The temple got its name thanks to the numerous rows of inscriptions carved on its outer walls. The temple can easily give a miss as it stand hidden behind the much larger Vittala Temple complex.
Just go behind the Vittala temple complex to reach this compact temple. The external surfaces are plan but the porches are decorated with the ornate pillars typical of Vijayanagara Architecture. The pillar capitals are decorated with lotus bud carvings.
Many huge rectangle granite blocks are used to make the temple wall. Over that are the long lines of carved inscriptions. If you go around the temple and make some close observations you can see some peculiar carving of geckos (lizards) and the likes carved on the wall. It seems the artisans wanted to have some fun with it rather any religious significance behind these.
While this temple is tiny in scale compared to the Vittala Temple next to it, the Inscribed Vishnu Temple is still a significant monument worth a visit. Though it's popularly called the Inscribed Vishnu Temple, this temple was originally a dedicated to Tirumangai Alvar, the last of the 12 Alvar saints.
The Alvars were poet-saints espoused bhakti (devotion) to the Lord Vishnu, hence this temple's proximity to the Vittala (a form of Vishnu) Temple. The inscriptions on the wall says this temple was built by Avubilaraju in 1554 CE.
Tungabhadra is a major river in the south Indian peninsula. Hampi is located on the south bank somewhere in the middle of this river’s path. In this area the river takes a number of twists and turns owing to the rocky terrain.
The river has immense significance in forming the political & religious history of Hampi. The river along with along with the boulder-strewn hills formed the northern barrier of the capital. It was not easy for an invading army cross the river without the fate of a sure defeat.