Devanahalli-Gudibanda-Lepakshi: Exploring the unknown 

Tripoto
15th Sep 2018

Veerbhadra Temple complex at Lepakshi

Photo of Devanahalli-Gudibanda-Lepakshi: Exploring the unknown by Sneha Basu
Day 1

When we think of road trips from Bangalore, the popular destinations come to mind; Coorg, Ooty, Wayanad, Munnar, Kodaikanal, Gokarna etc. But when you only have a day in hand and are dying to get out of the city, you can head towards Andhra Pradesh and explore lesser known destinations like Lepakshi. On the way you can also stop at Devanahalli and Gudibanda fort. This 120 km one way drive upto Lepakshi is a joy for those who like a long drive. Beautiful roads, pollution free air and greenery soothing the eyes, it's a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Photo of Devanahalli-Gudibanda-Lepakshi: Exploring the unknown by Sneha Basu

Devanahalli Fort

Situated 35 kms away from the city, close to the airport, Devanahalli Fort is the birthplace of Tipu Sultan. The outer structure of this 15th century fort is still intact with its twelve bastions. Inside the fort, there are numerous temples, the oldest and most famous being the Venugopalaswamy Temple. As soon as you enter the fort, this temple with its Dravidian style Shikara will fall on your right facing the main road. The temple has a spacious courtyard, its floors adorned with beautiful kolams and in its midst, lies the magnificant Garuda Stamba. With intricately carved pillars around, the inner sanctum is covered with walls with paintings from the Ramayana. The remaining area inside the fort is occupied with houses and smaller temples. We asked around and discovered that there was a beautiful Jain temple close by.

Garuda Stamba

Photo of Devanahalli Fort, Karnataka, India by Sneha Basu

Shri Nakoda Avanti 108 Parshwanath Jain Tirth Dham

One can also visit this beautiful Jain temple in Devanahalli, less than 5 minutes away from the fort. Still under construction, this 16 year old architectural marvel comprises of a central temple with an upper and lower sanctum, which is surrounded by 108 mini temples. We took a walk around covering all 108 temples and admiring the exquisite carvings of the central temple ceiling and pillars.

108 temples of Shri Nakoda Avanti 108 Parshwanath Jain Tirth Dham

Photo of Devanahalli-Gudibanda-Lepakshi: Exploring the unknown by Sneha Basu

From Devanahalli, we headed towards Gudibande Fort, grabbing a sumptuous South Indian breakfast at Nandi Upachar near the Nandi Hills turn.

Gudibande Lake and Fort

Driving across the lush greenery of Chikballapur, we passed the Gudibande lake (also known as the Bhairasagar Lake). With giant rocks immersed its clear waters and hilltops in the background, it sure paints a beautiful picture.

Gudibande Lake

Photo of Gudibanda, Karnataka, India by Sneha Basu

The Gudibande fort is 2 kms ahead of the lake, standing tall on a hilltop. Inspired by the architecture of Madhugiri fort, this multi level fort was built by local chieftain and Robin Hood, Byre Gowda, 400 years ago. To reach the fort, one has to climb, what may at first seem, a never ending flight of stairs. We started our climb in the afternoon sun, a tribe of goats giving us company. The stairs had sudden turns, areas of shade with large boulders strategically placed and a breathtaking view of the Gudibanda village. Midway, we were stopped by a couple returning from the top, who informed us that the fort was closed. Although we wanted to go ahead and check for ourselves, the scorching sun got the better of us. We headed back to our car and drove off to Lepakshi.

View while trekking to the Gudibande Fort

Photo of Devanahalli-Gudibanda-Lepakshi: Exploring the unknown by Sneha Basu

Lepakshi

Lepakshi, a town in Andhra Pradesh, is believed to be the sacred spot where Jatayu fell when Ravana felled its wings and when Lord Rama came to the spot, he uttered the words, "Le pakshi" meaning "Rise, O Bird", giving the town its name. As you enter Lepakshi, one can see a statue of Jatayu perched on a large boulder.

Jatayu theme park, Lepakshi

Photo of Lepakshi, Andhra Pradesh, India by Sneha Basu

The town is also famous for its temples built during the reign of the Vijayanagara kings. The main temple is that of Veerbhadra, a fiery form of Lord Shiva. The Veerbhadra Swamy temple houses many more deities like Lord Vishnu, Parvati, Bhadrakali etc. Exquisitely carved pillars hold up the Natya Mandapa, each pillar having a life like carving of gods and goddesses playing musical instruments. The temple complex also has the unfinished Ardhya Mandapa and the largest Nagalinga in the country.

Natya Mandapa

Photo of Devanahalli-Gudibanda-Lepakshi: Exploring the unknown by Sneha Basu

Ardhya Mandapa

Photo of Devanahalli-Gudibanda-Lepakshi: Exploring the unknown by Sneha Basu

Pillar carved with a statue of a god playing a musical instrument

Photo of Devanahalli-Gudibanda-Lepakshi: Exploring the unknown by Sneha Basu

Lepakshi is also home to the largest monolithic Nandi in the country. This colossal structure of Lord Shiva's bull is in close proximity from the Veerbhadra temple and will fall on the way.

Lepakshi Nandi

Photo of Devanahalli-Gudibanda-Lepakshi: Exploring the unknown by Sneha Basu

For those who enjoy experiences rich in history, religion and mythology, Devanahalli-Gudibanda-Lepakshi should be your next road trip from Bangalore. Pick a nice autumn day and head off on this long drive!

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