Saturday, 26 May 2012

Lepakshi - A Lost Wonder : A treasure House of Rich Fine Arts and Sculpture

Hmmm...we were preparing for weekend one day trip recently. As usual, trouble started while deciding the place. This time I had my sister and brothers to join our trip.  They started suggesting places which failed to capture my attention. Finally my husband left the decision of selecting the place on me. I was waiting for this opportunity. "Lepakshi" was the next word I uttered and everybody agreed. Preparation started to visit Lepakshi next day, Sunday. I got up early, preapred delicious palav and masala curd, packed it. Around 9 AM we left from the house.
Lepakshi is situated in Ananthpura district of Andhra Pradesh. It is 120 Kms north of Bengaluru and 15 Kms from Hindupur.
Our route : NH 7:  Bengaluru ->Yalahanka ->Devanahalli->Chikkaballapur->Bagepalli (last town of Karnataka)->AP Border toll booth @ Kodikonda -> Left turn to Lepakshi (16 kms)
Road is excellent till left turn to Lepakshi. Driving was really a heaven :) with scenic beauty on both sides of the road. We reached Lepakshi at 11.20 AM.. in just 2 hours with 100 KM speed :)
We were welcomed by a huge Nandi bull made out of a single granite stone. This Nandi is one of the attractions of Lepakshi. Surroundings of this Nandi Sculpture is green with a pond full of lotus flowers, a stone carvings with the word "Lepakshi" on it and many decorative plants.

Nandi Sculpture

After spending some time near Nandi we headed towards temple which is just 5 mins away. After seeing the temple from outside my husband was furious and started shouting at me for selecting this place. But I was confident that this temple offers lot more than I expected.
We entered the temple and wow.. it was entirely a different world of stone sculptures. We were speechless. The main temple is dedicated to Lord Veerabhadra, Shiva, Vishnu and Goddess Papanasheshwari (Durga). We offered pooja and later came out to see temple complex.
Main Temple Area
We were mesmerised by the sculptures in the temple complex. Entire temple is built up in stone. These stone sculptures were created by artisans of Vijayanagara empire. So it has similaries to the sculptures of Hampi. Hats off to those artisans and their creativity. I really doubt modern day sculptors can create this magic. Wikipedia says Vishwakarma Amarashilpi Jakanachari took part in the planning the architecture of this temple.

Sculptures on the pillars

Pillars and walls of the temple are sculpted with stories of Mahabharatha, Ramayana, animals like elephants, flowers and chain like designs. Roof  has so many beautiful paitings done by natural colour mixtures.
Temple complex offers architectural wonders. There is a big Nagalinga which was carved out of a single stone by sculptors. And also a huge statue of  Lord Ganesha captures the attention of everyone. To the north-west side of the temple you can see a large unfinished Kalyana Mantapa (Wedding Hall) with many pillars.
Unfinished Kalyana Mantapa (Wedding Hall)
Nagalinga - Carved out of a single stone

I had completely lost in the world of sculptors and was busy in taking photos. Though it was Sunday tourists were less. One good thing is we are free to take photos anywhere here. It was 2 PM and my stomach started givin warnigs that it is hungry. We had to start our return journey though nobody had interset to come out of the temple. On the way of our return journey we stopped nearby a dry grassland and settled down under a big tree and had palav prepared by me. We reached Bengaluru around 5 PM. I am still in the hangover of those sculptures.

I have listed some of the main attractions of Lepakshi Temple :
1. Nandi
2. Main shrine of Lord Veerabhadra
3. Pillars of the temple and hanging pillar
4. A huge statue of Nagalinga
5. Statue of Lord Ganesha
6. Unfinished Kalyana Mantapa
7. Roof murals and many more sculptures
Paintings on the roof
History of Lepakshi :
It is said that Lord Rama found the mythical bird Jatayu lying wounded here, its wings were cut off by Ravana when he abducted Sita. According to locals, after Ravana had cut the wing of the bird, Lord Rama said "le pakshi"(rise bird) and the bird rose. Hence, this sacred place was named as Lepakshi (Source : Internet)
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.

Best Time to visit Lepakshi : Temple is open on all days. If you are planning to visit Lepakshi in summer then better to carry an umbrella while exploring the temple complex. Sun and hot stones make impossible to stand and walk.
Hotels and food : It is hard to find good hotels in Lepakshi. Either carry home prepared food or settle down with small roadside shops which sell eatables.


Aravind GJ said...

Good narration!! And good photos!!!!

Chetana said...

Thanks Aravind....But not as good as your teavelogue photos....

Mahesh said...

Hi, I need your advice. would 6 hours be enough to explore everything at Lepakshi? I'm planning to start from Bangalore at 6, reaching Lepakshi at about 9. Planning to stay there till 3 and come back to Bangalore by 6. Would that be alright?

thanks in advance.

Chetana said...

Yes Mahesh, 6 hours are more than enough.

dokka srinivasu said...

Chetana madam

Namaste. Madam i am dokka srinivasu from Kakinada.

Madam i am creating one blog for Indian Heritage and culture. Madam in this blog i am sharing my collections relating to Indian Heritage and culture and also using other people collection with their permission.

Chetana madam just now i watch your Lepakshi temple message in your blog. Chetana madam the photos you taken are very attractive, beautiful and fantastic.

Chetana madam this one message about Lepakshi temple which i shared in my Heritage of India blog with the images of Lepakshi Portfolio of A.P.Archaeology Dept. which is in my collection.

Chetana madam similar like this in my collection i have 40 different portfolios of various themes relating to Indian heritage and culture and most of the portfolios are relating to paintings from several parts of india.

Chetana madam i want to use some of those temple, sculpture and paintings photos of your above Lepakshi link in your blog.

Chetana madam shall i use your blog's lepakshi temple and sculpture images. Chetana madam i am using them only after your approval and permission.

Chetana madam if you permit me i want to use your blog's temples, sculptures etc. images whenever i need by mentioning your blog's link. Madam i am doing the same only after your permission.

Chetana madam apart from sharing my collections in my Heritage of India blog i am also sharing my knowledge with school and school and college students by giving seminars to them. Madam so far i gave 2 seminars to students and these are my seminars links.

Chetana madam please look into my seminars messages and share your valuable comments.

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