The history of building of Lepakshi temples is one of most captivating and full of surprises. It is said that the temple was built in 1530 by two brothers Virupanna Nayaka and Viranna who were the Governors during the rule of King Achutaraya of the Vijayanagara Empire. Virupanna was accused of drawing the royal treasury funds without king’s permission. He therefore, blinded himself to save from the kings punishment. One can see the two dark stains upon the wall near the Kalyana Mandapa, which are said to be the marks made when he threw his eyes on the temple wall.
Lepakshi name has connection with Epic Ramayana. It is said to be the place where Jatayu died while trying to save Sita from Ravana who was trying to abduct her. It is said that when Ram saw Jatayu dying he called ” Le Pakshi” which means “Rise Bird” in Telegu which is the local language.
My journey to Lepakshi from Hyderabad
I took an overnight train from Hyderabad to Hinupur which is the the nearest Railway station to reach Lepakshi which is located at the distance of about 15 kms. I reached early morning at 6:30 am. You can either take a bus or shared auto or auto to reach Leepakshi from Hindupur. I decided to take a shared auto which costed just Rs. 10/- to reach Leepakshi by 7 am leaving a whole day to explore the historic place.
Leepakshi is also closely located from Bangalore at a distance of 120 kms.
Major attractions in Lepakshi:
The Veerabhadra temple built in 16th century is dedicated to deity Veerabhadra. The huge temple complex is built with beautifully carved pillars with sculptures of dancers, musicians and animals.
Inside the temple is the famous Hanging pillar which is standing for more than 4 centuries without any support from bottom and is a remarkable piece of architecture of Vijayanagara style of architecture.
Paintings in the Mukha Mandapa: The roof of the Mukha mandapa are adorned with beautiful paintings
Another important place is to see is the 7 headed serpent Naaga shading the lingam sculpture. Behind the Naga linga sculpture on the rock is sculpted Ganesh and an image of worshiping of Linga.
Next to the Naga linga is the pillars of an incomplete structure which if completed could have been a masterpiece.
Shiva’s Bull Nandi Sculpture:
About half kms from Veerabhadra temple is the huge monolithic sculpture of Shiva’s Nandi carved out of single granite rock. It is 4.5 m high and 8.23 m long and is said to be the biggest monolithic Nandi sculptures in India. The Nandi is facing the Nagalinga in Veerbhadhra temple. Unlike other Nandi statues, the Nandi head is held at a higher angle instead of other Nandi statues found in submissive mode with head bowing down. The Nandi is built beautifully with bells and ornaments. The sitting posture is extremely beautiful with tail coming between the legs giving it the most natural appearance.
- Being a hot place, the best time to visit Lepakshi is winters from November – February.
- It is best to visit in the early morning when the crowd is less.
- If you have time, you can also visit Tadpatri another historical place near Leepakshi.