News, Articles and Travelogues Virupaksha-Temple

The Kings of the Vijayanagara kingdom had brought craftsmen, sculptors, stone artisans and architects from around the world – from the middle east, the west and many more, it was the time when the kingdom had very good trade relations with the other civilized kingdoms of the world across the sea. There are influences of Indo Islamic, Greek, and Dravidian architecture. The Queens bath has influence of the indo Islamic style where as the Kadalekalu Ganesh temple has influence of Greek or the ancient European style of architecture. And finally I reach the Virupaksha temple, the temple of lord Siva.

The Virupaksha temple

Baswa and me were sharing views, like Lord Vishnu is very posh, attractive, decorative and has some of the best temples out of stone, like the Vithala temple. However, Lord Siva, is more kind of simple, three lines of bhasma (the ash ritual powder) on the forehead is more than enough. But, he wants to have people coming and visiting him every day with “bajans” (the musical temple ritual) and prayers. The temple is of Dravidian architecture and many erotic sculptures all over the exterior mandapa of the temple. An Iron beam brought from England is erected as a support at the gateway entrance of the temple, this was followed by identifying a crack on the ceiling during the 1900s by the then Governor of British India in the region. The English mark and the company name is still evident.

Erotic sculptures at Virupaksha

The Virupaksha Mandapas

The myth has a different story for Hampi connecting Siva and Sati. She was the grand daughter of Brahma and the daughter of Daksha. Sati wanted to get married to Siva and was a strong devotee. She left the palace and wandered in the forest worshiping Siva. Impressed with her strong devotion, Siva marries Sati and they had a happy life in Kailasa, the seat of Siva. However Daksha and party were not really happy with the marriage.

Siva and Sati Marriage scupture at Virupaksha temple

After years, Daksha conducts a Yajna (a ritual with fire and chanting Vedic mantras). All the Gods were invited except Siva and Sati. She comes home during the yajna, where, Daksha her father gives her a cold welcome. Later he passes insulting comments about Siva. Wounded Sati feels that her husband is being insulted because he married her. She jumps into the Yajna showing all disrespect and hatred against her father, at the same time, love for her husband (Its complicated).

Siva and Sati family sculpture

On hearing this, Siva becomes uncontrollable, with all his rage he destroys what ever he saw. Overnight he performs one of the most fearful rudra thandava (a dance of rage and anger by Lord Siva) carrying the burned body of Sati. during the dance different pieces of Sati’s corpus fall across 51 different places, of which one of the prime area was Pampa. As generations pass by, Pampa becomes Hampa, Hampa becomes Hampe, and finally Hampe becomes Hampi. All the 51 places are now pilgrim centers, it is also believed that Siva came down from Kailasa to Hampi to meditate for a long time, that is the connection of Yoga and Meditation with Hampi.

The Virupaksha temple entrance mandapa

Behind the temple in a chamber, an inverted image of the main temple mandapa could be seen, this was a technique used with light, taking advantage of the design of the temple.

The Elephant at Virupaksha temple

The temple is very active and has an Elephant in house, the interesting fact is, the elephant blesses you in exchange for a donation ;-). Most tourist don’t miss to receive the blessing as it is very much an exciting moment when the elephant bless your head with its trunk. There are 2 huge Ganapati statues (son of Lord Siva – the elephant God) close to the Virupaksha temple.

The Ganapathi statue close to Virupaksha temple

I saw many more interesting things at the Virupaksha temple, rest is for you to visit and see 🙂 Its time for me to go back to Anegundi Village as the last boat to cross the river is at 5:30 PM. Hope you enjoyed reading and seeing what i have!

Written by Benjamin John

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