The Virupakasha Temple is one of Hampi's fascinating attractions. It is believed to be operational successively ever since its foundation in the 7th century AD. The Virupaksha temple is the oldest and the principal temple in Hampi and easily one of the oldest functioning temple in India.
The Virupaksha or the Pampapathi temple is the main center of pilgrimage at Hampi. Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara Empire was the major patron of the temple. There have been many renovations an additions to the temple throughout the years.
The presiding deity of the temple is Virupaksheshwara or Pampapathi. His spouse Pampa, is believed to be the daughter of Lord Brahma, the divine creator of the universe. There is a decorative shrine to Bhuvaneswari. Vidyaranya, the spiritual founder of Vijayanagar has been granted a special memory. The inner sanctorum consists of shrines and pillars dating back to the 12th century.
The Virupakasha temple has three towers. The tallest is the eastern tower, a nine tiered structure rising to a height of 160 feet. It dates back to the first half of the fifteenth century and was refurbished in the sixteenth century by Krishnadevaraya. The northern gopuram has five storeys, and the inner eastern gopuram is created three storeys. A mandapam in front of the sanctum, is embellished in the Vijayanagar style bas-reliefs and murals. A number of Lord Shiva's personifications, and the ten incarnations of Vishnu are portrayed here. One noteworthy piece is the extract from Mahabharata depicting Arjuna's shooting the fish’s eye in order to secure Draupadi's hand in marriage. There is also a mural depicting Vidyaranya, the legendary spiritual founder of Vijayanagara Empire.
In the vicinity of the Virupaksha temple there are several dilapidated mandapams. These are ruins of the times when the temple complex prospered. Attend the daily temple rituals and ceremonies in the mornings and evenings. Temple opens before the sunrise and closes in the night.
The annual chariot festival in the month of February is the chief annual festival celebrated here. The celestial marriage between Virupaksheshwara and Pampa is celebrated with great fervor in the month of December.
Entry Timings : 6.00 AM to 6.00 PM
Entry Fee : INR 5 for all visitors, camera ticket is INR 50 and the video camera fee is INR 500