva chief amongst them. Thus, many devotees and tourists pay their visit to the temple, which stands strong among the ruins.

 

Reaching The Temple

Hampi is primarily one of the important tourist spots of India and attracts tourists and devotees from all over the country. This makes Hampi easily accessible via all modes of transportation. And if you want to go for Virupaksha Temple darshan then you can go for any mode of transportation.

 

  • By Air: Hampi is a ruined village and has no airport facility nearby. The nearest airport to the place is Bellary, which is located 60 km from Hampi. Visitors who are opting for this route can come to Bellary and proceed to Hampi using any local transport.
  • By Railway: The city of Hospet has the nearest railway facility to Hampi which is called Hospet Junction Railway Station. The railway station is 13kms away from Hampi. If you are coming via rail, then the easiest way to reach Hampi is to take a bus. But you can also avail of other modes of local transportation.
  • By Road: Hampi is well connected by roads to all major cities and towns. You will find several KRSTC buses that travel from Hampi to other parts of the city in Karnataka. You can either hire a cab or car or can avail a bus from any major cities of Bangalore and Mysore to reach Hampi.

 

Other Major Attractions Of The Place

Hampi’s architectural ruins attract tourists from all over India. The charm of the place is lies giant temple and among the dilapidated monuments that is of ancient origins. While, you are in Hampi there are also various other sites that you can explore apart from Virupaksha Temple timing and holds equal importance in the grandeur history of the country. Apart from the Virupaksha temple there are also:

  • Chandramouliswara Temple and Badavilinga Temple: Devoted to lord Shiva. Devotees of Lord Shiva also pay a visit to these two temples.
  • Monkey Temple in Hampi: Situated in Anjeyanadri Hill.
  • Pattabhirama Temple: The major temple of the place is full of delicate Hazara Rama designs which show the architectural influence of the place. This temple dedicated to Hindu god Ram and is also famous for its intricate designs.
  • Prasanna Virupaksha: An underground temple, which is dedicated to an incarnation of Lord Shiva. .
  • Saraswati Temple: It lies in the ruins of the Empire of Vijayanagara.
  • Kadalekalu Ganesha: It is a unique monument made of stone.
  • Tungabhadra River: Hampi situated in the banks of this river.
  • Hazara Rama Temple: The temple significant as it constitutes the private temples of the kings of the Empire of Vijayanagara. The reigning deity of the shrine is Lord Ram. The panels and the bas relics of the temple depict the story of Ramayana.
  • Royal Enclosure: When you are done with visiting the temples, you can pay a visit to the Royal Enclosure, which is a fortified area spreading across miles of land. The place was the seat of power of the Empire of Vijayanagara and attracts the tourists even in its dilapidated condition. It has some of the imposing structures like King’s Audience Hall and Dassera platform.
  • Achyuta Raya Temple: The temple stands as an example of the style of Vijayanagara architectural designs.

There are also other temples that are dedicated to Ganesha, Rama, Krishna and Vishnu that are located in Hampi.

 

History Of The Grand Temple

Records of the Virupaksha Temple history, says that it is one of the oldest functioning temples of India. Hampi is synonymous with the empire of Vijayanagara, but the temple existed before the Empire and dated back to before 7th century. Originally it was a small shrine but the rulers of Vijayanagara took the responsibility and made the small shrine into a big temple and also its complex.

But the rulers of the empire lost the place to the Muslim invaders during the 16th century; eventually most of its beautiful and intricate designs are ruined and was never constructed after that. Hampi lost its glory, but the grand Virupaksha temple retains its historical by standing tall among the ruins. The beginning of the 19th century marked the major renovations that took place in the temple. Renovations consisted of ceiling paintings, and the missing chunks were replaced by an artwork. There also additions made in the north and east gopura. The temple has remained buried for four hundred years before it was discovered in the 1980’s.

The location of the temple and its closeness to the Nobleman’s quarter refers to the fact that the temple was used in many private ceremonies related to the royal empire.