Virupaksha Temple is one of the most famous ancient temples of Hampi. Its sheer architectural beauty can not be defined in words, rather one must visit it to believe it. Reflecting the rich architectural heritage of Hampi, the temple was built in honor of Lord Shiva, who is known as Virupaksha or Pampapati in this temple. Pampa is the name of the goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva.
Attracting a large number of tourists, the temple is the main pilgrimage site in Hampi. Devotees from far and wide come here to worship the Lord. The history of the temple dates back to the 7th century. It was built by Lokamahadevi, the Queen of Vikaramaditya II to commemorate her husband's victory over the Pallavas of Kanchipuram. Originally it was a small shrine but with time more structures were added to it by the rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire. Some of the structures were also added during the rein of the Chalukyan and Hoysala empires.
The temple complex encompasses the main shrine, three ante chambers, a pillared hall and an open pillared hall. The temple is surrounded by a pillared cloister, entrance gateways, courtyards and small shrines. The architectural beauty of the temple beautifully reflects in its exquisite carvings and sculptures. Each pillar is an attraction in itself. Some of them depicts scenes from the great Hindu Epics- Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavata and Kiratarjuniya.
Virupaksha Temple's beauty increases manifold during the marriage festivities of Lord Virupaksha and Pampa in December every year. The other famous festival celebrated here is the Chariot festival, which is held in February.