Virupaksha Temple is one of the most ancient and revered temples in Hampi, Karnataka, India. It is dedicated to Lord Virupaksha, a form of Shiva, the supreme god of Hinduism. The temple is part of the Group of Monuments at Hampi, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple complex has a rich history, architecture, and significance that attracts pilgrims and tourists from all over the world. Visit during One Day Hampi Sightseeing Trip – Visit Famous UNESCO Site
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Overview of Virupaksha Temple
Virupaksha Temple is located on the banks of the Tungabhadra river in Hampi, which was once the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. The temple dates back to the 7th century CE and has been continuously worshipped since then. The temple was originally a small shrine that was expanded by various rulers of the Vijayanagara dynasty. Hampi – Best Travel Guide
The temple complex consists of several structures, such as the main sanctum, three ante chambers, a pillared hall, an open pillared hall, a pillared cloister, entrance gateways, courtyards, smaller shrines, and other structures. The temple has a nine-tiered eastern tower that is 50 meters high and a five-tiered northern tower that leads to the river. The temple also has a famous inverted shadow projection of its main tower on one of the inner walls.
The temple is adorned with intricate carvings, paintings, and sculptures that depict various aspects of Hindu mythology and culture. The temple also has a large number of inscriptions that record the history and donations of the temple. The temple is also known for its annual festivals, such as the chariot festival and the marriage festival of Virupaksha and his consort Pampa.
Timing of Virupaksha Temple
The temple is open for visitors from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM every day. The entry fee for Indians is Rs. 10 and for foreigners is Rs. 250. The temple also offers special poojas and sevas for devotees who wish to perform them. The timings and charges for these services vary depending on the type and duration of the service.
Rituals in Virupaksha Temple
The temple follows the Shaiva tradition of worship and performs various rituals throughout the day. The main rituals are:
- Suprabhata Seva: This is the first ritual of the day that starts at 6:00 AM. It involves waking up the deity with hymns and music.
- Shringara Seva: This is the second ritual of the day that starts at 9:00 AM. It involves adorning the deity with ornaments and flowers.
- Maha Mangala Aarti: This is the third ritual of the day that starts at 12:00 PM. It involves offering a grand aarti to the deity with lamps and incense.
- Pradosha Seva: This is the fourth ritual of the day that starts at 6:00 PM. It involves performing a special pooja to the deity during the twilight hour.
- Ekanta Seva: This is the last ritual of the day that starts at 9:00 PM. It involves putting the deity to sleep with lullabies and music.
Apart from these rituals, there are also other special rituals that are performed on auspicious days, such as Mondays, Pradosham days, Shivaratri days, etc.
Things to Do / Must See in Virupaksha Temple
There are many things to do and see in and around Virupaksha Temple that will make your visit memorable. Some of them are:
- Witnessing the inverted shadow projection of the main tower on one of the inner walls. This is a unique phenomenon that occurs due to a pinhole camera effect created by a small opening in the wall.
- Feeding the temple elephant Lakshmi, who blesses visitors with her trunk. Lakshmi is a friendly and gentle elephant who lives in the temple premises.
- Exploring the other monuments in Hampi, such as Vittala Temple, Lotus Mahal, Elephant Stables, Queen’s Bath, etc. These monuments showcase the glory and grandeur of the Vijayanagara Empire.
- Enjoying the scenic beauty of Hampi, which is surrounded by hills, boulders, rivers, and greenery. Hampi offers a serene and tranquil atmosphere that soothes your mind and soul.
- Shopping for souvenirs, handicrafts, jewelry, etc. in Hampi Bazaar, which is located near Virupaksha Temple. Hampi Bazaar is a bustling market that sells various items related to Hampi’s culture and history.
Significance of Virupaksha Temple
Virupaksha Temple is not only a historical and architectural marvel but also a spiritual and cultural hub. The temple has a great significance for Hindus as it is one of the oldest and holiest temples of Shiva. The temple is also associated with many legends and stories that reveal the divine power and grace of Virupaksha. Some of the significance of the temple are:
- Virupaksha Temple is believed to be the place where Shiva married Pampa, the daughter of Brahma, the creator god. Pampa was a devotee of Shiva who performed penance to win his heart. Shiva was pleased with her devotion and agreed to marry her. The marriage ceremony was attended by all the gods and goddesses. The temple celebrates this event every year in the month of December or January as the Pampa Sarovara Loka Pattana festival.
- Virupaksha Temple is also believed to be the place where Shiva blessed the sage Vidyaranya, who was the founder of the Vijayanagara Empire. Vidyaranya was a scholar and a saint who guided the brothers Harihara and Bukka to establish a new kingdom that would protect Hinduism from foreign invasions. Shiva appeared in front of Vidyaranya and gave him a boon that his kingdom would prosper and flourish. The temple commemorates this event every year in the month of March or April as the Vidyaranya Utsava festival.
- Virupaksha Temple is also believed to be the place where Shiva performed his cosmic dance, known as Tandava, which symbolizes the creation, preservation, and destruction of the universe. Shiva’s dance is accompanied by his consort Parvati, who performs her dance, known as Lasya, which symbolizes beauty, grace, and harmony. The temple depicts this event in various sculptures and paintings that adorn the temple walls and ceilings.
Q: How to reach Virupaksha Temple?
A: Virupaksha Temple is located in Hampi, which is about 350 km from Bangalore, the capital city of Karnataka. You can reach Hampi by road, rail, or air. By road, you can take a bus or a taxi from Bangalore or other nearby cities. By rail, you can take a train to Hospet, which is about 13 km from Hampi. By air, you can take a flight to Hubli or Belgaum, which are about 150 km and 200 km from Hampi respectively.
Q: What is the best time to visit Virupaksha Temple?
A: The best time to visit Virupaksha Temple is from October to March, when the weather is pleasant and comfortable. You can also visit during the festivals of Pampa Sarovara Loka Pattana and Vidyaranya Utsava, which are celebrated with great pomp and fervor.
Q: What are the other attractions near Virupaksha Temple?
A: There are many other attractions near Virupaksha Temple that you can explore, such as Hemakuta Hill, Matanga Hill, Achyutaraya Temple, Kodanda Rama Temple, Sasivekalu Ganesha Temple, Kadalekalu Ganesha Temple, Krishna Temple, Lakshmi Narasimha Temple, Badavi Linga Temple, etc.
Virupaksha Temple is a must-visit destination for anyone who wants to experience the rich heritage and culture of Hampi. The temple is a living testimony of Hampi’s glorious past and its enduring faith. The temple offers a mesmerizing sight of its majestic towers, exquisite carvings, splendid paintings, and sacred rituals. The temple also provides a peaceful and spiritual ambiance that fills your heart with devotion and joy. Virupaksha Temple is a place where you can witness the divine presence of Shiva and his blessings for humanity.