Dedicated to lord Shiva, Virupaksha Temple was founded in the 7th century and has been functional ever since; thus, making it one among the oldest functioning temples in India. The temple predates the Vijaynagar Empire and the structure was improved during the reign of various empires that ruled that region and especially during the Vijaynagar Empire. The main temple consists of a sanctum, three ante chambers, a pillared hall and an open pillared hall.
A pillared enclosure, entrance gateways, courtyards, smaller shrines and other structures surround the temple. The 50 meter tall nine tiered gateway gives access to the outer court containing many shrines. The smaller eastern gateway leads to the inner court and numerous smaller shrines. A narrow channel of the Tungabhadra River flows along the temple’s terrace and then descends to the temple-kitchen and out through the outer court.