Virupaksha Temple, Hampi

Virupaksha Temple has been, for centuries, considered the most sacred of the temples at Hampi. This temple is situated on the southern bank of the Tungabhadra, immediately to the north of the Hemakuta hill. The temple complex lies within a long rectangular enclosure.

Virupaksha Temple, HampiHistory
The original temple with Virupaksha Siva Linga was perhaps first consecrated in the twelfth century A.D. with the establishment of the Vijayanagara kingdom additions were made twice once during the period of Krishnadevaraya in 1510 A.D .and the other during the period of Maharangamandapa in fifteenth century A.D. The most striking feature of this court is the central pillared hall known as the Ranga Mandapa added to the temple complex in 1510 AD by Krishadeva Raya.

Two mythical lion like creatures forms the balustrade for the entrance to this elevated open pavilion. As you enter the pavilion on your right is an inscribed plaque with Nandi image on top probably explains the royal patronage the temple enjoyed. This hall with 5 aisles and 38 pillars is used for temple rituals including the marriage ceremonies. The highlights include rows of pillars shaped with rampant lion like mythical creatures (Yalis) standing on aquatic creatures (Makara or Crocodiles). Warriors seem riding on these ferocious looking creatures. Although most of the temple buildings were constructed during the Vijayanagara rule, some few were also erected during the late Hoysala and Chalukya empires. Major renovations and additions were carried out in the 19th century and gopuras were established and ceilings painted during this time.

The mural panel on the central portion of the hall is one of the few remains of this form of Vijayanagara art. Most of it is based on godly themes except the one at the eastern end.Hampi
Here the founder sage of the empire, Vidaranaya, is portrayed moving in a procession. Further west, beyond a small inner hall, is the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Virupaksha. Two 4 armed guardian deities, about 8 feet tall, stand on either side of the entrance to the inner hall. The ceiling of this inner hall is decorated with an open lotus motif. The sanctum contains the idol of lord Virupaksha in the form of a Linga (A phallus image). A corridor surrounds the sanctum.
The two narrow porches on either sides of the inner hall can be used to get in and out of the main shrine. Surrounding this principal shrines are the shrines of Virupakshas consort and other deities.

The most important of the sub shrines are that of Goddess Pampa and Bhuvaneswari, consorts of lord Shiva, towards the north of the main shrine. These shrines are in fact much older than the rest of the grandiose structures in the compound. The short circular pillars and the doorways and the ceiling are richly carved. A bit east along the cloister, you can spot a flight of leading to an underground chamber. This contains the shrine of Pataleswara, a form of lord Shiva. Further east is the shrine of the planetary deities. Images of the nine planetary deities (Nava Grahas) are arranged on an elevated platform.

The Virupaksha Temple – Festivals
Devotees throng to this temple in December every year to attend the betrothal and marriage ceremonies of Pampa and Virupaksha. Another festival which is held in February is the annual chariot fete.

 

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