Virupaksha Temple

Top choice in Hampi

The focal point of Hampi Bazaar is this temple, one of the city’s oldest structures, and Hampi’s only remaining working temple. The main gopuram (gateway), almost 50m high, was built in 1442; a smaller one was added in 1510. The main shrine is dedicated to Virupaksha, an incarnation of Shiva.

An elephant called Lakshmi blesses devotees as they enter, in exchange for donations; she gets time off for a morning bath down by the river ghats.

This has been a place of worship since the 7th century, when it consisted of a collection of simple shrines. In subsequent centuries the complex grew, as its sanctum, beautifully carved colonnaded halls and gateways were added.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Hampi attractions

1. Ghats

0.14 MILES

These stepped bathing ghats (landings) are just north of Virupaksha Temple.They're still used by village women.

2. Hemakuta Hill

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To the south, overlooking Virupaksha Temple, Hemakuta Hill has a scattering of early ruins, including monolithic sculptures of Narasimha (Vishnu in his…

3. Krishna Temple

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Built in 1513, Krishna Temple is fronted by an apsara (celestial nymph) and 10 incarnations of Vishnu. It’s on the road to Virupaksha Temple near Lakshimi…

4. Lakshimi Narasmiha

0.36 MILES

An interesting stop along the road to Virupaksha Temple is the 6.7m monolithic statue of the bulging-eyed Lakshimi Narasmiha in a cross-legged lotus…

6. Nandi Statue

0.49 MILES

At the eastern end of Hampi Bazaar is a Nandi statue, around which stand some of the colonnaded blocks of the ancient marketplace. This is the main…

7. Sule Bazaar


Halfway along the path from Hampi Bazaar to Vittala Temple, a track to the right leads over the rocks to deserted Sule Bazaar, one of ancient Hampi’s…

8. Achyutaraya Temple

0.74 MILES

At the southern end of Sule Bazaar is the beautiful Achyutaraya Temple, dating from 1534, one of the last great monuments constructed before the fall of…