You can find the Varaha Temple at the north end of the courtesans’ street, close to the riverside. A typical of Vijayanagara style, the temple is constructed within a rectangular compound (about 40 meters x 20 meters) with an entrance tower. Though still majestic, the top portion of the tower is missing.
A few bas-reliefs of boars of boars are carved on to the temple walls. Probably this could have been the source of the temple’s name. The same type of motif can be found as part of the Vijayanagara Empire’s insignia. The rectangular sanctum is located at the middle of the compound. This partially ruined temple is devoid of any idols in its sanctum. The Archeological Survey of India has recently renovated the temple to some extend. You can spot the archeologists’ marks on the rearranged rectangular stone blocks.
In his third incarnation Lord Vishnu takes the form of Varaha (the mythical boar). The purpose of this incarnation was to save the earth from a demon called Hiranyaksha who took it to the bottom of the mythic ocean. The battle that started between the two continued for a thousand years. In iconography Varaha can be seen with the (saved) earth holding between the tusks.
There is also a school of experts who believe that this could be a Shiva temple and not a Varaha temple. The artifacts along with the temple configuration could have been the basis for this theory. Like the case for many presumptions about the Hampi ruins, the authenticity of this is still to be validated.
This east-facing temple is located at the bifurcation of a major riverside path. The trail that connects Kodandarama Temple to the Vittala Temple pass along the southern wall of the Varaha Temple. At this point a branch trail heads southward to the Achutarara Temple. From Varaha Temple you can spot the Rangatha temple just across the path in front and Achuta Raya’s Temple tower at the end of the Courtesans’ Street.
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.
Domingos Paesa a Portuguese traveler visited Hampi 500 years back wrote "...People cross to this place by boats which are round like baskets.Inside they are made of cane, and outside are covered with leather; they are able to carry fifteen or twenty persons, and even horses and oxen can cross in them if necessary, but for the most part these animals swim across. Men row them with a sort of paddle, and the boats are always turning round, as they cannot go straight like others; in all the kingdom where there are streams there are no other boats but these..."
They are exactly as it is today as it was five centuries back, except probably the PVC sheets has replaced leather, and motorbikes too are added to its cargo list!