Virupaksha Temple, Hospet

Hospet, a small metropolis of Karnataka, is India’s prime tourist spot. The city is the gateway to Hampi and its magnificent ruins. Home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city attracts both domestic as well as international tourists. The massive Virupaksha Temple, Hospet is one of the prime examples of medieval India’s engineering and architectural feat. Built-in the mid-15th century, the temple is one of the focal points of travelers coming to Hampi. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the surviving shrines of Hampi belonging to the Vijayanagara where religious services are still organized.  
This write-up is dedicated to uncover the stunning features of this magnificent temple and help tourists in getting a better idea of the place.

Let’s check it out.

Keynote on Virupaksha Temple, Hospet

Address: Rambo, Hampi, Karnataka 583239

Type of monument: Temple

Primary Deity: ‎ Shiva (Virupaksha)

Architectural style: Dravidian architecture

Opening time: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm

Entry Fee: INR500

Visit Duration: 2 hours

Best time to visit: November and February is suitable for the trip 

How to reach: Buses and cabs are available

Overview of the Virupaksha Temple, Hospet

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this shrine was constructed by Lakkan Dandesha – a minister of the Vijayanagara Empire. Shiva here resides with the name of Virupaksha, who is considered as the consort of the Pampadevi (a local goddess). The prime attractions of Hampi Bazaar, the present temple complex were constructed back in the 1442 AD. However, there are several mentions of a smaller shrine dedicated to Virupaksha and his consort.

A prime example of Dravidian style architecture showcases the meticulous planning and engineering, the Virupaksha Temple is a massive structure. The temple has a pet elephant named Lakshmi, who blesses the devotees with its trunk.  

History of Virupaksha Temple

It is believed that initially the shrine was a small structure, and was the retreat of the heavenly couple (Virupaksha-Pampa). According to several historical records, the temple was once visited by devotees back in the 7th century. During the mid of the 15th century, on the existing temple complex, a new shrine was built by Lakkana Dandesha, a minister under the leadership of the Deva Raya II of Vijayanagara Dynasty.

After the assault of the foreigner invaders in the 16th century, several of the decorative structures of the region were destroyed. However, somehow the Virupaksha Temple was saved from destruction. In the later period, the temple was renovated and additional features were added to its already existing architecture.

The Architecture of Virupaksha Temple

The Virupaksha Temple in Hospet is built in a huge complex, with a 50m high gateway (gopuram), three heavily decorated antechambers and a massive pillared hall. Eastern gate of the temple (the main gopuram), with its nine tiered structure, showcases the architectural advancements of the people during those times.

A brick superstructure opens up to the outer court containing several smaller shrines dedicated to different Hindu gods. The Kanakagiri Gopuram, on the northern side of the temple, is a smaller structure that opens up to the River Tungabhadra. A small channel of the river flows along the temple.

According to many, the temple is a work of mathematical precisions and symmetry, where one can find the decorative patterns repeating itself after sequence. The engineers were aware of the Fractals, and one could find examples of these concepts in the temple architecture, especially the main gopuram.

The records point out that Emperor Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara Empire was the temple’s patron. Under his reign, the temple went through some renovations and expansions. Many believe that Krishnadevaraya commissioned the central hall of the shrine and its ornate details.

Overall, the Virupaksha Temple, Hospet is an interesting example of India’s architectural advancements.   

Festivals Celebrated at the Virupaksha Temple

During December, the wedding of Virupaksha and Pampadevi is celebrated with a huge fanfare. The temple is elaborately decorated and the symbolic wedding of the deities is conducted within a temple premise. February marks the annual chariot festival, another crowd-pulling event hosted in the temple premise.

During the chariot festival, a huge wooden chariot carrying the idols of Virupaksha and Pampadevi is taken out of the temple. A colorful procession follows the chariot and is attended by a huge number of devotees.       

How to Reach the Temple?

By Air

Bellary is the nearest international airport from Hampi. Tourists can hire an app-based cab from the airport to reach Hampi.

By Rail

Just 13 km away from Hampi, Hospet is the nearest railway station. One can book a cab from Hospet to reach this historical city.

By Road

Several private and public bus operators from Hospet, Bellary, and Bangalore run regular bus services to Hampi. Private cab operators are also available.

Exploring the stunning Virupaksha Temple, Hospet is a marvelous experience. The massive engineering complex, with its stunning architecture, is an awe-inspiring feat.

See More Popular Temples in Hospet:

Hazara Rama Temple Complex

Vittala Temple