Saturday, June 20, 2015

Lepakshi - The land of Veerabhadra

Lepakshi is a small village located in Anantapur District of Andhra Pradesh, India. Lepakshi Temple is historically and archaeologically significant as it has three shrines dedicated to Shiva,Vishnu and Veerabhadra. These shrines were built during the Vijayanagara Kings' period (1336–1646). Lepakshi is famous for the Hanging Pillar in the main hall of the Veerabhadra Temple.The place is known for mural paintings of the Vijayanagar kings. Many Kannada inscriptions dating back centuries can be seen on its walls. Legend has it that the Naga of the Nagalinga in Lepakshi was carved out of a single stone by sculptors while they waited for their mothers to prepare lunch.Another attraction in Lepakshi is the largest Monolithic Nandi Statue in India

Things to See

  1. Hanging Pillar
  2. Largest Monolithic Nandi
  3. Monolithic Nagalinga
  4. Lepakshi Saree Designs
  5. Durga Padam
  6. Mural Paintings
  7. 100-pillared dance hall

Hanging Pillar

Every pillar here is a masterpiece. One of the most interesting one is that of the suspended pillar in the main hall supposed to be the reception hall of Shiva Parvathy marriage. This is the pillar which does not rest on the ground fully. There are about 70 pillars at this fabulous 16th-century temple of stone in Vijayanagar style, but this one is the best known and a tribute to the engineering genius of ancient and medieval India’s temple builders. However, it is a bit dislodged from its original position.It is said that during the British era, a British engineer tried to move it in an unsuccessful attempt to uncover the secret of its support.

Hanging Pillar of Lepakshi

Hanging Pillar, Lepakshi

Mural Paintings

The Lepakshi temple also has the finest specimens of mural paintings of the Vijayanagar period. We were informed that the 24 by 14 ft fresco of Veerabhadra on the ceiling before the main sanctum sanctorum is the largest in India of any single figure. The rest of the frescoes are also beautiful and show an impressive attention to detail with colors strikingly contrasted — black limework against an orange-red background with some green, white, black, and shades of ochre-gold and brown mostly applied to a stucco surface specially treated with lime. The fresco in the ceiling of ardha mantapa (ante chamber), which is said to be Asia's largest, measures 23 by 13 feet (7.0 m × 4.0 m). It has frescoes of the 14 avatars of Lord Shiva as: Yogadakshinamurthy,Chandes Anugraha Murthy, Bhikshatana,Harihara,Ardhanarishwara Kalyanasundara, Tripuranthaka, Nataraja, Gouriprasadaka, Lingodhbava, Andhakasurasmahara and so forth. However, these frescoes are peeling off in many places and in need of better maintenance and expert restoration

Mural paintings on the ceiling of lepakshi temple

Mural Paintings of Vijayanagara Period, Lepakshi


Monolithic snake structure in Lepakshi is the Largest Monolithic Nagalinga in India. It is believed that, this Nagalinga was constructed in just 1 hour by the sculptures while their mother was cooking lunch for them. When mother finished cooking she saw this gigantic sculpture & could not believe what she was seeing & it seems that her evil eyes (bhoorii aankhein) fell on this sculpture & it was damaged then & there.

Monolithic Nagalinga in Lepakshi temple andrapradesh

Monolithic Nagalinga, Lepakshi

Lepakshi Nandi

The monolithic "Nandi" sculpture in Lepakshi, is said to be the biggest monolithic Nandi in India. It is 4.5m high and 8.23m long. The big granite bull is on the main road, approximately 200 meters from the temple. It has been positioned such that it faces the shivalinga shielded by a huge serpent inside the temple. It is the second largest monolith in India, after Gomateshwara. The Nandi sports a huge kaasu malai, a bell chain, earrings and other jewelry.

Monolithic Nandi of Lepakshi is the Biggest Monolithic Nandi in India, Indian Globetrotting

Lepakshi Nandi

Veerabhadra Temple

The Veerabhadra Temple of Lepakshi is a notable example of the Vijayanagara architectural style. It is renowned for its sculptures, which were created by the artisans of the Vijayanagara empire.There are many peculiarities in this temple such as a rock chain, Vastu Purush, the Padmini Race Lady, Durga Paadam, Lepakshi saree designs, 100-pillared dance hall, beautiful and intricate carvings, paintings on the ceilings, the hanging pillar that barely touches the ground, the monolithic Nagalinga, the monolithic Nandi, the unfinished wedding hall and others. The paintings on the roof are done in natural pigments. One noted spot in the temple is the "Eyes of Viroopaakshanna".

The temple’s main deity is Veerabhadra, the fiery god created by Shiva in his rage after the Daksha Yagna and the immolation of Parvathi. Before having Darshan of this deity it’s important to pray to Ganesha & for this there is a huge Ganesha carved out of a single stone just outside the main temple. There are several forms of Shiva here — a majestic Kankala Murthi, Dakshinamurthi (Guru of Gurus), Tripuranthaka or Tripurasurasamhara (vanquisher of demon Tripura); Ardhanareeshwara (the half-female, half-male form, where Shiva and Parvati are equally represented in one body), etc. Another shrine has the fiery goddess Bhadrakali, though bearing an uncharacteristically serene expression.

Connection with Ramayana

The historic town of Lepakshi has been connected with an occurring of the Indian epic of Ramayana. According to the Valmiki's Ramayana, when Ram accompanied by Hanuman, met the dying Jatayu, they helped him attain moksha by uttering the words "Le Pakshi," which is Telugu means "Rise, bird". Hence the name, Lepakshi.

Best Time To Visit Lepakshi

The best time to visit the Lepakshi is throughout the year.

How to Reach Lepakshi

From Bengaluru, Lepakshi can be reached by going west at Kodikonda checkpost on Hyderabad highway NH 7. Alternatively, one can take a bus or a train to Hindupur and then travel to Lepakshi. Lepakshi is 14 km away from Hindupur.

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  2. Wow, loved the picture of the Nagalinga--what an amazing piece of architecture. I had not heard about this place until your article. Thank you for sharing about such an interesting historical place!

  3. I would love to visit here one day! Love the information and pictures. 😊

  4. I so need more cash so I can travel more...

  5. This place is magical! Will add this to the places Iyearn to visit. Would love to be immersed in such a culturally historic place such as Lepakshi

  6. Love the picture of the Nagalinga! What an amazing architecture here! looks like a magical place!

  7. Lepakshi is a wonderful post in this blog. It is one of the best place to visit in Anantapur District. Thanks for sharing about this wonderful post in this blog. Loved to read this blog. Want to visit this place? then book your bus tickets in advance in leading Online Bus Ticket Booking portal.