Lepakshi – A Paragon of Excellent Architecture and Art

Lepakshi Nagalinga
Lepakshi Nagalinga

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Veerbhadra Swamy Temple
  3. Other Famous Temples
  4. How to Reach Lepakshi
  5. Best Time to Visit
  6. Things to Do
  7. Places to Visit
  8. Places to Visit Near Lepakshi
  9. Hotels in Lepakshi

Introduction

Lepakshi is a village located in Andhra Pradesh’s Anantapur district. The historic Lepakshi is one of the best places to go to explore the art and architecture of the erstwhile Vijayanagara empire. With its beautiful temples and monuments as well as interesting traditional artforms, Lepakshi is a must-visit for history lovers and travelers.

Veerbhadra Swamy Temple

Lepakshi Temple
Lepakshi Temple

The Lepakshi Veerabhadra Swamy temple is one of the main attractions of this village. The temple is dedicated to Virabhadra, a form of Lord Shiva. It is known for its hanging pillar, gorgeous murals on the ceiling and intricate carvings on its walls and pillars. A national monument of India, the Veerabhadra Swamy Temple is an important icon of Andhra Pradesh and a site of great religious and historical significance.

Interesting Facts on Veerbhadra Swamy Temple

  • Also known as Lepakshi temple, the Veerabhadra Swamy Temple has a long and storied history. There are a lot of facts about the Lepakshi temple that are of interest to travelers. The history of the temple begins in the 16th century when it was built in its modern state by Virupanna, the treasurer of the Vijayanagara king.
  • Legend has it that Virupanna built the temple using royal funds without the permission of the king. The angry king decreed that Virupanna is to be blinded and so Virupanna put out his own eyes. There is even a place in the temple complex where you can reportedly still see the marks of his eyes.
  • The Lepakshi temple architecture is in the Vijayanagara style with intricate carvings and murals of stories from ancient Hindu texts. The temple is also located on a hill in the shape of a tortoise, known as Kurma Saila.
  • Among the 70 stone pillars installed inside the temple, there is one that hangs from the ceiling. The base of the pillar visibly stops a few inches from the ground and visitors are often seen passing a thin paper or cloth from one side to the other.
  • The nearby monolithic Nandi is considered the biggest Nandi carved from a single stone in India.

[Also Read: 8 Monuments and 8 Mysteries]

Pillars at Lepakshi Temple
Pillars at Veerbhadra Swamy Temple

Lepakshi temple timings: The darshan timings for the temple are from 6 AM to 6 PM.

Dress Code: The temple complex has a strict dress code. Visitors are required to wear formal and traditional clothing and you are not allowed to bring any leather items like belts or bags into the temples. Photography is allowed so you can bring your camera.

Other Famous Temples in Lepakshi

The Lepakshi temple complex also houses other shrines dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. There are also temples nearby dedicated to Papanatheswara, Raghunatha, Srirama, and Durga.

Lepakshi Nandi Temple

About 500 metres from the Lepakshi Temple is the Lepakshi Nandi, also known as the Nandi temple. This giant monolithic bull has been cut from a single block of granite and it is one of the largest monolithic structures in India, second only to the Gomateshwara in Shravanabelagola. The Lepakshi Nandi is one of the biggest attractions of this village and is a major tourist spot.

Nandi Temple timings: 7 AM to 6 PM

Dress Code: While there is no specific dress code for the Lepakshi Nandi, it is recommended that travelers wear traditional formal clothing and refrain from carrying leather items as it is very close to the Veerabhadra Swamy temple complex.

Nandi Temple
Nandi Temple

How to Reach Lepakshi

By Train

The nearest railway station is Hindupur railway station, located about 12 km away. The station is connected to major Indian cities. From Hindupur, you will need to hire a taxi to reach Lepakshi.

By Road

You can take a bus – There are bus services to Hindupur from several major cities. Many state and private buses operate between these routes. From Hindupur it is recommended that you book a cab to cover the rest of the journey.

You can take a car – You can avail a Bangalore car rental. The city is about 123 km from Lepakshi, and it takes 3 hours on an average to cover the distance by car.

Roadtrip to Lepaskshi
Roadtrip to Lepaskshi

For a faster, better, and enjoyable travel experience, we recommend a road trip from Bangalore to Lepakshi by car.

[Also Read: Weekend Getaways from Bangalore]

By Flight

There are no direct flights. The closest airport to the region is the Kempegowda International Airport of Bangalore, which is 68 km away. There are flights to Bangalore from all major cities of India. From Bangalore, rent an airport taxi to reach Lepakshi.

Best Time to Visit Lepakshi

Lepakshi Infographic

Lepakshi weather is cool and pleasant in winters. The monsoon brings high humidity and summers can be rather warm. So, the winter season from October to March is the best time to visit Lepakshi and explore this quaint pilgrim spot.

Install Savaari car rental app to avail exclusive discounts on your trip from Bangalore to Lepakshi.

Things to Do in Lepakshi

Lepakshi is primarily a pilgrimage site but there are other interesting historical and mythological locations in the village. There are plenty of things to do in Lepakshi for history lovers, including visits to engineering marvels and exploring local arts and crafts.

 Lepakshi Temple Paintings
Temple Paintings
  • See the famous Lepakshi temple paintings. These murals have been made with natural pigments and they include a large painting of Virabhadra that is the largest of its kind in India.
  • Shop for Lepakshi’s famous handicrafts, including the iconic Lepakshi Pooja Mandir replicas.
  • See the legendary footprint of Sita. Legend says that Ravan and Sita stopped here while they were travelling to Lanka and Sita’s footprint was impressed into the stone ground where you can still see it. Interestingly, the footprint is reportedly always wet even after being wiped or dried.
  • Visit the famous Kalyana Mandapa. Part of the Veerabhadra Swamy Temple complex, this ancient structure is of great historical significance and was never completed construction.
  • See the mysterious Hanging Pillar. Located in the Veerabhadra Swamy Temple, the famous Hanging Pillar of Lepakshi Temple does not touch the ground and you can even pass bits of cloth or paper under the pillar to prove this. The pillar itself has been slightly dislodged from its original position after a British engineer tried to study its mysterious construction.
Lepakshi Hanging Pillar
Lepakshi Hanging Pillar

Tourist Places to Visit in Lepakshi

With historical temples, mythological sites, and quaint traditional arts, Lepakshi sightseeing is an amazing experience. Here are the most popular places to see in Lepakshi:

  • The Lepakshi Jatayu statue – This large statue of the mythological bird Jatayu from the Ramayana is a major attraction. It is believed that Jatayu fell in here after being attacked by Ravan and “Le Pakshi” means “Rise, bird” in Telugu. The park with the statue is open from 9 AM to 5 PM and there is a Rs 10 entry fee.
  • The Lepakshi caves – Also known as the Lepakshi-Belum caves. This cave formation is about 3 KM long but visitors are only allowed for about 1 KM. It is open from 10 AM to 4:30 PM and the entry fee is Rs 65 for adults.
  • Lepakshi Nagalinga – This 15 feet tall Naga statue is the largest of its kind. The massive structure forms a canopy over a granite Shivalinga. The Naga itself has 3 coils and 7 hoods and it is believed to have been carved from a single block of stone. The Nagalinga is part of the Veerabhadra Swamy Temple complex so there is no extra entry fee or specific timings.
 Jatayu Statue
Jatayu Statue

Places to Visit Near Lepakshi

To make the most of your trip, you can drive outside the region to visit these tourist places near Lepakshi:

  • Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Chikballapur, 68 KM – This famous temple is also constructed in the Vijayanagara style and has inscriptions from that time. There is also a large stone sculpture of the god Vishnu that attracts a number of devotees to the temple.
  • Skandagiri Hills, 69 KM – A popular spot for trekking, Skandagiri is famous for its ruined fort. The location is also famous for moonlight trekking, which has a particularly eerie feeling even for experienced travelers.
  • Devarayanadurga, 92 KM – Also known as the DD hills, Devarayanadurga is a tranquil hill station located near Tumkur that makes for a great break from the rush of city life. It’s also a great place for a stop-over, with a number of finely crafted temples and picturesque nature spots.
  • Nandi Hills, 92.4 KM – One of the most popular tourist spots near Bangalore, Nandi Hills is a favorite for travelers. Dotted with shrines and monuments, these beautiful hills have something for everyone, whether you’re there for trekking, pilgrimage, or just sightseeing.
  • Anantapur, 124 KM – Also known as Anantapuram, this town is a heritage site of Andhra Pradesh. Anantapur was once part of the Vijayanagara Empire and boasts a large number of temples, forts, and other historical locations where you can learn about the storied past of the region.
Sunrise at Nandi Hills
Sunrise at Nandi Hills

Hotels in Lepakshi

To make your vacation truly comfortable and memorable, here are some of the best places to stay in Lepakshi:

  • Hotel Minerva Grand
  • Hotel Taj Tristar
  • Incredible One Hotel
  • The Purple Leaf Hotel
  • Hotel Maya Deluxe
  • Sana Heritage Inn
  • Hotel Annapoorna Residency
  • Asrani International Hotel
  • Time Square – The Landmark Hotel

About the author

An engineer by degree, a writer by passion, I’m a lover of fiction, classics and Shah Rukh Khan. When I’m not busy challenging the status quo, one word at a time, I fancy reading, shoe-hoarding and petting my cat.

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