Maryanna Yin

Written by Maryanna Yin

Modified & Updated: 23 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


The Virupaksha Temple, located in Hampi, Karnataka, is a magnificent structure that holds deep historical and cultural significance. This ancient temple, known for its exquisite architecture and religious importance, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a major attraction for tourists and pilgrims alike.

With its roots dating back to the 7th century, the Virupaksha Temple has stood the test of time and has witnessed the rise and fall of different dynasties. From the Vijayanagara Empire to the Marathas, the temple has survived the tides of history and remains an epitome of architectural marvel.

In this article, we will delve into 19 fascinating facts about the Virupaksha Temple, exploring its rich history, unique features, and religious rituals that make it an iconic landmark in the country.

Key Takeaways:

  • Virupaksha Temple is the oldest active temple in India, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Its stunning architecture, annual festivals, and religious significance make it a must-visit for history and spirituality enthusiasts.
  • The temple’s rich history, musical pillars, and connection to Hindu mythology, including the Ramayana, offer a fascinating journey into India’s ancient heritage. Its preservation efforts ensure future generations can appreciate its beauty.
Table of Contents

The Oldest Active Temple in India

One of the most remarkable aspects of the Virupaksha Temple is its age. It is believed to have been built in the 7th century AD, making it one of the oldest active temples in India.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva

The temple is dedicated to Lord Virupaksha, a form of Lord Shiva. It is considered to be one of the holiest sites in Hinduism and draws thousands of devotees and pilgrims every year.

Located in Hampi, Karnataka

Situated in the city of Hampi, in the state of Karnataka, Virupaksha Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is renowned for its architectural beauty and historical significance.

Towering Gopuram

The temple boasts a towering gopuram (entrance tower) standing at a height of around 50 meters. It is adorned with intricate carvings depicting mythological scenes and celestial beings.

Stunning Stone Carvings

The walls of Virupaksha Temple are adorned with exquisite stone carvings that narrate the stories of Hindu mythology. These intricate carvings showcase the craftsmanship and artistic skills of ancient India.

Courtyard with Pillared Halls

The temple complex includes a spacious courtyard with pillared halls. These halls serve as gathering places for devotees and are adorned with beautiful sculptures and intricate designs.

Annual Festival Celebrations

Virupaksha Temple is famous for its annual festival known as the Virupaksha Utsava. During this festival, the temple comes alive with vibrant processions, music, and dance performances.

Witness to Centuries of History

Over the centuries, Virupaksha Temple has witnessed the rise and fall of various empires and dynasties, including the Vijayanagara Empire. It stands as a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the region.

Hemakuta Hill Complex

The temple is part of the Hemakuta Hill complex, which is home to several other ancient temples and monuments. The complex offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Religious Significance

Virupaksha Temple holds immense religious significance for Hindus, who believe that a visit to the temple can cleanse sins and bestow blessings upon devotees.

Wedding Rituals

Many couples choose Virupaksha Temple as a location for their traditional Hindu wedding ceremonies. The ancient temple provides a sacred and auspicious backdrop for these auspicious occasions.

Intriguing Underground Chambers

Beneath Virupaksha Temple lie mysterious underground chambers that have been the subject of curiosity and exploration. These chambers add to the enigma and allure of the temple.

Preservation Efforts

In recent years, efforts have been made to preserve and restore the Virupaksha Temple to its former glory. These conservation measures ensure that future generations can continue to appreciate its beauty.

Majestic Temple Elephant

Visitors to the temple are often greeted by a majestic temple elephant. These gentle creatures are considered sacred and are believed to bring good luck and fortune.

Musical Pillars

One of the architectural marvels of Virupaksha Temple is its musical pillars. When struck, these intricately carved pillars produce musical notes, creating a mesmerizing and ethereal experience.

Connection to Ramayana

According to Hindu mythology, it is believed that Lord Rama and his consort Sita stayed near the Virupaksha Temple during their exile. The temple thus holds a special place in the Ramayana epic.

Astronomy and Architecture

The construction of the Virupaksha Temple exhibits a deep understanding of astronomy and architecture. The temple’s alignment with celestial bodies and its intricate calculations showcase the advanced knowledge of the builders.

Inclusion in Hampi’s Group of Monuments

The Virupaksha Temple is a prominent part of the Group of Monuments in Hampi, which is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This ensemble of historical structures attracts tourists from around the world.

Pinnacle of Dravidian Architecture

Virupaksha Temple is considered a shining example of Dravidian architecture, characterized by its intricately carved pillars, pyramid-like towers, and richly ornamented facades. It represents the pinnacle of architectural excellence in South India.

With its rich history, cultural significance, and architectural splendor, the Virupaksha Temple stands as a testament to India’s ancient heritage. Exploring its fascinating facts and experiencing its divine ambiance is an unforgettable journey into the heart of spirituality and artistry.


Virupaksha Temple is a truly incredible landmark that has stood the test of time. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and religious significance, it continues to attract thousands of visitors each year. From its majestic gopuram to the sacred Hampi Bazaar, every corner of the temple is filled with beauty and wonder.

Whether you are a history enthusiast, a religious devotee, or simply someone who appreciates art and culture, a visit to Virupaksha Temple is a must. It offers a unique glimpse into the past and allows you to immerse yourself in the spirituality and grandeur of ancient Indian civilization.

So, next time you find yourself in Hampi, don’t miss the opportunity to explore this fascinating landmark. Immerse yourself in the mystical aura of Virupaksha Temple and discover the secrets that lie within its hallowed walls.


1. How old is Virupaksha Temple?

Virupaksha Temple dates back to the 7th century, making it over 1,300 years old.

2. Is Virupaksha Temple still functional?

Yes, Virupaksha Temple is still an active place of worship and holds regular religious ceremonies and festivals.

3. What is the significance of Virupaksha Temple?

Virupaksha Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is considered a sacred pilgrimage site for devotees. It is believed to be one of the oldest functioning temples in India.

4. Can tourists visit Virupaksha Temple?

Yes, tourists are welcome to visit Virupaksha Temple. However, it is advised to follow the temple rules and regulations, respect the religious customs, and maintain decorum.

5. Are there any specific timings to visit Virupaksha Temple?

Virupaksha Temple is open for visitors from early morning until late evening. The timings may vary slightly during festivals and religious events.

6. Is photography allowed inside the temple?

Photography is allowed in certain areas of the temple complex. However, it is recommended to check with the temple authorities for any specific restrictions.

7. Are there any other attractions nearby?

Yes, the Virupaksha Temple complex is located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hampi, which is known for its numerous historical and architectural marvels, such as the Vijaya Vittala Temple, Matanga Hill, and the Lotus Mahal.

Virupaksha Temple's fascinating history and architectural marvels captivate visitors. Delve into more intriguing facts about sacred sites, like Kerbala, a renowned pilgrimage site for millions. Fatehpur Sikri, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, boasts astonishing tales waiting to be discovered. Expand your knowledge of Hinduism, one of the world's oldest religions, through our collection of informative articles.

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