Lepakshi is a sleepy village tucked in a obscure corner of Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. Away from mainstream tourism circuits, it hides a gem – The Veerbhadraswamy Temple. Being close(about 130 kms) from Bangalore it is easily accessible through NH 44 and doable as a day trip. It is one of numerous temples of South India but deserves a special mention due to the mysteries, lores associated with it and the charm it creates. It is the place where Lord Ram found fatally wounded Jatayu and took care of him in his last moments.
We left early in the morning from Bangalore and whizzed past beautiful and smooth NH 44. It takes a detour of 16 Kms from NH44 through a descent but scenic state highway to the Lepakshi village. Alternatively it can be reached from nearest railheads which is Hindupur(HUP) and Dharmavaram Jn. The temple is the nucleus of the village.It was comissioned by noblemen Virupanna and Viranna of Vijayanagara court during the reign of Achyutraya in 1530-40.It was built atop a mound called Kurma Saila.
There is a fortified wall at the front and another set of Gopuram inside. There are two circumbulatories one from the outside and one inside. The outer one is not flat and one has to walk on the uneven rocky surface. Though it creates a unusual dimension to the structures. There is an unfinished pavilion and a peepal tree in this open courtyard.
Going through a small door inside the inner complex we can find the main temple. It has ornate pillars and carvings all along its body. The sanctum is dark and houses several deities.The temple is dedicated to Veerbhadraswamy who is a avatar of Lord shiva. The ceiling is also decorated with frescoes depicting events from Hindu mythology.
There are couple of mysteries associated with the temple. There is a pillar which hangs in air by few mms. While all other pillars are deeply routed to the ground , this one hangs in air by a thin margin so that a piece of cloth or paper can pass underneath. Britishers tried to dislodge the same but failed and it still remains a mystery how the solid granite pillar can hang from ceiling without touching the floor.
There are several sub shrines along the outer circumbulatory. The most magnificent one is the enormous Nagalinga. There is a polished Shiva linga under the hoods of seven headed serpent Adisesha. This sculpture is so beautiful that it has become the icon of Lepakshi.
There is one big monolithic Nandi just a little away from the temple complex. Lepakshi have one AP Tourism basic Haritha Restaurant and ample parking space just beside the Nandi. Lepakshi is gaining ground among day trippers due to its proximity from Bangalore but could soon fall prey to excessive crowd and commercialization which will surely ruin the charm of it.
Nearest Railhead: Hindupur or Dharmavaram Jn
Road: 16 Kms from nearest point on NH 44, about 130 KM from Bangalore, 217 Km from Bellary, 118 km from Anantapur , 100 km from Tumkur
Parking Fees:50 Rs