At a distance of 400 meters from Pattadakal Bus Stand, Virupaksha Temple is the biggest and most ravishing of all temples in Pattadakal with grand art work in all corners of the temple. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this is the only functioning shrine in the temple complex.
Constructed in 745 AD by the Chalukyan ruler Vikramaditya's consort Queen Lokamahadevi to commemorate his victory over Pallavas of Kanchi, this temple was started as a replica of Kailasanatha Temple of Kanchi. Built in Dravidian style, the temple has three mukhamandapas on three sides with a large stone gateway on East side towards Malaprabha River. A large pillared hall is following by sanctum with a circular path for pradakshinas. The mukhamandapas and the pillars of the hall have wonderful carvings of gods and scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Highlight of the temple is the sculpture of God Surya with his consorts riding a chariot, carved on the ceiling of Eastern Mukhamandapa. Other famous sculptures of Virupaksha Temple include Ravana lifting Mount Kailash, Narasimha killing Hiranyakasipa, Parvathi's marriage scenes, Kurukshetra War Scenes, Fight between Bheema and Dhuryodhana, Fall of Bhishma, Scenes from Ramayana, Samudra Madhana, Mruthyunjaya & large dwarapalakas, The ceiling of the mukhamandapas have nice images, like the one of Brahma sitting on Lotus. The outer walls of the temple too consist of few great sculptures - Hanuman carrying Sanjivani hill, Gajendra mokhas, etc.
There is a large nandi mandada opposite to the shrine with black stone monolithic nandi. The walls of the nandi mandapa have few beautiful carvings of female images. This temple is considered to the reference for famous Kailasa Temple at Ellora.
There is a stone with inscriptions dating back to 733 AD.
Complex Timings: 9 AM to 5 PM
Entrance: Rs. 10, Rs. 25 for camera.