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.
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.