Achyuta Raya Temple is one of the magnificent and major temples of Hampi. Built in 1534 AD, this temple stands as an exemplary example of Vijayanagara style of architecture. The temple is located between the Gandhamadana and Matanga hills. It is one of the last grand creations of the Vijayanagara dynasty before the fall of the great empire.
- Timing: From 5:30 AM – 1:00 PM and from 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM on all days of the week
- Entry Fee: No entry fee required
- Photography: Allowed
- Visit Duration: About 2 hours
- Best time to visit: From November to February
History of Achyuta Raya Temple, Hampi
The Achyuta Raya temple was built during the reign of Achyuta Deva Raya (1529-1542), one of the kings of the Vijayanagara Empire. He was the younger brother of Krishna Deva Raya, whom he succeeded in 1529. The temple was built by a high officer in the court of King Achyuta Deva Raya.
The beautiful temple is dedicated to Lord Tiruvengalanatha, a form of Lord Vishnu. Hence, the temple was originally named as Tiruvengalanatha Temple. However, gradually the temple came to be known after the king in whose period it was built. So, it became well known as the Achyuta Raya temple rather than the Tiruvengalanatha temple.
Unique Architecture of Achyuta Raya Temple, Hampi
The temple is clearly visible from the summit of the Matanga Hill. Unlike other temple complexes of the Vijayanagara Empire, the Achyuta Raya temple complex has two enclosures, each having an entrance gopura. The main temple is situated within the inner enclosure. The inner wall of the temple courtyard is lined with pillared mantapas.
The main temple consists of a garbhagriha, an antarala, sukanasi, a rangamantapa and an ornate mahamantapa. The mahamantapa of the temple is a spacious structure with a number of beautifully carved pillars.
The basement of the mahamantapa has beautiful carvings of elephants. Opposite to the main temple is a small shrine dedicated to Garuda, the divine bird and the vehicle of Lord Vishnu.
On the south-western side of the temple is a shrine for Devi. There is a water channel that flows along the compound of the temple. The temple has a small exit at the end of the compound, which leads the way to the top of the Matanga Hill.
The temple complex stands at the end of the deserted Courtesan Street that was once famous for being a dancing girls market. It was known as Sule Bazaar or Soolia Bazaar during the ancient times.
Present Condition of Achyuta Raya Temple, Hampi
Like most structures in Hampi, the Achyuta Raya temple is also in a ruined state. A major part of the temple and its surrounding structures are in a damaged condition. The pillars, towers and walls have fine carved ornamentation.
Though ruined, the temple reflects grandiosity and magnificence even today. The inner sanctum of the temple, that once housed the presiding deity, is home to a large number of bats now.
How to reach Achyuta Raya Temple
The Achyuta Raya temple is located in the area between the Gandhamadana and Matanga hills. There are two primary ways to reach the temple. One way is from the Kodanda Rama Temple or King’s Balance path which passes through the Courtesan Street and leads to the main tower of the Achyuta Raya Temple.
The other route to the temple is to climb the steps near the Nandi (Monolithic Bull) at the eastern end of the Hampi Bazaar. The second route is the easier one of the two.
Hampi, though a famous tourist destination, has no airport of its own. The nearest town that has an airport is Bellary (Ballari). Visitors can take a flight to Bellary and then avail local means of transport to reach Hampi. Bellary stands at a distance of about 64 km from Hampi.
Hampi is devoid of a railway station of its own. The nearest railway station is located at the nearby city of Hospet. The Hospet Junction Railway Station is situated at a distance of about 10 km from Hampi. It is easy to reach Hampi from Hospet by taking a bus as several buses travel frequently between the two places. Visitors can also avail other means of local transport to reach Hampi from Hospet.
Hampi is a town that has a good road network. The ancient town can be easily reached by buses that connect it to a number of major towns and cities in Karnataka. Visitors also have the option to hire private cars, cabs or other vehicles from major cities like Bengaluru (Bangalore) or Mysuru (Mysore) to reach Hampi.