Virupaksha Temple in Hampi is one of the oldest and famous temples in Karnataka, situated at the historic city of Hampi, about 350 km from Bangalore, in Karnataka, India. Virupaksha Temple is one of the most famous Hindu spiritual places to visit in Karnataka. Virupaksha Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, worshipped here as Virupaksha (Virupaksheshwara), as the consort of Goddess Pampa. Hence the temple is also known as Pampapathi Temple. The presiding female deities are Pampa, who is believed to be the daughter of Lord Brahma, and Bhuvaneshwari. Virupaksha Temple is also referred as Vijayanagar Temple and Hampi Temple.
Hampi, the erstwhile capital of the Vijayanagara Empire, lies on the southern banks of the Tungabhadra River, to the north of the Hemakuta Hill. The ancient ruins of Vijayanagara Empire at Hampi city is listed by UNESCO World Heritage Site as “the Group of Monuments at Hampi”. Read about Hampi Festival in January here
Shrines Inside Virupaksha Temple
The idol of Lord Virupaksha is seen in the form of a Linga inside the sanctum. The sub shrines of Goddess Pampa and Goddess Bhuvaneswari, consorts of Lord Shiva, are found towards the north of the main shrine. The shrine for Goddess Bhuvaneshwari is noted for its beautifully worked door-frame, pillars and ceiling panels. The shrine of Pataleswara, a form of Lord Shiva, is seen in an underground chamber. There is also a separate shrine for Navagrahas and for Vidyaranya, the holy founder of Vijayanagar in this temple.
Many shrines and pillars dating back to the 12th century are found in the inner prakaram. The Suryanarayana shrine has a southern form of the deity and the Mukhi Narasimha shrine nearby is a fine specimen of Chalukyan sculpture. Adjacent to this is the Tarakesvara shrine with the figure of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvati seated on his lap. In the south-west corner is a Goddess Saraswathi shrine with a small black stone image of a two-armed seated goddess playing on a Veena (Veena, also spelled Vina, is a plucked stringed musical instrument widely used in Carnatic Indian classical music). A black stone figure of the six-armed Mahishamardini is in the western corridor.
Manmantha Tank is the holy pond of the temple. The narrow channel of river Tungabhadra flows along the terrace of the temple. It moves down to the temple kitchen and finally flows through the outer court.
Hampi Virupaksha Temple Festivals
Virupaksha Temple Car Festival (Virupaksha Temple Ratholsavam or Rath Yatra) is held annually during the months of March/April. This Chariot Festival is the largest religious festival celebrated in Hampi, Karnataka. The deities are placed in a huge wooden chariot and taken in procession along the main chariot street in Hampi. Virupaksha Temple Chariot Festival symbolizes the annual ritual marriage of the Virupaksha and Goddess Pampa.
Held during December, this festival marks the ceremonial betrothal and the marriage of Lord Virupaksha and Goddess Pampa.
Deepavali or Diwali and Maha Shivaratri are other important Hindu festivals celebrated at the temple with great religious importance.
How to reach Virupaksha Temple Hampi, Karnataka
Hampi by Air
Bellary Airport (75 km) and Belgaum Airport (263km) are the nearest domestic airports to reach Hampi Virupaksha Temple. Bangalore International Airport is 364 km from Hampi.
Hampi by Rail / Train
Hospet Junction Railway Station, served by South Western Railways, is the nearest railway station to reach Hampi Virupaksha Temple. Hospet Railway Station is just 13 km from Hampi city. Haripriya Express (Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Terminus Railway Station to Tirupati Railway Station), Hampi Express, Amaravati Express (Hubli to Vijayawada), and Hubli Passenger are the major trains running through pass through Hospet Junction Railway Station.
Hampi by Road / Bus
Hospet town (13 km) is the main entry point to the historic Hampi city in Karnataka. Hampi is 175 km from Badami, 199 km from Pattadakal, 161 km from Hubli, 124 km from Aihole, and 464 km from Hyderabad. National Highway 63 (NH 63) passes just close to Hampi city. Hampi Bus Station, located in the Hampi Bazaar area, operates express bus services from Hampi to several major cities nearby.
Tourist Places in Hampi, Karnataka
Hampi being a historic city features a wide range of tourist attractions including ancient temples, forts, historic monuments, and even hills and mountains. Hampi is believed to be the ancient Kishkinda - the monkey kingdom referred the Hindu epic ‘Ramayana’.
Temples in Hampi
Some of ancient temples worth visiting in Hampi include the temple of Malyavanta Raghunathaswamy, Vithala Temple Complex (Vittala Temple), Pattabhirama Temple, Kodanda Rama Temple, Achyutaraya Temple, Balakrishna Temple, Yantrodharaka Anjaneya Temple, Underground Shiva Temple near the Noblemen’s Quarters, Hemkut Jain Temple (Ganigitti Temple), and the Hazara Rama Temple.
Historic Monuments in Hampi
Some of the major historic monuments in Hampi include the King’s Palace, Elephant Stables, Durbar Hall, Ganesha Images (Sasuvekalu and Kadalekalu), Lakshminarasimha Statue, Mahanavami Dibba, Pushkarni water tank, Badavilinga, Chakrathirtha ghat, Queen’s Bath, House of Victory, Lotus Mahal, Bhima's Gateway, Talarigatta Gate, and the Zenana Enclosure.
Other places of tourist interest in Hampi include the Sugriva's Cave, Matanga Hill, Hemakuta Hill, and the Hampi Archeological Museum.
Short Excursion from Hampi - Tourist Places Around Hampi
Tourist visiting Hampi can take a short tour to the nearby tourist places such as the Tungabhadra Dam at Hospet, Chitradurga Fort (Kallina Kote), Pampapati Aalayam, Raghunath Temple, the ancient temple of Anantapadmanabha at Hospet, Ramaswamy Aalayam, Vijaya Vittalaswamy Aalayam, and the Local Antiquities Museum at Chitradurga.
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