Virupaksha and Bhuvaneshwari Temple: Hampi, Karnataka

The Virupaksha Temple is located at the south of the Ganesh images, at the foot of the hill called Hemakuta Hill. The temple is commonly referred to as Pampapathi temple by the locals and is the most sacred of the temples of this place. Historically this temple has an uninterrupted history from about the 7th century. What was once a small shrine, in course of time, developed into a large complex under the Vijayanagara rulers.

At present, the main temple consists of a sanctum, three ante chambers, a pillared hall and a Mukha Mantapa also called Ranga Mantapa surrounded by a pillared cloister, entrance gateways, courtyards, attendant shrines and other mantapas. In 1510 A.D. Krishnadevaraya added the above mentioned Ranga Mantapa

The Ranga Mantapa consists of 38 pillars, relieved with sculptures. These pillars are divided into two vertical section – the first is cut to resemble a rearing Yali – a mythical lion, standing on a Makara, while the second section is basically square with small reliefs depicting mostly Shaiva themes. These pillars are aesthetically composed and dexterously prepared.

The central ceiling of the Ranga Mantapa is of substantial size. The ceiling, as well as the beams supporting the ceilings, are covered with painted panels. The panel depicts themes from the Mahabharatha, the Ramayana and the Shiva Puranas as well as from the contemporary life.

The other temple of significance in this complex is the shrine for Goddess Bhuvaneshwari. This shrine was rebuilt in the Vijayanagara days. This temple is chiefly noted for its marvelously worked door frame, pillars and articulately chiseled ceiling panels.

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