Lepakshi Temple Lepakshi Temple

Weather :

Timings : Best Time to visit is during day hours in favorable seasons.

Time Required : 1-2 hrs

Entry Fee : No entry fee

Lepakshi Temple, Lepakshi Overview

The Lepakshi temple, also known as Veerbhadra temple is located in the tiny hamlet of Anantapur District of Andhra Pradesh. It is a paragon of excellent architecture and art. It is famous for its architecture characterised by hanging pillars and cave chambers that can astound you! Once the essence of Vijayanagara Empire, Lepakshi is culturally and archaeologically significant as it acts as the prime location of the shrine dedicated to Veerabhadra. The Lepakshi Temple is an exhibition of timeless art, with famous frescoes and murals.

Another thing that makes the temple unique and a place to must visit is a footprint that is believed to be of Maa Sita. As soon as you step inside the temple, you get the glimpses of the history of Vijayanagara kingdom by way of pictorial representations. From the figures of musicians and saints to that of Parvati and Lord Shiva, the Lepakshi Temple has everything which makes it an attraction of archaeological and artistic splendour. Apart from the architectural importance, the temple according to Skanda Purana is a divyakshetra, in other words, an important pilgrimage destination of Lord Shiva.

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Lepakshi Temple
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About the Place

Legend and History

The origination of name Lepakshi has two myths associated with it. According to the first legend, Lepakshi found its roots in the legendary Ramayana when Ravana had kidnapped Sita. As he was taking her away, the bird Jataya tried saving her from his hand. Defeated by Ravana, he fell on the floor. As he was counting his last breathe Lord Rama helped him attain Moksha by saying 'Le Pakshi' which in Telugu means 'Rise Bird.' Hence the name Lepakshi originated.

According to another legend, there were two brothers in the Vijayanagar Kingdom - Virupanna and Veerupanna. Virupanna's son was blind, and it is said that he gained sightedness while he was playing around the Shivalinga in the temple. Veerupanna was one of the financiers of Vijayanagar. Blamed by others for using the royal treasury; some say for the completion of the temple while some say for curing his son, the king gave orders for taking off his eyes. Disturbed by the false accusation, he forestalled the punishment and threw his eyes onto the walls of the temple. Hence, the place got its name Lape-Akshi meaning the village of the blinded. Now the eerie part is that the temple wall still has the blood marks of the eyes. 

Architecture

The temple is an outcome of Vijayanagara Architectural Style. It is divided into three parts, namely, Mukha Mandapa or the assembly hall,  Arda Mandapa or the Ante-Chamber, and lastly, Garbhagriha or the Sanctum Sanctorum. 

The pillars and walls have the images of divine beings, musicians, dancers, saints, guardians, and 14 avatars of Shiva. The fresco painting technique is used with bright colours to make the scenes of Rama and Krishna from famous epics: Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas. The fresco on the ceiling of Ante-Chamber is Asia's largest fresco painting. It measures 23 by 13 feet. This is a representation of the 14 avatars of Lord Shiva. These paintings showcase the beauty of Vijayanagara pictorial art. The colours are subtle personifying the grandeur of its history. A blend of mineral and vegetable colours make the walls of the Lepakshi temple awe-inspiring.

The entrance to the sanctum has the figurines of goddesses Yamuna and Ganga. The Hall's exterior columns are full of decorations in the form of carvings of soldiers and horses. The northeastern part of the room has the images of Nataraja and Brahama along with that of a drummer. One can also see the carvings of dancing nymphs around it. The southwest hall has the image of Parvati flanked by the female attendants. 
The deity Veerbhadra is deified in the sanctum sanctorum. A life-size image of his having been decorated with skulls could be seen. It is believed that Sage Agasthya has installed the image of Linga here. The ceiling above the deity has the painting of it builder brothers, Virupanna and Viranna.

Within the temple, on its eastern wings is the chamber of Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati. The other chamber has the image of Lord Vishnu.

Attractions in the temple

Key points of interest in the temple include a rock chain, Vastu Purush, the Padmini race lady, the hanging pillar, Monolithic Nagalinga, Durga Paadam, Lepakshi saree designs, and Eyes of Viroopaakshanna.

1. The Hanging Pillar: One of the most peculiar things about the temple is its hanging pillar. It is suspended in the main hall which is said to be the hall of reception for Shiva and Parvati's marriage. The miraculous thing about the pillar is that  Among the 70 pillars of the Lepakshi Temple, this pillar is a salute to the makers of the temple. A British Engineer to know about the secret of its hanging in the air had made an unsuccessful attempt to move it which is the reason behind it dislodgement. To prove its uniqueness people often pass clothes from under it. 

2. Naglinga: 
The Naglinga here is the largest Monolithic Naglinga in India. History says that this was built in just an hour by the sculptors while their lunch was being prepared. 

3. Durga Padam or the footprint of Maa Sita: The Lepakshi Temple owes its fame to the remarkable attractions it has. One among these is the Durga Padam which makes the place more pious. 

4. Lepakshi Saree Designs: 
On your arrival at this grand temple, you get a chance to glance at the beautiful Lepakshi saree designs that are carved on the pillars. The brilliantly carved textures are an epitome of creativity in the hands of Indian carvers. 




Tips For Visiting Lepakshi Temple

1. Carry a torch if you wish to visit the site during the evening time.
2. Wear appropriate and respectable clothing.
3. Keep hydrating yourself. Keep sipping some water occasionally to escape the ill-effects of heat.

How To Reach Lepakshi Temple

Well connected through main city via all means of transport. Bus services quite prominent. Lepakshi is reached by going north from Bengaluru, turn west at the Kodikonda checkpost on the Hyderabad highway NH 44. Lepakshi is 14 km away from Hindupur where there are bus and train links.

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