Underground Shiva Temple, Hampi

Reaching the temple

After spending time inside Zenana Enclosure, google map showed us a dusty mud road to reach our next destination, Underground Shiva temple or Prasanna Virupaksha temple. Without giving the second thought, we just turned on our car ignition and headed towards the temple. This place is just 800 m away from the Zenana enclosure. The road condition was drivable during the summer season.

Entry to the underground Shiva temple
Entry to the underground Shiva temple

The most interesting fact about Underground Shiva temple or Prasanna Virupaksha temple is that it is believed to be the oldest temple in Hampi yet it was discovered very recently during the 1980’s decade. When we reached there, we understood why it was unnoticeable to many historians until recent times. This whole structure hides underground with its roof at par with the actual ground surface. Maybe this is the reason it is fairly unnoticeable from the main road and the tourists visiting Hampi often skip/ignore this place, despite its location, which is next to Kamalapura Hampi’s main road.

Vandalized Nandi statue inside the temple
Vandalized Nandi statue inside the temple
History and the Mystery

Being allergic to the crowd, we actually were happy to see only a couple of visitors and barely one or two small commercial shops near to the temple.
A fairly wide set of stairs takes you down to the large well like establishment which hosts the temple. A large structure that appears to be the base of temple gopura welcomes you to the mysterious temple inside. Mysterious because to date historians couldn’t find the definite inscription, depicting the reason behind weirdly building this temple below the ground level. Because of this very factor, the inner sanctum of the temple remains submerged in water during almost all seasons of the year.

Flat roof structure
Flat roof structure

Unlike other temples of Hampi, this temple has a flat roof. The pillars in the temple hall are plain and simple with minimal or no carvings.
Probably because we visited the place during peak dry season, temple sanctum was not filled with water even though it was moist. We even tried to explore the interiors which is totally dark and scary, full of bats. We stopped ourselves at halfway as we were not properly equipped. The dark interior corners of the temple alarmed us of the possible presence of some creepy snakes and other poisonous creatures. After all, we didn’t want our unfinished trip to turn into a disaster.

You can also experience this temple through our Video.

Even though I was keen to climb Matanga Hills after this visit, as my wife’s wish (and her only way to escape the trek), we reserved Matanga Hilltop for our next visit to Hampi and decided to pay a visit to Achyutaraya Temple hidden behind the Matanga Hill.

  • Timing: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM on all days of the week
  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Photography: Allowed (Only handheld camera allowed. Tripod/stand not allowed)
  • Video Charges: Allowed
  • Visit Duration: Around 20 mins
  • Best time to visit: January to May

Route Map:

Interested in the gadgets we use on our trip to capture photos and videos? Visit our store: https://www.amazon.in/shop/stepstogether

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