Temples of Hampi
Virupaksha Temple is located in Hampi 350 km from Bangalore, in the state of Karnataka in southern India. It is part of the Group of Monuments at Hampi, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Virupaksha is a form of Shiva and has other temples dedicated to him, notably at the Group of Monuments at Pattadakal, another World Heritage Site. Hampi sits on the banks of the Tungabhadra River in the ruins of the ancient city of Vijayanagar, capital of the Vijayanagara empire. Virupaksha Temple is the main center of pilgrimage at Hampi and has been considered the most sacred sanctuary over the centuries. It is fully intact among the surrounding ruins and is still used in worship. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, known here as Virupaksha, as the consort of the local goddess Pampa who is associated with the Tungabhadra River.
The style of it is a pleasant departure from the typical architecture you see in Hampi. The exact function of this is not surely known. Located inside the Zenana enclosure, most probably this was a socializing area for the women folks in the royal family. Also known as Chitragani Mahal and Kamal Mahal, this falls under the secular or nonreligious categories of structures in Hampi. It’s peculiar to note that this is one of the beautiful structures that were left undamaged during the siege of the city. However there are some signs of mutilations on a few sculptures placed on the outer surface. Unlike the other major structures in Hampi, this is made out of lime mortar and brick made composition. The shape of the structure is what brought it the name. The archways and the balcony with the domed construction resemble a half opened lotus bud. Also is the lotus bud shape carved on to the center dome.
As the epicenter of Hampi’s attractions, Vittala Temple is the most extravagant architectural showpiece of Hampi. No amount of words can explain this spectacle. The temple...
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