We wanted to have a small road trip on the first day of the year. We were discussing on 31st night about various options and finally concluded on the destination LEPAKSHI which is in Anatapur district in AP, and the distance is about 120 kms from my residence. Moreover, I read a lot about this place from our TAI
forum, posted by the members and looked very impressive. I thought of calling few of TAI
friends to find out their New Year’s Day program, and if they were free we would have all joined together and gone as a group. But unfortunately I couldn't reach anybody, and so only we two were there as usual. Never mind!!, We decided to go. Lepakshi
Lepakshi (Telugu: లేపాక్షి) is a small village and Mandal headquarters located in the Anantapur District, in Andhra Pradesh, India. It is 15 km (9.3 mi) east of Hindupur and about 120 km (75 mi) north of Bangalore. From Bangalore, it can be reached by going west at Kodikonda check post on Hyderabad highway NH 7. Alternatively, one could take a bus or a train to Hindupur and then travel to Lepakshi.
Lepakshi is very important historically and archaeologically. There are three shrines dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Virabhadra.
The famous Veerabhadra temple, dedicated to Veerabhadra, is located here. Built by the brothers Viranna and Virupanna, the temple is a notable example of theVijayanagar architectural style. It is famous for its sculptures, which were created by the artisans of Vijayanagara empire. A huge Nandi bull made out of a single granite stone is one of the attractions in Lepakshi.The place is renowned for being one of the best repository of mural paintings (see below) of the Vijayanagar Kings. Many oldKannada inscriptions dating back centuries can be seen on its walls. Legend has it that the Naga of the Nagalinga was carved out of a single stone by sculptors while they waited for their mother to prepare lunch. Temples of Lepakshi
There are three temples dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Virabhadra. On a hillock known as Kurma Saila (tortoise shaped hill), temples of 'Papanatheswara', 'Raghunatha', 'Srirama', 'Veerabhadra' and 'Durga' are located. Veerabhadra temple is the most important temple.
Lepakshi is an ultimate testimony for Vishwakarma Brahmins who sculpted these temples. It is believed that noted VishwakarmaAmarashilpi Jakanachari took part in the planning the architecture of these temples. There are many shila shasanas that the famous sculptors like Dakoju, Maroju took part in this temple sculpture. Points of interest in the Temple
There are many specialities in this temple like a rock chain, Vastu Purush, Padmini race Lady, the Hanging Pillar, Durga Paadam, Lepakshi saree designs etc. On the walls of this temple, several stories like the Mahabharatha, Ramayana are sculpted. On the roof are many beautiful paintings done by natural pigments. One noted spot in the temple is "Eyes of Viroopaakshanna". According to history, due to a misunderstanding with the temple's builder, the king ordered him to be blinded. Hearing this, the builder plucked out his own eyes and threw them at the wall. Even today those blood marks are evident on that particular wall. Lepakshi Nandi
The monolithic "Nandi" sculpture which is said to be the biggest monolithic Nandi in India, is synonymous with Lepakshi. It is 4.5 m high and 8.23m long.
The big granite bull is on the main road, about 200 metres from the temple. It has been positioned such that it faces the shivalinga shielded by a huge serpent inside the temple. Said to be the second largest monolith in India, after Gomateswara, the Nandi sports a huge kaasu malai, a bell chain, earrings and other jewellery.
- Courtesy Wikipedia
First we thought we would pack some food as there is no restaurant around Lepakshi, as per the information given by our member friends who visited this place. Later, we changed the mind and decided to go ahead and see.
We started around 9 am, after our breakfast at home. The roads were free from heavy traffic and were able to drive in a relaxed way even in suburban roads. In between there are two toll booths and the toll fee was Rs 130/- for round the trip. We reached the destination around 11 am. The temperature out there was round 26 degree C, and totally pleasant to walk around the place. First we parked the vehicle near a park where the famous Nandi Statue is made. The surrounding area of the Nandi is maintained very well and kept clean as well. We took numerous pictures from all angles and spent about half an hour, and then proceeded to the ancient temple which is 500 meters away from this place.
The temple is situated on a rock, little above the ground level and there are steps to reach out. We had a good Dharshan there in temple.
The carvings done on the pillars are really magnificent and one could hardly believe that these are in existence for more than five hundred years. These spectacular carvings are spread around a vast area, and it was cool to walk around and capture as much as images. We spent nearly one hour there, but the time passed as quickly, as the views mesmerized us. We came to the parking area and started off to back home leaving some pleasant memories in mind especially on a New Year’s Day.
Around 1.30 pm we stopped at a restaurant on the high way and after lunch we continued and reached home around 3.15 pm.
One message I would like to share with all is that this place doesn't have a good restaurant, but those who pack their food and carry; there is a park near to the Nandi Statue with enough shade and can have the food there.