Achyutaraya Temple, Hampi
Reaching the place
After visiting the Underground Shiva temple, we were left with the last destination left in our Hampi 2 days trip. And it was Achyutaraya temple. It’s just 5 mins drive of 2.5 Kms from Underground Shiva temple to Virupaksha temple parking. We started our Hampi trip by having darshan at Virupaksha temple and now to end our trip we were in the same parking lot yet again. Yes, you need to park your vehicle in Virupaksha temple parking and walk via Hampi Bazar street towards the big bull statue to reach the Achyutaraya temple.
Walking through this street one can get a closer look at the Hampi Bazar. Old pavilions lined along both sides of the car street of Virupaksha temple, Hampi Bazar is believed to be the market place during the Vijayanagara period. Some of the pavilions have two-stories and more ornate than others. As this market place is situated in front of Virupaksha temple, it is also known as Virupaksha Bazar. A famous belief among travelers is that valuable items like precious stones, jewelry, silk clothes were traded here just like vegetables in the modern days market. Whether it is true or to exaggerate the fact that the Vijayanagara empire was the wealthiest among the rest during the time, is left to our discretion to accept the belief.
Yeduru Basavanna / Monolithic Nandi Statue
Extreme east end of the Hampi Bazar street greets you with the huge monolithic statue of Nandi (Bull) facing towards east/ Virupaksha temple. Surrounded by gigantic boulders, a two-storied stone pavilion hosts this 500 years old structure. Even though this Nandi statue is rawer and simple in design and doesn’t have intricate carvings like other monolithic Nandi statues of South India, it is beautiful in its own way and marks itself as one of the must-visit places around Hampi.
Trek path to Achyutaraya Temple
After a quick break near the big bull statue, we started to climb the wide-open stairs leading towards the Acyutaraya temple. It was 4:15 PM and the ambiance was full of the joyful screams from the tourists who trekked up till Matanga Hill. It’s an easy and dusty walk of around 600 m with ups and down amid boulders, shrubs, and bushes. It took us around 15 mins to cover this path as we stopped in between for photos and walked in sloth speed. One can get the aerial view of Achyutaraya temple ruins during half of this walking path.
We reached the temple complex at around 4:35 PM and there were barely any visitors in the whole area. As this temple is hidden behind the hills and bushes and there is no direct approach road for vehicles to reach, it hardly attracts many tourists.
Constructed during king Achyutaraya’s period in 1534 AD, Achyutaraya temple is the most advanced form of Vijayanagara architecture style compared to other temples around Hampi. The temple is dedicated to Lord Tiruvengalanatha, a form of Vishnu.
Unfortunately, when we visited the temple, the inner sanctum was closed but we were fortunate enough to explore the whole temple complex. The vandalism caused by the invasion of the Bahamani kingdom is visible pretty clearly in this temple but still, this beautiful structure maintains enough grandiosity and its magnificence attracts history and ancient architecture lovers. ASI information board explains enough information about the architecture:
Achyutaraya temple: located at the foot of the Matanga hill immediately to the west, this large temple complex is known as Tiruvengalanatha temple from the inscriptions. The temple facing north with the bazar described as Achyutarayapete was got constructed by Hiriya Tirumalaraja the Mahamandaleshwara under the Vijayanagara king Achyutaraya (1599-1542 AD.) in the year 1534 AD. The main temple consists of a garbhagriha, sukanasi, an antarala a rangamantapa and a spacious pillared mahamantapa. Within the complex to the southwest of the main temple is the devi shrine. Particularly noteworthy is that the temple complex is enclosed with two prakaras and the temple is in the central area of the inner prakara having three mahadwaras. The outer prakara has only one mahadwara, most imposing on the north. The inner sides of the prakaras, are series of mandapas with pillars in the facade. From the front of the northern mahadwara runs the Achyutarayapete with a series of pillared mantapas on both sides.
Kalyana Mantapa present outside the main temple complex is noteworthy for its intricate carvings on each of the pillars.
Courtesan’s Street(Sule Bazaar)
Just like the Bazar street in front of Virupaksha temple, a similarly wide and long empty stretch with small stone pavilions is present on either side of the wide area. For some mysterious and unexplained reasons, this place is known as Sule Bazaar (the prostitute’s market). We failed to retrieve any detail why this place got this name though. Please do comment and let us know if you know the secret or story behind this.
- Timing: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM on all days of the week
- Entry Fee: Free
- Parking Fee: 10 Rs for Car
- Photography and Videography: Allowed
- Visit Duration: Around 2 hours (Including walk)
- Best time to visit: From November to February
You can watch a detailed video of our visit to Achyutaraya temple here:
Ending our journey
We spent around 1 hour around the Achyutaraya temple and started our walk back at 5:30 PM. After reaching the parking slot at 6 PM, we said goodbye to the setting sun and Hampi after spending 2 fruitful days in this magical place. We took the route towards Bellary, had our dinner at Hotel Aroma multi-cuisine, and finally reached our home back in Bengaluru by 2 AM in the night.
Route we took: