Lepakshi temple, one which is famous for its rich fine arts and architectural beauty, is situated in Ananthapur district 120 kms away from the district headquarters and 12 kms from Hindupur. The carvings on stone at Lepakshi Temple are of such mesmeric quality that one is left wondering at the mind boggling talent of the sculptors. The temple of Lepakshi is indescribable.
The unique feature of it consists of the 6 ft. height and 8 mt.length monolithic “Nandi” (the bull) sculpture which is said to be the biggest monolithic Nandi in India, which is synonymous with ancient Lepakshi. The majestic Shilpakala of Nandi sculpture is inexplicable and it is a feast for the eyes. Lepakshi is both a tourist place worth a visit as well as a pilgrimage centre in South India. It is centrally located between Hindupur and Kodikonda check post. During the month of February a 10-day long celebration including the car festival is conducted in the temple. During the festival, Lepakshi is packed with pilgrims from all over the country.
The Lepakshi temple situated in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, is also known as Veerabhadra temple. The architecture of the temple reflects the Vijayanagar style and is located 480 km from Hyderabad. The architectural beauty of the temple is unparalleled with fine carving arts. A 10 day long festival is celebrated in the month of February. On this occasion a car festival is conducted, which is attended by huge number of people.
The Lepakshi temple can be divided into three sections – the ‘Mukha Mandapa’, (or the ‘Nitya Mandapa’ or ‘Ranga Mandapa’), the ‘Artha Mandapa’ and ‘Garbha Griha’, and the ‘Kalyana Mandapa’.
The sculptures and the mural paintings seen in the Natya and Kalyana Mandapams are exceptional for their artistic beauty and skill. Most of these sculptures portray the mythological puranic episodes like ‘Ananthasayana’, ‘Dattatreya’, ‘Chaturmukha Bramha’, ‘Tumburu’, ‘Narada’ and ‘Rambha’. The Lepakshi temple has been built in honor of Lord Veerabhadra. According to legend, the Kalyana Mandapa of the temple had witnessed the marriage of Lord Shiva and Parvati. The ‘Natya’ (Dancing) and ‘Ardha’ (worship) Mandapas are the best parts of the temple in terms of architecture. The ‘Natya’ Mandapa has been adorned with sculptured pillars depicting life-size musicians and dancers.
Significance of the Temple
The temple has a central pavilion, embracing all the three shrines. This pavilion is further connected with an intermediary hall and a hall for ritual dance. A large open court that is accessible from the east surrounds the main hall. Lepakshi Temple perhaps houses the largest monolithic structure of Nagalinga in India. Another exquisite statue of Lord Ganesha captures the attention of everyone, especially when people enter the second interior court.
The interiors boast of impressive sculptures in half-relief on the granite pillars. The carvings represent dancers, drummers and divine musicians. Here, you can see Lord Brahma playing drums, celestial nymph Rambha dancing and Lord Shiva engaged in ‘Ananda Tandava’. In the intermediary hall, there is a frieze that depicts geese with lotus stalks in their beaks. The flawless carvings adorn the entire temple perpetually, all of them done with the minutest of details.
Most celebrated for its splendid paintings, Lepakshi Temple has a colossal painting of Virabhadra in the central hall. In the ‘Hall of Dance’, one can trace eight panels, depicting Puranic legends on the ceiling. Most of the paintings and murals have been devastated by the ravages of times. Lepakshi is a notable store of expertise, which is on the brink of extinction. In concise terms, the temple is a work of art that certainly deserves a visit.
During the month of February a 10- day long celebration including the car festival is conducted in the temple. During the festival Lepakshi is packed with pilgrims from all over the country.
How to reach the Temple
• Through Airways -Through Airways, Hyderabad Begumpet Airport and Tirupati Airport are the nearest ones. Bengaluru is a couple of hundred kilometers away.
• Through Railways- Through Railways, the Hindupur station is the closest railway station which connects trains from different parts of the country.
• Through Roadways-Through Roadways, the famous temple of Lepakshi is 480 km from Hyderabad, the state capital. It is 120 km from Bangalore. On the way to Hyderabad from Bangalore, you have to take a de-tour of about 16kms on the left to reach Lepakshi.