Virupaksha is an incarnation of Lord Shiva as a consort of Goddess Pampa, also called as Pampapathi. A grand Virupaksha temple of the god is situated in the ruins of Hampi – an ancient capital of Vijayanagara Empire, dates back to 7th century. (Lord Virupaksha Image – Thanks to vijayanagara.org).
Though Virupaksha temple is part of Group of Monuments at Hampi which is a Word Heritage Site by UNESCO, this temple is fully intact and one of the main pilgrimage center at Hampi (Hospet). Shrines of Mata Bhvaneshwari and Vidyaranya are also part of the temple. Vidyaranya was the spiritual founder of Vijayanagar.
This temple has three gopurams (towers). The main gopuram at the east is of 160 feet in height and is nine storeys. Inner Eastern one is three tiered whereas the Northern gopuram is five storeys. Amazing thing is that the Eastern gopuram has been built such that an inverted shadow of this huge tower falls on the western wall of the temple through a small hole behind the sanctum.
Krishnadevaraya – one of the famous king of Vijayanagara Empire built a Sabha Mandap which is embroidered with Vijayanagar style reliefs and murals. Various carvings of Shiva’s appearance, ten incarnations of Vishnu (Vishnu Avatars), scenes from Mahabharata attract one’s attention.
In the surrounding area of the Virupaksha temple, there are several falling down Mandapams. Ruins of ancient shopping center in front of the temple is standing on their last foots today. We can see a market of a today’s kind around the temple.
Elephant of god’s temple welcomes all the devotees in this beautiful abode of Shiva.
Annual chariot festival is celebrated here in the month of February.[divider]