Last Updated on March 7, 2023 by Tariq
Being the most widespread religion in India, Hinduism is well renowned for its abundance of magnificent, holy temples.
These temples were constructed over several hundred years by kings from several dynasties to leave a lasting impression on the nation’s people.
Hinduism has existed since the Indus Valley civilization, much before establishing other important religions like Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism.
India has experienced several monarchs and dynasties, many of whom supported Hinduism and the construction of enormous temples with distinctive architecture.
This blog will take you through one of India’s most well-known temples, which has played a significant role in Indian and global history for several hundred years.
The temple that we are going to discuss is the Lepalshi temple, situated in southern India.
The remarkable Veerabhadra Temple, also known as Lepakshi Temple, is located in the small village of Lepakshi in the Anantapur District of Andhra Pradesh.
The temple was built during the time of the Vijayanagara Monarchs in the 16th century.
It is around 15 kilometers east of Hindupur and about 120 kilometers north of Bengaluru.
This magnificent stone building, built in the classic Vijayanagara architectural style, contains approximately 70 pillars under its dome.
It is adorned with hundreds of paintings depicting scenes from the Mahabharata, Ramayana, and Puranas and several beautiful sculptures of gods, goddesses, dancers, and musicians.
The temple consists of three shrines devoted to Shiva, Vishnu, and Veerabhadra.
Veerabhadra, the demon king, is depicted in his most extraordinary sculpture in this temple.
The temple also occupies a large portion of Kurmasailam, a small rocky hill.
Kurmasailam, as it is known in Telugu, is translated as tortoise hill.
Popularly known as the Aakaasa Sthambha, the Lepakshi Temple’s pillar (Hanging Column). It’s not entirely on the ground.
Once when a British engineer tried moving it, he couldn’t. However, it moved from its original position due to doing so.
(Source: Atlas Obscura)
Cult deity Veerbhadra
Sri Sathya Sai Airport
Nearest Railway Station
Hindupur Railway Station
Lepakshi Village, Ananthpur district, Andhra Pradesh
Akaasa Sthambha, Monolithic Nandi, Nagalingam
Although the temple stays open throughout seven days of the week.
Still, the usual timings of the temple are as follows:
Time of the day
The timings may change during festivals, eclipses, and other crucial events.
Number Of Days
Temple Opening Timings
Morning Darshan Timings
05:00 am to 12:30 pm
Temple Break Timings
12:30 pm to 04:00 pm
Evening Darshan Timings
04:00 pm to 08:30 pm
Temple Closing Timings
Abhishek timings are from 07:00 am to 07:30 am.
Lepakshi, known for its ancient shrines, is rich in mythological grandeur.
According to the Valmiki Ramayana, this is where Ram first encountered the dying Jatayu and blessed him with salvation by saying the Telegu phrase “Le Pakshi,” which translates as “Rise, oh bird.”
Injured, Jatayu had collapsed here while saving Goddess Sita.
Three distinct Mandapas are found at Lepakshi Temple.
First up, we have Mukhya Mandapa (or Natya or Ranga Mandapa).
The next is Artha Mandapa, followed by Kalyana Mandapa and Garba Griha.
The final Mandapa is yet to be finished.
Veerbhadra, who represents Shiva in his fierce state, is worshipped by devotees here.
During the conflict in ancient and medieval eras, people honored the warrior god Veerbhadra.
At the outer boundary of the temple, there is a sizable Ganesha.
It also rests on a giant, three-coil, seven-hooded Naga perpendicular to the rock it is leaning against.
The biggest Nagalinga in India is this one.
There is a footprint of the goddess Sita on the shrine’s grounds.
According to myths, the impression appeared on the floor while Ravana carried Sita to Lanka.
Lepakshi Temple has a long history from 1530–1540.
There are various claims regarding the history of the construction of the temple.
Some claim that the temple was built by the Virupanna and Viranna brothers.
Both of the brothers worked for the Vijayanagar Rulers.
At the time, Vijayanagar was the kingdom of King Achutarya.
Yet, the Puranic legend claims that the sage Agastya was the one who erected the Lepakshi Temple.
Furthermore, the Skanda Purana claims that this temple is one of the revered divyakshetras of Lord Shiva.
- When visiting the Lepakshi Temple, devotees should dress appropriately. Must not dress in Bermudas, shorts, midis, miniskirts, or sleeveless tops, as they are forbidden on temple grounds, according to temple administrators
- When performing pooja or other activities, men must wear a dhoti and a uthareeyam, and women must wear a saree or a churidar with chunni
- Likewise, refrain from wearing or wearing anything made of leather
However, one can carry their camera because the temple authorities allow photography within this shrine.
A ten-day celebration is required in the Lepakshi temple grounds during February.
The temple sees a significant influx of pilgrims during the event.
The temple hosts a massive festival in the glory of the Lord Shiva celebration known as Mahashivratri.
The fair welcomes vendors selling sweets, clothing, bangles, toys, and bamboo products.
