Consecrated in AD 1534, this temple is an example of Vijayanagara style temple architecture in its most advanced form than any other temples in Hampi. This was one of the last grandiose temple projects executed in the capital, before the fall of the empire.
The temple dedicated to Lord Tiruvengalanatha, a form of Vishnu , was constructed by a high officer in Achyuta Raya's court and hence the name.
The temple complex and the ruined market street in front of it sit in a semi secluded valley created by two hills - the Gandhamadana & Matanga hills . Partially due to its off location from the main tourist track and the hidden nature of the temple's location makes it less crowded, welcome news for the ones like a quiet tour.
The main shrine is located at the centre of two rectangular concentric courtyards. The inner sides of both the courtyard walls are lined with a cloisters or pillared verandah. The outer cloisters are mostly in ruins with the pillars scattered randomly along the wall base. Two huge ruined towers, one behind the other, give access to the temple courtyards.
On heading straight to the inner court you can spot a chamber facing the porch to the central hall. This tiny shrine chamber once enshrined an idol of Garuda, the eagle god and mount of the principal deity. The open hall just ahead spots some of the finest carved pillars in Hampi. On either side of the porch the pillars spot lion faced rampant Yalis standing on elephants. The armed solders riding the Yalis hold the chains hanging from the beast's mouth. The whole theme is carved on monolithic block of rocks. Two club-holding giant doorway guard deities stand on either side of the door to the inner sanctorum. This sanctum with the circumambulatory corridor around it is empty and dark. Though harmless the noisy bats hanging inside the dark corners can scare an unsuspecting visitor.
To the west of the main shrine is the twin chambered shrine of the goddess. A close look at the carvings on the pillars in the halls can reveal many themes like lord Krishna playing flute and the calves watching it with interest, lord Vishnu blesses an elephant, the infant Krishna dances holding the snake by its tail. At the northwest corner of the outer compound, a Kalayana Mandapa (marriage hall for the annual wedding ceremony of the God and the Goddess). A water channel is seen running along the second compound. In front of the temple is the wide Courtesan's street . A tiny exit at the northwest of the outer compound wall can take you to a boulder where a 10 handed fierce goddesses' image is carved on the rock surface. The narrow path further winds southward and joins the path to Matanga Hill top.
There are mainly two ways to reach Achyuta- Raya's Temple. Take a side trip from the KodandaRama Temple - King's Balance path ( also known as the Kampa Bhupa's path or Riverside Ruins path) . East of Kodanda Rama Temple on the trail, you would spot a signpost directing towards the temple. Now you are into the Courtesans street (with rows of ruined pavilions on either side) leading towards the main tower of the Achyuta Raya's Temple.
Another way is to climb the steps near the Monolithic Bull (Nandi) at the east end of the Hampi Bazaar. This is the quick way to reach from Hampi Bazaar to Achyuta Raya's Temple. Also it offers you a good perspective of the temple plan from the hill top. A visit to the Hanuman shrine on the way is a bonus. Those who venture to climb the Matanga Hill - even part of it - can get a fine view of this temple campus from the top. For both the temple and the Courtesans' street in front, admission is free.
The riverside gorge just north of the Kodandarama Temple is remarkable for the various clusters of ruins.The sought after ones are the array of Shiva Lingas carved on the flat rock surface and the carved Anandashayana Vishnu on the rock cleft.