Marvel at the Veerabhadra Temple, Lepakshi Temple

Marvel At The Veerabhadra Temple, Lepakshi

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I remember it was one of those days at the office when the weekend was coming and all I wanted to do was take a day’s trip somewhere. While talking with my friends, I heard about the hanging pillar and the temple of stories on the outskirts of Bangalore. I was quite psyched and the next morning we set off for a day’s journey to the Veerabhadra temple in Lepakshi.

Lepakshi Temple Wonders

Lepakshi is a small village located in the Anantapur district on the Karnataka-Andhra Pradesh border. The Veerabhadra temple of Lepakshi is known for its culture, archaeology, and Vijayanagara architectural style. This lesser-known destination is distinguished as one of the 108 (Divya kshetras) Shiva temples of India. The 16th-century temple was built by Virupanna Nayaka and Viranna, both brothers who were Governors under the Vijayanagar Empire.

Lepakshi Temple

The Story Behind The Name Lepakshi

  • Lepakshi is attributed to the place where Jatayu fell after being wounded by Ravana. Rama is said to have commanded the bird to rise ”Le Pakshi”, literally meaning “Get up, bird” in Telugu and hence the name. 
  • Another story tells that the name is derived from “Lepa Akshi”, meaning “Blinded eye”, referring to the rust-colored stains on a wall which is believed to be the marks left behind by the bloodshed from the eyes of Virupanna and Viranna.
The bloodshed at Lepakshi Temple
Bloodshed on the wall

Best Time To Visit

Timings: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM | Throughout the year

The best time to visit this ancient temple is during Lepakshi Utsavam, a two-day cultural festival celebrated every year in February or March. Various programs and performances are organized to amuse the people.

Entry Fee: Free

Parking: Available

Guide: You can hire a guide on the temple premises at an additional cost, who can explain in detail the temple’s history.

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How To Reach?

By Air

The closest airport is Kempegowda International Airport Bangalore (102 Km, Airport code – BLR). It takes about 2 hours to reach Lepakshi from the airport by car/bike.

By Train

Hindupur railway station (14 Km, Station code – HUP) is the nearest train station to Lepakshi. This station has frequent trains to Bangalore, Mysore, and Vijayawada. From here you can hire a tuk-tuk to reach the temple.

By Bus

About 120 Km from Bangalore, Lepakshi is well connected with Anantpur, Hindupur, and Bangalore by bus. The preferred route to reach the temple is via NH 44.

Where To Stay?

You can stay at the state-run Lepakshi Haritha Hotel for a reasonable price which is located near the Nandi Statue. It also has an Andhra-themed restaurant. Only a few hotels are available near the Lepakshi temple that offers free wifi and parking facilities. As visiting this temple won’t take much time, we recommend you stay in Bangalore.

 

Where To Eat?

Carry food with you as there are only limited food options available near the temple. You can also find a few restaurants and cafes along the Bangalore highway.

Network Availability

Inside the temple premises, you will have a decent mobile network.

ATM Availability

There are two ATMs within walking distance from the temple. It is always good to have some cash, as ATMs may run out of cash anytime since it’s a place of tourist attraction.

5 Interesting Things About The Lepakshi Temple

The Hanging Pillar

The hanging pilar at Lepakshi temple

One of the major attractions in the temple is the hanging pillar which is seen in the Natya Mandapa or the Dance Hall. Out of 70 other pillars in the vicinity, one pillar has a gap between the base of the pillar and the ground through which cloth and paper can be passed, indicating the pillar is not supported by the ground. Another highlight of this place is the three-dimensional Gopalakrishna mural on the roof that gives you an illusion that it’s looking towards you no matter where you stand.

Giant Footprint

The footprint with water

The 30-foot-long footprint engraved on the temple floor is believed to be of Lord Hanuman. Although the source of the water is unknown, this giant footprint is perpetually wet or filled with water which has been a mystery for several years.

Fresco Paintings

The paintings on the roof of the temple are made with natural pigments. The fresco in the ceiling of the Ardha Mandapa has 14 avatars of Lord Shiva and is said to be India’s largest single fresco painting, measuring 23×13 feet.

The Unfinished Mandapa and Bloodshed

The unfinished mandapa at Lepakshi

The incomplete open-air Kalyana Mandapa or the Marriage Hall which has 38 pillars is believed to be the venue of Shiva and Parvati’s wedding place. Legend says that the brothers, Virupanna and Veeranna were building the temple by stealing funds from the treasury without the king’s permission. When they were caught, he ordered them to be blinded, after which they had to abandon its construction midway. There are rust-colored stains on a wall outside the Kalyana Mandapa which are believed to be the marks left behind by the bloodshed from their eyes.

The Magnificient Nagalinga

Big nagalinga at Lepakshi

In this mythological temple, there is a carving of a seven-headed snake (Naga) providing an umbrella shelter over the granite Shiva Linga. This magnificent rock-cut sculpture is the largest Nagalinga in India. Next to it, there is also a monolithic sculpture of Lord Ganesha.

In The Vicinity of The Lepakshi Temple

Monolithic Nandi

Giant monolithic nandi at Lepakshi

A massive Nandi (bull) also known as Basavanna is about 200 m away from the temple.  At a height of 15 feet and a length of 27 feet, this monolithic Nandi is said to be the largest in the world. It is decorated with a necklace and a garland of bells.

Jatayu Park

The Jatayu park at Lepakshi

About 700 m from the temple, Jatayu Park has a beautiful garden and a small temple amidst the rocks. You can climb the stairs to reach the viewpoint where there is an eagle which represents Jatayu. You get the best view of the temple, Nandi, and the Lepakshi village from the top. This park was a later addition to attract tourists.

  • Timings: 9 AM to 6 PM
  • Entry Fee: Rs.10
  • Beware of monkeys

Have you been to any architectural wonders like this? Let us know in the comments, we would love to explore and share its story!

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