Veerbhadra temple – Leepakshi – Anantapur District – Andhra Pradesh
Just one word describes this ancient temple – awesome!! Leepakshi is a small village located in Ananthpur district of Andhra Pradesh. But it is on Karntaka and Aandra Pradesh border and is approx 140Kms from Bangalore city center. It’s very prominently placed in Andhra Pradesh’s tourist map and if you are a person inclined towards heritage sites, this is a must visit.
Lepakshi is historically and archaeologically significant. It’s temple is famous for its rich fine arts and architectural beauty, It has three temples with in the premises dedicated to Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Verrabhadra.
Veerabhadra temple is a very good example of the Vijayanagar style of architecture. The presiding deity is Veerabhadra. The temple was built in the 16th century. The intricate mandapams of the temple has large pillars with life-size images of dancers, musicians and other sculptures, created by the artisans of the Vijayanagar empire. The temple is divided into three parts – the ‘Mukha Mandapa’, (also called ‘Nitya Mandapa’ or ‘Ranga Mandapa’), the ‘Artha Mandapa’ and ‘Garbha Griha’, and the ‘Kalyana Mandapa’.
The historic town of Lepakshi has been connected with an event in Ramayana. According to the Valmiki’s Ramayana, when Ram accompanied by Hanuman, met the dying Jatayu, they helped him attain moksha by uttering the words “Le Pakshi,” which is Telugu for “Rise, bird”. Hence the name, Lepakshi.
Half a kilometer before the temple, just by the road stands the statue of Nandi carved from red granite. It is 15 feet tall and 27 feet long. Yet for all its imposing size, the carving is intricate, especially the bells around the neck bearing the royal insignia of the Vijayanagara dynasty. The temple here is built on a tortoise shaped hillock – kurmashaila.
Another giant monolith and imposing structure is Nagalinga. It’s just behind the main temple.
How to reach Leepakshi
If you are traveling from Bangalore, its very easy to reach Lepakshi and the distance (approx 140 Kms) can be covered in approx 2 hours. From Bangalore head towards international airport by taking NH7 from Hebbal. Keep driving on NH7, you will cross Devanhalli and then Chikballapur. After around 40Kms after Chikkabalapur you will see the toll plaza. One you are out of toll plaza you are in Andhara Pradesh. Drive for around 5 Kms from toll plaza, you will find a letf turn (there are lots of markings for Leepakshi there from Andhra tourism, so you cannot miss it).
Once taken left there, keep going straight and you will hit Leepakshi.
=> Yelahanka – Devanahalli – Chikkaballapur – Bagepalli – Leepakshi
Point to note
Its best to visit early in the morning. Parking can become a challange during second half of the day. Beware if monkeys. Make sure that you carry a back-pack and have all your eatables and prasadam inside the bag.
This temple is just awesome. It must have been very grand when it was built. It’s said that the temple premise was huge and spread across 50 acres. But human habitation around it has shrunk its perimeter. These are some of the jewels of our history, but due to our pathetic attitude towards our own heritage sites, we let these sites decay.
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