Jan 23, 2013

Virupaksha temple and fort, Mulbagal

August 17, 2012

Virupaksha-Guttahalli is situated 2 Km south-west of Mulabagilu town. The village is known for Virupaksha temple complex dating back to Vijayanagara period, and ruins of a fort surrounding the complex.
We arrive from Mulbagilu fort. Virupaksha is a sleepy little village. On the village outskirts is this ancient temple protected by strong walls.
Across the street is ruins of a gateway of the same period. It looks incomplete.
Other side of the gateway. Gulli takes a cautious steps on slippery granite slabs while Deepak check a picture in his Nikon. One of the steps has a strange mark on it (see inset).
The temple-fort complex entrance. On the fort walls were sculpturing of fishes, bird and a human. A government primary school is across the street. These kids were curious about our interest in their temple :)
The temples inner wall, Gopura and pilgrims' dormitory. The Gopura has three levels. Hampi Virupaksha temple Gopura has nine levels.
Kalyana Mantapa.
Floor slabs are missing exposing the dirt. This monument needs some serious attention. Pillars depict different forms of animals, flora, human and mythological creatures.
Here are few images.
Gopura as seen from Kalyana Mantapa.
Pair of mythological creatures decorate the entrance.
A mythological creature with lion's head.
According to sources this temple was built by a chieftain Lakkana Dandesha of Muluvai province under the rule Devaraya II of Vijayanagar dynasty. The temple architecture is typical Dravida style. Besides Gokarna Mahabhaleshwar temple, Virupaksha temple is the only other temple to have two Shivalinga. Of the two Lingas, one is believed to be worshiped by Atri Maharshi and the other one is Atma-Linga.

According to the temple poojari, Atma Linga changes color through out the day; blood red in the mornings, white during afternoon and honey color in the evening. When we saw the Linga it seemed little whitish. One must spend a full day here to actually see the colors.. we were here for little more than an hour. The poojari asked us not shoot pictures of the deity. Here's a digitally rendered image.
Another specialty of this temple is the spot in front of the Garbhagudi where one can feel divine energy. The spot is a 2' x 2' x 6" pit. When you stand in the pit, closes eyes, joins hand at the palm & stretches them straight above the head and stand still for few minutes, you would feel vibrations caused by cosmic  energy. Its best to do that early mornings, after a bath and attired in fresh white clothes.

Nandi facing the Garbhagudi.
Within the temple are sculpted images of several other Gods.

Also within the walls of this temple is a Kannada inscription dated 1481 CE. The inscription gives details of contribution made by Heggadedeva an official of Vijayanagara empire during Devaraya’s rule. The contribution was made towards construction of temples, compound walls, a gold Kalasha, a Pushkarani and a Kalyana Mantapa.
Few more temples where sources mention color-changing phenomena in Shiva Lingu are-

1. Pataleswar Temple, Talakad,
2. Kantheshwara temple, Mangalore
3. Sri Kalyana Sundarareswarar Temple, Thirunallur

With the sun blazing down it was really warm. We were glad to be sitting in the car and gulping down water. Our next place on the list was Avani, the birth place of Rama's sons. Avani also has a hill with a fort and a temple dedicated to Rama's wife Sita.

Virupaksha fort coordinates: 13°8'37"N   78°21'58"E


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