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| Last Updated:: 20/09/2023

Hemakuta Hill







The Hemakuta hill is located in the southern side of the Hampi village in Karnataka. This hill is sprinkled with ancient temples that belong to both, pre-Vijayanagara as well as Vijayanagara periods. A large number of these temples dates back to 9th to 14th century and hence, belong to the era before the Vijayanagara Empire was founded.



The Hemakuta Hill can be described as a canvas of stones. In the ancient times the whole hill was fortified with tall stone walls. Traces of the ruined fortification can be seen even today. The top of the hill is a stretch of rocky sheet that is almost flat.



All the temples dotting the face of the hill are hundreds of years old and represent a historical era of art and culture.








According to mythology, Lord Shiva performed penance on Hemakuta Hill before marrying a local girl named Pampa or Parvati. Lord Shiva was pleased with the dedication of the girl and consented to marry her. Due to this decision of Lord Shiva it rained gold on the hill. Since gold is known as Hema in Sanskrit, this hill came to be known as Hemakuta.



Another legend has it that Hemakuta Hill was also the place where Lord Shiva had burnt Kama, the God of lust. Kama had helped Pampa to marry Shiva by distracting Shiva from his penance. This act of Kama angered Shiva and he killed Kama by emitting fire from his third eye. However, after Kama’s wife Rathi pleaded with Shiva for the life of her husband, Shiva relented. Shiva brought back Kama to life but only in character and not as a physical being.



As such, Hemakuta Hill came to be deeply associated with Lord Shiva and many temples were built on the hill to worship Shiva.



Architecture of Hemakuta group of Temples, Hampi



The architecture of the temples on the Hemakuta Hill is quite different from the typical Vijayanagara style of architecture found in many other temples in Hampi. The Hemakuta group of temples have a distinct style of their own.



These temples are often mistaken for Jain temples due to their architecture, which is in some ways similar to that of the Jain temples. As such, they are sometimes mistakenly referred to as Jain temples.



The Hemakuta group of temples are compact triple chambered structures with pyramid like roofs made from granite. Some of the temples located on the northern side of the hill are built in the Trikutachala style of architecture. In this style of architecture, three shrines are placed in perpendicular position to each other face a common central hall.



The temples have almost plain outer walls, except for the horizontal chain of floralmotifs that provide some ornamentation to the walls.




A Few Popular Temples on the Hemakuta Hill, Hampi




There are more than 35 temples on the Hemakuta Hill. The largest and most elaborately decorated temples are situated on the northern side of the hill and face the Virupaksha temple compound. On the way to the southern side of the hill is the ancient or the original Virupaksha temple, also known as Mula Virupaksha Temple.




Though not as grand as the one built by the Vijayanagara rulers, the Mula Virupaksha Temple represents a style of architecture that was popular before the Vijayanagara style came into being.