The Virupaksha temple is situated along the south bank of the leisurely Tungabhadra River. This eighth-century temple is a huge stone structure, with sculptures depicting scenes from both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The highlight of the courtyard is the ceiling outside the main shrine, which is richly carved and decorated with frescoes depicting mythological scenes. In front of the temple is one of the most important high streets of Vijayanagara, lined with shops selling ritual items for worship in the temple.
The devotees throng the temple on festive days. Virupaksha is another name for Shiva. Just inside the towering gateway is an unusual three-headed Nandi (the devoted bull). The garbha griha enshrines the Virupaksha linga and there are smaller side shrines adorned with an ancient image of Mahishasuramardini, Parvati and Bhubaneswari. There is a small complex of temple and a tank to the north of the Virupaksha temple.