Day trip to Lepakshi is must if you are in or around Bangalore (Bengaluru). We are big road trip fans and one weekend we impromptu decided to go to this architectural marvel. We researched about this place and was fascinated by its beauty and history both.
Lepakshi, a charming village situated in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, is part of the Anantpur District. It is about 120 km from Bangalore in Karnataka and 15 km from the town of Hindpur. Although small, the hamlet has a lot of ancient and devout significance for the locals.
It is a perfect day outing place if you are into history ruins and love to explore to architectural beauty of Indian temples. We started our trip around 8 am. A road trip gives some awe-inspiring views on the way to lepakshi. If you do not wish to drive, you can rent a cab or try for the bus service. There are many private as well as government buses which run on this route. There are Volvo’s, AC buses and sleeper bus which run by government and private bus dealers. You must book the bus in advance to get a seat of your choice.
History of Lepakshi: As per the legends, it is said that this temple has an implication in the Ramayana. Per which, it is supposed that at this place the bird Jatayu fell. The bird was wounded because of the battle and he was carrying Sita, wife of Lord Rama. When the Lord saw the bleeding and wounded bird, "Le Pakshi" were the words which came out of his mouth. These words mean "Rise Bird" in the local language.
Weather in Lepakshi: The weather in Lepakshi remains pleasant for the most part of the year, except for in summers when it can become exceedingly hot.
Recommended Road Journey:
We drove to Lepakshi. You can hire a cab or take your own car for this journey. It will not take more than two hours in a car and you will enjoy driving down the beautiful and amazing villages on your way. There are 2 routes to reach Lepakshi from Bangalore and we highly recommend taking the below route for the journey as the road ae very scenic and more beautiful.
Bangalore - Hebbal - Yelahanka - Doddaballapura - Gauribidanur - Hindupur - Lepakshi.
Add some fun to your travel and take a stop at Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum which is an amazing thing you must visit. Later you will come across the Jayaprakash Narayan Biodiversity Park which is another place where you will love to stop and spend some time. For nature lovers, there is Lumbini Gardens on the way and you can relax there and have some tea and snacks on your way.
What not to miss in Lepakshi: The place is famous in south India for three temples that are dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Virabhadra.
• A Monolithic Nandi: the first structure you will encounter, just 200 meters before the main temple complex is this India’s biggest monolithic Nandi.
This Nandi is made up of granite. The size of the Nandi bull is 4.5 m tall and 8.23 m wide, and it is positioned such that it faces the huge Nagalinga of the veerbhadra temple. It is a perfect example of brilliant artistry and beauty.
• Veerabhadra Temple: Built during Vijayanagara King period, the priceless Veerabhadra Swamy Temple in Lepakshi is perched on a tortoise shaped hill called the Kurma Saila. The architecture dates to 16th century and is a feast to art and history lovers.
This ancient temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Veerabhadra and has beautifully carved inscriptions on each pillar. Every pillar has a unique carving on it that makes any art lover rejoice with pleasure.
The temple defines magnificence with majestic sculptors and intricately carved mandapams. One mandapam at the temple particularly stands out with life-size dancers and musicians sculpted on the pillar.
• Natya Mantap: As soon as you enter the temple you can see a lot of pillars called as Natya Mantap or the dancing hall. There are 70 carved pillars and each one has a unique carving on it and going through each of them itself can reveal a lot of stories embedded within them.
As you look up you can notice the paintings on the ceiling depicting several stories like wedding of Siva and Parvathi, wars, folks praying
• Hanging Pillar: The marvelous wonder to this temple is the Hanging Pillar. The temple is supported by 80 pillars, out of which one hanging pillar balances the weight of rest of the 79 pillars.
It is said that, in the past some British tried to move this hanging pillar but resulted in cracks and crevices into rest of the structure.
• Nagling: Within the temple boundaries, to the eastern side , There is the beautiful sculpture of seven headed serpent shading above the Shiva-linga which finds its way into almost every article or blog post about Lepakshi.
This is the most interesting part for all the photographers and visitors.
• An incomplete Kalyan Mantap: Backside of the Nagling, is an incomplete kalyan mantap which has unique story attributes to its incompleteness. The false accusation against Virupanna Nayak, the architecture of the temple, of not having taken permission from the king for building the kalyan mantap and spending the money unnecessarily led to the incompleteness of the Kalyan Mantap.
per legends, the wedding of Shiva with Parvati took place. This pier has several pillars full of sculptures. All the sculptures are of Gods who came to bless the couple. Few of the pillars are broken and lay on the platform.
• Sita Mata Foot print: According to the stories of the place, there is a footprint of Sita in the place and many devotees come to see this magnificent thing from the past.
Some Pro Tips:
• Visit the temple early mornings/ evenings to avoid the sun burns as it can get very hot in the afternoon.
• Guides are available to take you through the guided tour and will explain you the history of the temple along with meaning of the ceiling carvings and pillar carvings.
• Carry food as there are not many good restaurants near the temple complex. You can enjoy the delicious south Indian food at some stalls which are there at the entrance of the Lepakshi village.
• For Photography, this is the fantastic place to shoot some amazing pictures. Don’t forget to carry your Camera. Try to wear a traditional in respect of the religious significance of the temple.
Our trip to Lepakshi was refreshing and it is one of wonderful place to visit for those who like to visit heritage sites and looking for spiritual retreat. The amazing vijaynagara style architecture and the mural paintings will leave you awestruck