Domestic animals like goats, cows, and so forth are also traded at the temple fair.
In addition, many villagers arrive on this day to fulfill their promises.
The four-day Durgamma Festival takes place during the Hindu calendar month of Bhadrapada.
On this day, worshippers collect water from the Majira River. In addition, many more sacrifices are made during this time.
Other holidays that call for celebration in the Lepakshi temple are Tirukarthikai, which falls in November or December, and Masi Brahmmotsavam, which falls in February or March.
The closest train station to Lepakshi is the Hindupur station. From there, the temple is roughly 12 km away.
Lepakshi has decent access to the road network via Hindupur. Hindupur and the rest of India are connected by several public and private buses.
The closest airport to the temple is Sri Sathya Sai Airport in Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh. The distance to the Lepakshi temple is 58 kilometers.
There isn’t a guesthouse available at Lepakshi Temple. Yet there are several excellent lodging options close by.
The AP Tourist Hotel is reasonably priced close to Nandi.
This hotel also accepts reservations made a day in advance. One must also bring valid ID evidence and a confirmation voucher.
Hotel Bheema is another lodging option close to the temple. It is pretty affordable and combines all the latest conveniences.
The SRS Regency Hotel is a comfortable place for travelers.
All the modern conveniences are available here. Also, this location is convenient and close to the temple.
The artistic skill of the Vijayanagar Kingdom is attributed to the town of Lepakshi.
The only attraction in the location is Veerabhadra Temple, known for its sculptural and archaeological expression.
Its unique characteristic is the monolithic Nandi deity fashioned from a single granite stone.
It is renowned for its sculptures and magnificent archaeological features created by the artists of the Vijayanagara Kingdom.
(Source: The Hindu)
It is stated that the Lepakshi temple is synonymous with the monolithic form of Nandi (the bull).
Nandi is a sacred bull in Hinduism and the vahana of Shiva, one of the most powerful Hindu gods.
The Hanging Pillar
With paintings and frescoes, it is a beautiful display of everlasting art.
(Source: Andhra Cultural Portal)
The paintings show divine beings, saints, kings, soldiers, musicians, and dancers.
The Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Puranas are also depicted in the paintings painted with vegetable and mineral colors.
The temple is situated on a low-altitude hill atop a sizable area of turtle-shaped granite rock, known as Kurma Saila, on the southern edge of the city of Lepakshi.
It is 87 miles (140 km) away from Bangalore. A route from Hindupur can be used to get to the shrine.
It is situated in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, 22 miles (35 km) from Penukonda.
Why is Lepakshi so famous?
Lepakshi is a village in the neighborhood of Anantapur, around 13 kilometers from Hindupur. The town is well-known for its three shrines to Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, and Lord Veerabhadra. Viranna and Virupanna, two brothers, built the Veerabhadra Temple.
Is Lepakshi worth visiting?
Lepakshi, known for its archaeological significance and rich culture, is a favorite tourist site for those seeking to absorb the beauty of our country’s historical past. There are shrines to Lord Shiva and Vishnu here that were built between the 13th and 16th centuries during the reign of the Vijayanagara Kingdom.
What is mysterious about Lepakshi?
The hanging pillar that has shifted slightly from its original position is the most mysterious part of the temple. The reason for this movement is that a British engineer attempted to relocate it unsuccessfully to discover the secret of its support. In the temple’s outside enclosure stands a massive Ganesha statue.
Which God is Lepakshi?
The Virabhadra temple in Lepakshi is devoted to Lord Shiva’s ferocious manifestation, Virabhadra.
What is the best time to visit Lepakshi temple?
Summers are oppressively hot and humid. Therefore the best time to visit Lepakshi is between November and March.
How much time is required in Lepakshi?
Lepakshi temple is undoubtedly one of the most gorgeous architectural, cultural, and picture-perfect destinations. This temple appears small from the outside, yet it takes around 3 hours to comprehend this historically significant structure.
What should I buy in Lepakshi?
Lepakshi is well-known for its traditional crafts. Banjara needlework pieces, brass artifacts, Kalamkari paintings and Cherial scroll paintings, cotton and jute floor mats, and Kondapalli toys made of softwood are must-buys.
Is there any dress code in Lepakshi?
Wear appropriate clothing for visiting the Lepakshi temple. Also, avoid carrying leather purses, belts, or other leather-made accessories.
Why is the pillar hanging in Lepakshi temple?
The renowned Hanging Pillar of Lepakshi Temple is one of these ornate pillars, a gigantic block of granite that does not appear to touch the floor. This “floating” pillar is claimed to be a miracle, and anybody who can get a thin thing to pass underneath will be blessed.
Why is the Lepakshi temple called World Heritage?
The location’s significance can be traced back to the Indian epic Ramayana. The bird Jatayu, injured by the king of Lanka Ravana, is said to have fallen here after a battle with the king who was taking away Sita, the wife of Rama, the ruler of Ayodhya.