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