India is truly a land of wonders. Its greatest glory lies in its architecture which is reflected in the temples. Are you a person who keeps an interest in exemplary historical sites and temples? If yes, then you must visit the Veerabhadra temple of Lepakshi located in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The exquisite sculptures never fail to amuse the tourists.
Features of Lepakshi Temple
The Veerabhadra temple is famous for its complex carvings and impeccable paintings. The sculptures of Gods, Goddesses, dancers, musicians are etched all over the walls of the temple. The temple has 70 pillars which are also beautifully sculpted. The ceiling has sculptures depicting the scenes from The Ramayana, The Mahabharata, and The Puranas. One of the pillars in the temple hangs from the ceiling and barely touches the ground. A piece of cloth or a thin sheet of paper can be passed from one side to the other.
Fascinating, isn’t it? Well, there is a reason behind this. The locals say that the pillar is a bit displaced because once a British engineer attempted to move it from its position but failed. Other than the hanging pillar, there is the great Nandi (bull) located just in front of the temple. It rises 15ft vertically and is 27 ft wide. It is carved from a single block of stone. The ceiling has a fresco of Veerabhadra, the fiery God.
History of Lepakshi Temple
According to Skanda Purana, Lepakshi is one of the 108 Shiva temples. The temple was constructed by two brothers, Virupanna Nayaka and Viranna in 1530. The two brothers were Governors under the King Achutaraya of the Vijayanagara Empire. The cost of the construction of the temple was funded by the government. In the great epic “Ramayana”, Lepakshi Temple holds a significant place.
It’s believed that when the King of Lanka, Ravana, injured the bird Jatayu he fell here fighting and trying to save Sita who was abducted by the Lanka king. When Lord Rama reached the place he spotted the wounded bird and said to him, “Le Pakshi” or “Arise bird” in Telugu. It is also mentioned in the Skanda Purana that the temple is one of the Divyak shetras, an important pilgrimage centre of Lord Shiva.
Vijayanagara architectural style is reflected in the temple. The main temple is divided into three parts:
- MukhaMantapa or NayaMantapa or RangaMantapa
- ArdaMantapa or Antarala
The inscriptions on pillars are of saints, musicians, divine beings, guardians and fourteen avatars of Shiva. The fresco in the ceiling of ArdhaMantapa, measuring 23 by 13 feet, is said to be the Asia’s largest. The presiding deity Veerabhadra is a life-size image. The ceiling also contains the paintings of the builders who built the temple i.e. Virupanna and Viranna. On the eastern wing within the temple complex, there is a separate hall with Shiva and his wife Parvati.
Interesting places at Lepakshi temple
- Hanging pillar
- Monolithic Nandi Statue
- Shiva Linga and seven-headed snake statue
- Paintings in ArdhaMantap
- Natyamantapa with amazingly sculpted pillars
- Wall paintings at KalyanaMantapa
- Footprint of Hanuman
Lepakshi temple was constructed in the 16th century and is sited in the small village of Lepakshi in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, India. Lepakshi is a beautiful village located in the Anantapur district. It is situated roughly 120 km north of Bangalore and 15 km east of Hindupur. The sculptures reflect the distinctive style of Vijayanagara architecture. It doesn’t have the facility of an airport or a railway station although it is well-connected to various major cities through roadways. Various local buses are available to take you from one part of Andhra Pradesh to another easily. For people who wish to enjoy the journey to Lepakshi through road, cab service is also available.
Nearest Airport: The Bangalore International Airport is the nearest runway from Lepakshi, which is somewhat 100 kms away. Several major cities of the country, as well as the Middle East and South East Asia countries, are connected to this airport. You can easily hire a taxi, which is available outside the airport, to reach your destination.
Nearest Railway Station: Hindupur Railway station provides as the nearest station to Lepakshi. The station is about 12 km away from our destination. One can easily cover the short distance by hiring a taxi which is available outside the station.
Veerabhdra Temple, Lepakshi, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh- 515331
Lepakshi serves its visitors with pleasant weather which is ideal for an excursion. So, pack your bags and get ready for a factual yet exciting vacation with your family at Lepakshi. You must visit and enjoy our rich culture and the beautiful ancient Indian art which will leave you speechless.