Bangalore- Lepakshi Temple Trip

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13th Jul 2019
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One Day Trip

Lepakshi is a small village near Hindupur in Anantpur District. You can have a look at some of the rare mural paintings from Vijaynagar era that adorn this ancient 16th century Veerabhadra temple.

The temple built in the Vijaynagar style has an inscription that says it was built by one Virupanna whose family deity was Veerabhadra. The temple, renowned for the largest monolith Nandi stands a few metres away from the main temple complex. It is carved out of a single rock and is 20 feet high and is 30 feet long. A multi hooded Naga Linga stand opposite the Nandi in the main shrine.

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A massive Bala Ganesha greets you as you enter. The deities Shiva and Vishnu face each other, while in the centre is Veerabhadra. When you will walk around, Natyamantapa will lures you. This is where the Gods make music. Brahma is on the cymbal, Narada on the tampura, and Shiva in his Nataraja avatar amongst other heavenly artists. Mesmerising us with their instruments, costumes, and ornaments, they seem to create divine melodies. The sun’s rays touch the large sculptures in the unfinished Kalyanamantapa of the temple.

Unheard Folklores:

 Virupanna,a merchant and treasurer of the Vijaynagar emperor , Achutadevaraya decided to build a temple here when he found a sculpture of Veerabhadra. He used the money from the treasury for the same when the king was away. The temple was almost completed, except for the kalyanamandapam, when the king returned to find his treasury empty and the temple built without his permission. He ordered that Virupanna be blinded , but the merchant decided to punish himself by banging against the wall near the Kalyanamandapa .The two red marks are said to be his blood stains when the merchant gorged his own eyes out. The village is said to be called Lepa –akshi, meaning a village of the blinded eye.

From one of the episodes of Ramayana: “Le pakshi said Lord Rama to Jatayu, the bird asking it to get up”. Ravana had chopped off its wings and Lord Rama found the bird fallen right here in this village. That is why it is called Lepakshi.

 The hill on which the temple is built is called Kurmasaila as it resembles a tortoise.

 The giant multihooded Naga Linga was said to have constructed out of a single boulder in such speed; apparently even before the cook had finished cooking for the workers. But a crack soon appeared in the boulder that it looks like the sculpture is split in the middle, towards its base. The sculptor’s mother was so taken in by her son’s work that she praised him, but her words only caused an evil eye and the crack appeared.

 The unfinished Kalayanamandapam was built where Shiva and Parvati were believed to have got married. A large carved foot on the ground filled with water perennially is said to be Sita’s foot. It is also said its Goddess Durga‘s foot when she visited here ,. You can see there, the carved thali like plates on the ground. The locals were fed here.

 There is Shiva as a mendicant testing the devotion of Sriyala and his parents by asking them to kill their only son and feed him. Pleased by their devotion, he restores their dead son back to them.

Best weather to travel: Do not travel during summers as it gets extremely hot during daytime and you will not be able to enjoy your trip to the fullest.

Best time to travel: It will be between months of June to December.

Temple Timings: Lepakshi temple timings are from 6 AM to 6 PM daily for Darshan. 7 AM to 7:30 AM is the Abhishek timing. Darshan is open on all days in a week.

Recommended dress code:

 Since most of the places covered are religious, please wear decent dress.

 Do not carry belts or leather bags etc.

Photography: Photography is not prohibited inside this temple so you can carry your camera.

Distance: It is around 120-140 km from Bangalore (depending on your location)

Road Condition: It is a beautiful stretch. Road condition is superb. You will have scenic views on both sides of the roads for most of the journey. You will see green lands on both sides and then Mountain View after those green lands. You will enjoy this beautiful route. The road is beautiful. You will have one of the best road trips.

Time taken in travelling: It will take around 2-2:30 hours to reach Lepakshi from Bangalore depending on your starting point.

Places you can visit:

 Lepakshi temple

Nandi Statue: located a mile before the main entrance of the temple. It is a spectacular 27 ft long and 15 ft monolithic sculpture biggest in India.

Itinerary:

 Start early from Bangalore and reach Veerbhadra temple directly. You can have breakfast on the way as there are many eateries throughout the way.

 On returning, you can stop for the Nandi Statue

Facts:

 The hanging pillar is a bit dislodged from its original position. A British engineer tried to move it in an unsuccessful attempt to uncover the secret of its support and this is the reason behind this shift.

 There is a giant Ganesha statue in the temple’s outer enclosure. I was astonished to witness a gigantic Nagalinga with three coils and seven hoods here which probably is the largest one in my country.

 The name of the hanging pillar is the Aakaasa Sthambha. The pillars and walls of the temple have the images of a divine entity, dancers, saints, musicians, and 14 avatars of Shiva. You will find three separate Mandapas in the Lepakshi Temple.

 The first one is Mukhya Mandapa (or Natya or Ranga Mandapa), Artha Mandapa and Garva Griha comprises the second one and the third one is Kalyana Mandapa. The last Mandapa is unfinished.

 The temple is built on a low, rocky hill called Kurmasailam — which means tortoise hill in Telugu. The shape of the hill resembles a tortoise.

 Devotees worship Shiva in the ferocious mood named as Veerbhadra. Veerbhadra was worshipped during wars in ancient and medieval periods as the warrior god.

 The Lepakshi temple has the finest specimens of mural paintings of the Vijayanagar kings.Fresco of Veerabhadra on the ceiling before the antechamber is the largest in India of any single figure. The scenes of Rama and Krishna from famous epics Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas are the main subjects of the paintings of the inner hall and the fresco technique with bright colors is used to do the artwork.

 A frieze depicting a flock of geese with lotus stalks in their beaks is simply awesome. The entire temple is adorned with flawless carvings and all of them are done with the intricate details.

 A blend of vegetable and mineral colours makes the walls of the Lepakshi temple extraordinary and vibrant.

 The statuettes of goddesses Yamuna and Ganga in the entrance gate is marvellous.

 Decorations in the form of carvings of soldiers and horses on the exterior columns made me speechless. Here, you can see Lord Brahma playing drums, heavenly maiden Rambha performing dance and Lord Shiva engaged in ‘Ananda Tandava’.

 The carvings of dancing nymphs around it mesmerized me. The image of Parvati surrounded by the female attendants decorates the southwest hall.

 Abhishek to Lord and Mother is done and devotees offer clothes during puja. Sweet pudding called Sarkarai Pongal Nivedhana is also a custom here.

 Sadari blessing with the lotus feet of the Lord Vishnu is offered to devotees. The prasad in the temple is the beetle leaf.

 Lepakshi Temple also has the idols of Ganesha, Nandi, Veerabhadra, Shiva, Bhadrakali, Vishnu and Lakshmi.

Do’s

 Also, I will recommend starting early in the morning as it will become hot in the noon time.

Don’ts

 Do not start late.

 Do not wear in appropriate clothes. Please do maintain the sanity of the place.