Virupaksha Temple is one of the famous Lord Shiva temples and has a rich history in Hampi, Ballari District of Karnataka. The temple is recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Most people think, built the temple Sri Krishnadevaraya, the great, built the temple. But the temple was commissioned by Lakkan Dandesha, the chieftain of Deva Raya II of the Vijayanagara Empire.
Lord Shiva was in the form of Virupaksha, so the temple became famous as Virupaksha temple. It is on the banks of the river Tungabhadra, and many temples around the Virupaksha temple can be seen. Many devotees visit the site and worship the main deity. We can see the Pampadevi temple, the local goddess associated with the Tungabhadra River. The mother goddess, Virupakshini Amma temple, is also located in Nalagamapalle, Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh.
Virupaksha Temple History
The temple has a long history; few inscriptions on the temple’s walls indicate that the temple was first formally built in the 7th century. Since then, the renovations and expansion of the temple have continued up to the rule of Vijayanagara kings. The Chalukyan and Hoysala kings made the small shrine into a big temple. Significantly, under the direction of the Vijayanagara empire, the temple grew its glory in a wide range. We can see evidence of how the temple was made as a large complex. Primarily, Lakkana Dandesha, the chieftain under the rule of Vijayanagara kings, built huge temple buildings and made them a very sacred place to the Hindu devotees.
During the rule of Vijayanagara kings, the temple was decorated with beautiful artwork. The walls of the temples are carved with murals, sculptures and cultural events. Under the rule of Sri Krishnadevaraya, the road which leads to the temple was beautified by restoring beautiful sculptures. Many foreign travellers visited the place during the 15th and 16th centuries and proclaimed the greatness and wonderful sight of the temple and Hampi City. Even after Sri Krishnadevaraya, the Muslim invaders destroyed fierce entirely the beautiful structures and magnificent sculptures of Hampi city and the Virupaksha Temple. However, the glory of the Virupaksha temple didn’t sink; the devotees continued their pilgrimage to the temple. The major renovation works of the temple were done in the early 19th century. The destroyed parts were restored, the ceilings of the temple painted, and the north and east gopurams were constructed to bring back the glory of the Virupaksha temple.
Virupaksha Temple Architecture
The architecture of the temple is stunning and magnificent. There is a monastery, three antechambers and filled a surrounding temple with small shrines—the entrance ways surroundings by well-carved art sculptures. The gateways are constructed nine-tiered and 50 meters in length. The gopuram basement played with granite stones, and the framework was done with bricks. Here the surprising thing is all the gopurams have five stories, and only the eastern gopuram has only three levels. Mostly maha mantra Timmarusu keenly takes care of the temple renovation works. Whatever it may be, the Vijayanagara empire was the place for the glory of rich Indian culture and tradition and lived last forever.