Lepakshi

Lepakshi is a small village located in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. It is mainly popular for its magnificent temples and sculptures built during the reign of Vijayanagara empire. Being located not very far from Bangalore, this can be an interesting day trip from the city. Take a ride back in time and loose yourself in the world of mythology.   

 

How To Reach There?

 

Lepakshi is located 15km away from Hindupur, a major city in Anantapur district of Andhra pradesh. The village is around 120km from Bangalore. The easiest way to get there is by your personal vehicle. You might take around 2 to 2.5 hours to reach there by car. Take the airport road until you see a left deviation to Lepakshi soon after the border town of Bagepalli. 

 

If you are planning to take the public transport, there are a few direct buses (8AM, 11AM) from Majestic bus station in Bangalore. You can also take a bus from Bangalore to Hindupur from Majestic or Yelahanka. There are also several private buses plying from Yelahanka. From Hindupur, there are regular buses to Lepakshi. 

 


History

 

Lepakshi gets its name from an event in Ramayana, that is believed to have been taken place here. When Sita is kidnapped by Ravana and was being taken away in his Pushpaka vimana (aircraft), he was confronted by Jatayu, the kite. In that fight, Jatayu loses to Ravana and falls to the ground wounded. When Rama reaches the spot later, he sees the bird and addresses him thus - Le Pakshi – “Wake up, O Bird”. It was here that the bird was finally offered Moksha (Salvation) by Lord Rama. 

 

Yugas (Generations/a long period of years) passed and in the in the 16th century, Virupanna, a chieftain of the Vijayanagara empire gets his dumb son cured at this very same place. As a gratitude to the almighty, he decides to build a temple for lord Veerabdhra. 


Some interesting stories surround this construction. Virupanna took special interest in the contrstuction of the temple. It is said that his dead father appeared in his dream to reveal to him about the location of a hidden treasure. This recovered treasure helped finance the temple construction. 

 

However, as the temple reached completion, the Vijayanagara kingdom saw a transfer of power. The new ruler doubted Virupanna’s loyality and believed that he had misused the dynasty treasure for his selfish needs. As a punishment, Virupanna was ordered to be blinded. Listening to this news, the chieftain plucked his eyes off himself and threw them on a temple wall. The red stains on a wall in the temple premises, is considered as a proof to this incident. After the death of the chieftain, the temple work was abandoned. The temple thus remains incomplete. 

 


Things To See Or Do

 

Nandi Statue



The first thing you will witness as soon as you enter the village of Lepakshi is the huge Nandi sculpture. It is facing the Veerbadha temple on top of the hill before it. This sculpture is believed to be the third largest Nandi in the country. 

 

Veerabhadra Temple



The temple is dedicated to Veerbadhra and lord Shiva. The temple complex has a wide outer veranda with shrines for gods and goddesses inside. Inscriptions in old Kannada language, narrate tales from Vijayanagar times. On the outer sanctum are rest areas for devotees with roofs with overhangs and cutouts to tie cradles. Make sure to view the hanging pillar in the veranda. 


Outside the main shrine, a foot carved on a rock is worshipped as the foot of  Sita (Sita pada). 

 

Murals



After the horrific incident of Virupanna loosing his eyesight, the sculptors abandoned the temple work. But before leaving, they painted the ceiling and walls of the temple with the complete design they had in mind. The ceiling and walls thus turned as huge canvas with images of Veerabadra, lord Shiva and other tales from the life during those times. 

 

Nagalinga Statue





This is one of the most iconic sculptures of Lepakshi. There is an interesting story behind this as well. The sculptors carved the snake while their mother was cooking lunch for them. When she came back with food, she was surprised to see this beautiful creation. It is believed that her drishti (Vision) left a crack on the idol.  A Chauthi Ganesha is carved on one side of this sculpture.

  

Kalyana Mantapa 





Kalyana mantapa (wedding hall) is incomplete with just the pillars. But the intricate carvings on the pillars hint at an extravagant design plan

 

Jataayu Park

 

Jatayu park is a small park located in the village. It consists of a well maintained garden, a statue of Jatayu on top of a rock. You can climb up to the statue. A nominal fee of Rs10 is charged as entry. 

 


Where To Stay Or Eat

 

Haritha hotel is probably the only good accommodation available. It is run by the Andhra tourism department. You can book a stay through their website.


Sri Venkateshwara hotel is a good vegetarian restaurant to enjoy some local cuisine.




Nearby Places To Visit –


If you are planning a day trip from Bangalore, you could fit in a few other activities in your plan. From Lepakshi, you can continue your journey to Puttaparthi. Or explore the small town of called Penukonda. On your way back, you can stop at Bhoganandishwara temple and drive up the Nandi hills to view the sunset . 



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