Lepakshi Temple, Andhra Pradesh

The plan to visit Lepakshi temple was long on the drawing board and even took time to write about it. We visited it in August 2012.

Location: Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh

Distance: 120 km from Bangalore (Karnataka) and 15 km from Hindupur in Andhra Pradesh

How to reach there: By private vehicle directly to Lepakshi or by bus/train to Hindupur and then travel to Lepakshi.

Route: Bangalore – Hebbal – NH 7 (Bangalore – Hyderabad highway) – turn left for Lepakshi road – Lepakshi village – Nanadi Monolithic statue – Lepakshi Virabhadra temple

Where to have food: No facility Lepakshi. However, one can have food at roadside stalls.

Where to stay: No facility

As we approached the Lepakshi village we saw a huge statue of Nandi, which I later found to be the largest in the world. As we reached the base of the hill we understood that this temple is built on a rock. One has to climb a few steps and then enter through the main gate. We washed our feet and proceeded to the entrance. The exterior of the temple is a boundary wall which is typical of many south Indian temples. But there are no inner boundaries. Inside we first encountered a jajastambha (pillar) which again found in almost all south Indian temples. Both sides of the entrance is flanked by pillared corridors.

The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva (Known by the name Virabhadra). There are other deities inside like Durga, navagraha etc. The pujari (monk) here offers to describe the events in three languages – Telegu, Kannada and English. In this main temple area only oil lamps are lit. The interior is very intricately designed in stone work. Then we went to pillared hall where every pillar is a display of extensive stone work. There are various stones carved mythical characters and ornamental works. We were shown a pillar wich is virtually hanging and called the hanging pillar.

Behind the pillared hall is the most amazing display of stone work. We found a shiva linga coiled by a nag (Snake) and placed his hood over the shiva linga. This linga and the snake is said to have been carved out of a single stone. This huge shiva linga with multiple head snake hood is an amazing sight to watch. The main linga seems to be a different type of stone though. Behind this is the Kalyana mantapa. It is severely damaged and needs immediate attention. We walked through the periphery of the temple and reached the temple which also acts as exit.

The temple is said be constructed by a noble merchant Virupurana during the vijaynagar empire times.

Note: There is parking fee of around Rs 10 for two wheelers and Rs 20 for 4 wheelers.

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