Temples of Hampi


Towers of the Virupaksha Temple: While there are several temples in Hampi, this is the only working temple.

The mystic charm of Hampi has hypnotized travelers for several centuries.

While this site has numerous monuments and temples, Virupaksha Temple and Vittala Temple deserve special mention.

Virupaksha Temple

Virupaksha Temple is the biggest tourist attraction in Hampi Bazaar. It is also one of the oldest structures in the town. There are several ancient temples in Hampi. Of these, the Virupaksha Temple is the only remaining working temple. The main tower of this temple stands at about 50 m. It was built in 1442. There is also a smaller tower. The Virupaksha Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Virupaksha is an incarnation of Shiva.

Hemakuta Hill is to the south of Virupaksha Temple. The early ruins here include the monolithic sculptures of Lord Ganesha and Lord Narashimsa. Narashimsa is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. This avatar has the body of a man (= nara) and a head of a lion (= simha). There is a monolithic statue of Nandi (the celestial bull who carries Lord Shiva) at the east end of the Hampi Bazaar. Matanga Hill overlooks the site. If you can make it to its summit, you will get a dramatic view of the whole of Hampi and surrounding places. Visit the Hampy Heritage Gallery as well. It has some historical photos of the ruins.

Vittala Temple

Vittala Temple built in the 16th century is the biggest tourist attraction in Hampi. It stands amidst the huge boulders. Work on this temple reportedly started during the reign of Krishnadevaraya who was the most successful among the rulers of Vijayanagar. For some reason, its construction was never completed. However, the Vittala Temple is seen as the finest example of Vijayanagar art because of its incredible sculptural work.

The showpiece is the stone chariot that stands in the courtyard of the temple. Its ornate details make it an architectural marvel. The chariot is believed to be the vehicle of Lord Vishnu. It also has a sculpture of Garuda (the celestial eagle that carries Lord Vishnu) within. The wheels of this chariot were once capable of turning.

See if you can tap the outer ‘musical pillars’. They will reverberate. These pillars represent 81 different musical instruments used in India. Tourists can no longer touch them because fearing further damage authorities have kept them out of bounds.

A design of reflective waters was used to illuminate the sanctum of the main temple. In addition to the main temple, you will find the prayer hall and the marriage hall.

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