The Magical Stories & Facts Behind Lepakshi Temple
Among the numerous temples in South India, Lepakshi stands out for the untold mysteries and tales intertwined with its adjoining temple. Lepakshi is an ancient and finely built temple from 1583. Sage Agastya created the temple and later re-constructed it during the rule of King Achutya Devaraya. Virupnna and Veeranna constructed the rebuilding of this temple.
The temple is also known as Veerbhadra Temple. The temple is famous because of its magnificent architecture and design. This popular place has some close relatedness with Ramayana. However, other Hindu idols are present here, like Shiva, Nandi, Ganesh, Veerbhadra, Laxmi, Bhadrakali, and Vishnu.
The aesthetically pleasing designs throughout the temple are remarkable examples of sheer beauty. The cave-like chambers and hanging pillars are the main attraction of this place. According to Hindu mythology, the name Lepakshi known as Jatayu (the Hindu epic’s deity), has fallen in the exact location.
When Shree Ram and Laxman visited the location, they found an injured Jayatu suffering from pain. They asserted” Le Pakshi,” which in the Telugu language denotes “Rise Bird.” Therefore, came the name of the temple Lepakshi.
The legendary spot gains further distinction due to the notable presence of a significant footprint on the temple, believed by Hindus to be Sita’s footmark.
Things To See In Lepakshi
1. Nandi Statue
While entering the temple premises, the first thing that you will notice is the vast carved Nandi statue. Nandi was a close friend and worshipper of Lord Shiva. The structure of this statue is 15 feet tall, and in length, it is around 27 feet. The art of this statue is genuinely remarkable. In India, this fossilized structure is considered a colossal monolithic Nandi statue.
2. Main Lepakshi Temple
After entering, you will find two massive walls welcoming you to join Lepakshi Temple further. There are three gates at the entrance. The main entrance to this temple is known as Gopura, the northern gate. On both sides of the passage, there is a well-structured mandapa. The direct access to the circular boundary is near the north. Furthermore, this northern entrance has two parts. You can see the Dwajasthamba and Balipitha from this spot.
Lepakshi Temple classifies into three interior sections-
- Natya Mandap– It is one of the significant spots of the Lepakshi temple. The massive 100-pillared structure of Natya mandap is genuinely a pleasant sight. It is also known as Ranga Mandapa or dance hall. The art and design craved in Natya Mandap represent the exceptional expertise of the artisans during the Vijaynagar dynasty.
You will be captivated by the lifelike statues of deities playing stringed instruments that decorate the core pillars of the mandapa. Shiva’s dancing postures, Brahma beating the drum, and Narada playing his favorite Tambaru create a magical scene of divine theme in the walls of this Natya Mandap.
- Ardha Mandap– The beautiful sculptures of DWarkapalaka is on the entrance pillars of Ardha Mandap. The magnificent artwork on the ceiling depicts Lord Shiva in his 14 avatars. The Veerbhadra painting on this wall is around 24 feet tall. It is considered a giant mural in India. The core interior portion of this temple is the Garba Griha. This area is the connection to the Ardha Mandap.
- Kalyan Mandap (Unfinished) – The open area marriage hall, also known as Kalyan Mandap, is created with 38 strong pillars. It is famous for the belief that Shiv and Parvati got married here. Hence, you can watch unique sculptures of the wedding on these pillars.
3. Hanging pillar
The miraculous hanging pillar of Leepakshi is another interesting fact. The huge pillar is hanging and never touches the ground. Many experts still need clarification regarding this alignment of the pillar structure. It forms an example of brilliant architecture—the creation of the hanging pillar in a hanging position from the roof without touching the basement.
Towards the southeast area from the main temple of Lepakshi, one can find the famous Shivalinga, a solid granite-based sculpture. The hood shape forms an umbrella along with seven coils and a hood shape forming an umbrella on the Shivalinga. This structure was carved out by talented artisans quickly during their meal breaks. A huge lord Ganesha structure is present beside this Nagalinga.
Location Of Lepakshi Temple
By now, you must be curious about the location of this mysterious temple. The village in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh, was named Lepakshi after the temple. From Hyderabad, the distance is around 450-480km, and the same from Bangalore is about 118-120km. It can be the perfect weekend gateway option for many tourists. If you want to travel via train, the nearby railway station is Hindupur.
Starting from the footprint of Ma Sita, the giant Nandi murti, cave-like chambers, and hanging pillars – the Lepakshi premises is full of mythological facts and wonders. The best time to visit this religious place is from October to February.
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