This is the story of how I did a weekend ride from Bangalore to the quaint little town of LePakshi, which is famous for the hanging pillar within the compound of Veerbhadra Temple, rolled up snake throne and a monolithic statue of Nandi - the chariot of Shiva, the Hindu God.
A regular job brings a lot of securities in your life. You get to pay your bills, buy whatever you want to (as long as the things you want are covered by what you earn) and you have basic financial security. But on the flip side, you don't really get much time for yourself. It becomes a never ending circle of working, earning, earning some more, but not being able to get time for your own self. And I went through the same phase. My work was all consuming and it got very difficult to find time to do anything I wanted to. Which brings me to this ride - I ended up searching for places where I could go to and be back before the end of the weekend, and found LePakshi! It was the most fascinating, and the most feasible option.
The always reliable CBR250 - Partner in most of my riding adventures
I set off on the road at 1300 hours (Saturdays were half working days). This was a short ride of about 3 hours on open highway, and I had reached the hotel by 1600 hours with a few short breaks in between. Clouds that day were amazing! I kept getting the feeling that it was going to rain any minute, but that didn't happen. Yet, the clouds remained - huge white masses hovering over the roads threatening to reign down any second.
It's not the destination, it's the journey!
Let me point out an issue with the accommodation options present around LePakshi - There is just one. The APTDC Resort is the only stay option in the area, all the other hotels are in the next town, which is 13 kilometers, or about half an hour's drive. APTDC property gets full on weekends, so you have to do your bookings about a month in advance. I had done this, so I got a room, and was very happy about it.
Cheap thrills, is what fuels life!
You can book the hotel here - https://tourism.ap.gov.in/home
The next morning started with a visit to the most fascinating Nandi statue - It is said to be the biggest monolithic structure in India, and sits with its face towards the Nagalinga inside the Veerbhadra temple, which is a few steps from the statue itself. I clicked pictures from all possible angles, but am still not able to justice to the sheer size of this statue.
Don't really need a signboard to describe the gravity of this statue, but the board is still a welcome addition to the surroundings
The great Nandi statue in all its glory!
The temples were constructed during the Vijayanagara King's period (1336-1646). There is a very interesting story behind the name of this village - the center of the village is where Jatayu (the giant eagle demigod from Ramayana) had fallen down after a furious airborne battle with Ravana. This battle happened when Ravana was abducting Sita from her home. Jatayu had heard the cries of Sita, and came to help. Ravana was a great warrior, and ended up defeating Jatayu, who fell down to the ground. When Ram came looking for Sita and found Jatayu in dying state, he had said,"Le Pakshi" which roughly translates to "Hey bird please get up". This is a very popular story that most of the guides will tell you amidst these ruins.
As I mentioned before, cloud cover was pretty cool that day
Next up during this Odyssey was the Veerbhadra temple and the most famous hanging pillar. There are a lot of pillars in the temple compound, but one stands out - This particular pillar is a few millimeters above the ground. It doesn't touch the floor and is just hanging from one end. It is said that somehow this pillar is a part of all the other load bearing pillars, and if they try removing it, the whole building will collapse. Don't know how much truth is behind this, but I did try passing my handkerchief through the bottom of the pillar, and it came out on the other end. So I can vouch for the hanging-ness of this one pillar at least!
The hanging pillar accompanied by other normal pillars
Next up, is the coiled serpent statue with a shivling sitting on top of it. It felt like the throne of the shivling. This sits behind the temple within the compound walls. I don't know the story or history behind this, but it looked pretty cool. And I would recommend a visit to this place, even if it is just to witness the shivling sitting on a coiled serpent throne!
This one single-handedly made the whole ride justified! Majestic!
I was now done with the main attractions at the place, and the day had not even started yet! It was around 12 in the noon. So I started exploring the village. And I found another spot which was amazing! This was on top of a huge boulder right behind the village. I saw a few village kids climbing this boulder and that piqued my interest. So I followed them and soon found myself climbing the boulder. There was a clear walkway going all the way up to the top. All I had to do was follow the kids and try to stay stable in the narrow valley. The other side was a sheer drop. I clearly did not fall, and was able to reach the top. Following is the range of views I got from there, for your viewing pleasure.
A small temple on the top of the huge boulder
And I made a time-lapse of the clouds here. On my Garmin VIRB action cam. I am not able to embed this in the body here, do check the link out. It came out really well.
The returning ride was mostly uneventful. I just followed the highway back to Bangalore. Clouds were still there and it rained in a few places, which was a welcome addition and a good contrast from the day before.
And this brings me to the end of this post. I did this ride in 2017 for the first time. And then I went back in 2018. A lot had changed in one year. The boulder on which I climbed? The authorities have converted that into an attraction area. They have cordoned the whole site and have turned it into a mini amusement park. The deadly cliff I climbed on to? That has steel railings now. The temple and the Nandi statue remain unchanged for the most part. But there is an overbearing sense of over development (Is this a thing?) in this small village, which is ruining the attractions. But who am I to judge?
As a parting note, I would shamelessly implore you to check out my previous post about doing skinny dipping at the Butterfly Beach in Goa.
If you are really interested in visiting this village, do have a look at this post from revolving compass that covers some interesting parts about the history of LePakshi as well -
If you like this story, and want to check out more adventures which are similar in nature, check out my website. I do not have much content up currently, but am publishing stories on a regular basis and will soon have a lot of stuff for you to read up on -