The Virupaksha Temple in Hampi is dedicated to lord Shiva. The distance from Bangalore to Hampi is about 350 km. Hampi is a temple town in South India and is acknowledged as one of the World Heritage Sites of UNESCO. Virupaksha Temple is dedicated to lord Shiva. This temple was constructed in Lakkana Dandesha’s assistance who was a commander under King Deva Raya II.Virupaksha temple, Hampi in the Vijayanagara district of Karnataka is an evidence of Hampi’s historical and architectural glory. It belongs to the Group of Monuments at Hampi, declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Virupaksha temple, Hampi is dedicated to Lord Shiva, built by Lakkan Dandesha, a nayaka (chieftain) of the ruler, Paruda Deva Raya during the Vijayanagara rule. It is also otherwise known as the Pampapathi temple and is a surviving structure amidst the ruins of Hampi. It is the oldest temple in Hampi and is flocked by pilgrims and tourists. It is different from the Prasanna Virupaksha Temple or the underground Shiva temple in Hampi.
Virupaksha temple, Hampi History
Virupakshna temple, Hampi’s history is incessant from about the 7th century. Virupaksha-Pampa retreat has been existent for a very long time. Inscriptions associated with Lord Shiva date back to the 9th and 10th centuries. The Vijayanagara emperors added a large temple complex to what began as a humble structure. The Chalukyan and Hoysala emperors also have a hand in contributing to the temple. The paintings on the ceilings of the temple date back to the fourteenth and sixteenth century. Major renovation and restoration work, including the broken towers of the north and east gopura were undertaken at the break of the 19th century.
The Virupaksha temple, Hampi is the only one, which remains intact amidst the others ruined by the Bahmani sultanates and is still in worship. Even the destruction of the Hampi in 1565 did not deter the religious sect of Virupaksha-Pampa in their worship.
Virupaksha temple, Hampi Architecture
Virupaksha temple, Hampi, apart from the sanctum, boasts of three ante chambers, a pillared hall and an open pillared hall. Delicately carved pillars adorn the temple. A pillared cloister, entrance gateways, courtyards, smaller shrines and other numerous structures encompass the temple complex. The nine-tiered eastern gateway, which accommodates some earlier structures, is 50 meters and is proportionately constructed. It provides access to the outer court with numerous smaller shrines. It has a stone base with a brick structure. The Kanakagiri gopuram towards the north paves the way to a small enclosure with smaller shrines and leads one forward to the Tungabhadra river.
One of the most interesting features in the Virupaksha temple, Hampi is the usage of mathematical concepts in its construction and decoration. The repeated patterns in the construction depict the concept of fractals. The temple is triangular in shape. The noteworthy ruler of the Vijayanagara empire, Krishnadevaraya is the major contributor to the temple as per the inscriptions on a stone plaque installed next to the pillared hall. He was instrumental in building the central pillared hall and the gateway tower, which provides access to the inner courtyard of the temple. The halls in the temple were used for different purposes where the images of the gods were placed to view programs of music, dance, drama, etc. They were also put to use to conduct the marriages of the gods.
A large number of tourists throng the Virupaksha temple, Hampi to witness the betrothal and the marriage ceremonies of Lord Virupaksha and Goddess Pampa in the month of December and the annual Chariot festival in the month of December. The temple has stood the test of time and has proved to be the surviving glory of Hampi.