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.