We have entered 2022 and the travel and tourism sector is slowly getting back on its feet. One of the major travel trends in this post-COVID world has been short, self-drive weekend trips to nearby destinations. If you are in Bangalore (or Bengaluru) or plan to be there anytime soon, you must consider visiting the quaint village of Lepakshi. Located in Andhra Pradesh’s Anantpur district, at a distance of around 120km from Bangalore, Lepakshi makes for a great day trip. Club this with Nandi Hills, and you have an interesting weekend break.
Famous for its age-old shrines, Lepakshi is steeped in mythological grandeur. According to the Valmiki Ramayana, it is believed that this was the place where Ram had met the dying Jatayu and had helped him achieve salvation by uttering the words ‘Le Pakshi’ or “Rise, oh bird” in Telegu. This is how the place got its name. The larger-than-life sculptures and exquisite friezes here are a rich repository of stories from Hindu mythology.
Lepakshi has several shrines dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, Papanatheswar, Raghunath, Ram, and other deities. Whether it is the smaller carvings on the pillars of the Veerabhadra Temple or the monolithic Nandi, said to be the largest in the world, the finesse and skill of the artisans of the Vijayanagara dynasty are evident in sculptures throughout the town.
However, if you are in the town one thing which you must visit is Lepakshi temple or Veerabhadra Temple. The temple is full of mysteries that will leave your mouth wide open.
So, read on to know the mysteries of the Lepakshi temple…..
The Lepakshi temple, also known as the Veerbhadra temple is one among the marvels of ancient Indian architecture. Carved out of rock, this magnificence in stone speaks volumes about the great Vijayanagara Empire.
The shrine dedicated to Lord Veerabhadra, the Lepakshi Temple is an exhibition of timeless art that includes beautiful frescoes and murals. Much of the temple is built on a low, rocky hill called Kurmasailam (“tortoise hill” in Telugu) – inspired by the shape of the hill.
Walking around the temple, you will discover the glory of the Vijayanagara kingdom which gave patronage to artists who created these amazing pictorial representations. Carved in its walls are images of musicians and saints. You will see beautiful dancing Ganesha moorti, murtis of Mata Parvati, and Lord Shiva. There is also a cave chamber here where Sage Agasthya is said to have lived. There are 70 pillars in this Veerabhadra Temple.
One of the major highlights of the temple is the Hanging Pillar, which seems like the 70 other pillars in the vicinity, but does not rest on the ground. Do keep an eye out for the footprints of Sita while exploring the temple complex.
The temple stands as a great reminder of the cultural and architectural heritage of the Vijayanagara empire. The stone idols of musicians, saints, and deities have been skilfully carved. Also of special note here is the famous snake sculpture on the Nagalinga. Legend has it that the snake was carved out of a single stone while the sculptors were waiting for lunch. You can also visit the temples of Papanatheswara, Raghunatha, Srirama, and Durga located on the nearby hillock known as Kurma Saila, or the tortoise-shaped hill.