12 August 2022

Virupaksha Bazaar

Published in Hampi
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The market houses almost all the shops you can find in Hampi. Everything from the coconuts and flowers to offer at Virupaksha Temple to rare coins and antiquities of great value to bikes on hire and restaurants. During the Virupaksha Fair, the wooden chariot parked in front of the temple is pulled by thousands of devotees who flock the place for this special occasion. The Bazaars or the markets happened to be the centres of all the commercial activities during the Vijayanagara rule. The bazaars always situated opposite the temples depict a true representation of the socio-economic culture of the people in the region during those times. In all, four bazaars, big in size, can be found in Hampi, situated opposite four main big temples. Namely, the Virupaksha Bazaar opposite the Virupaksha Temple, the Soolai Bazaar or the Courtesan Street opposite the Tiruvengalanatha Temple, the Krishna Bazaar opposite the Krishna Temple and the Vithala Bazaar opposite the Vithala Temple. Except the Virupaksha Bazaar, the other three bazaars have been deserted over a period of time and no activity can be seen today except a few archeological restoration activities.

Historians believe that these four bazaars were not just commercial establishments but were also the sprawling quarters/suburbans of the capital city of hte empire. Hampi or Pampapura as it was also known with its Virupaksha Bazaar opposite Virupaksha Temple, Krishnapura with Krishna Bazaar associated to the Krishna Temple, Achyutapura with the Soolai Bazaar opposite the Tiruvengalanatha Temple or Achyuta Raya Temple and Vithalapura with a very vast bazaar to the left-front side of the Vijayavithala Temple. While there are many other large temples like Pattabhirama Temple and Hazara Rama Temple, we do not find any bazaar associated with these temples. Hazara Rama Temple, being in the Royal Enclosure and used exclusively by the royalty for worship, could not have given enough access for traders to set shops. However, the same cannot be said about the Pattabhirama Temple as its outside the royal enclosure and distant to other bazaars too. It, probably had a flourishing bazaar at some piont in the history which may have perished or moved over a period to the present day habitation of Kamalapura.

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