The Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has a rich legacy of significant temples. Veerabhadra Temple in Lepakshi is one such temple that is rich in art and architecture. The temple, located in Anantapur District, houses Veerabhadra Swamy, the manifestation of Lord Shiva. This temple is also one of the monuments of national importance.
The temple sits on a low altitude granite rock shaped like a tortoise. Hence, the spot is famous as Kurma Saila. Devotees witness an exhibition of timeless art including richly-detailed frescoes and murals.
History of Veerabhadra Swamy Temple
The history of the temple dates back to the Vijayanagara Empire. It was built in 1530 by Virupanna Nayaka and Viranna, the Governors of the Vijayanagara Empire. Virupanna used funds from the state treasury without the knowledge of King Achutaraya. Therefore, the King decided to make Virupanna blind for his act. Learning about the king’s plan, Virupanna himself took his eyes out. The western wall at the inner enclosure has two red spots signifying the blood stains from his bleeding eyes when he threw them on it.
Another Historic Significance
The temple spot is likely the place where Jatayu fell after being attacked by Ravana during Sita’s abduction. Following this, Lord Rama exclaimed, “Le Pakshi” for “Rise, Bird” in Telugu. Hence, the name Lepakshi.
Veerabhadra Temple in Andhra Pradesh is an archaeologically significant temple till date. It features authentic Vijayanagara-styled sculptures, intricate carvings and fresco paintings. There is an abundance of paintings and sculptures covering every inch of the entrance leading to the sanctum. Besides, the main temple comprises of an assembly hall by the name Mukha mantapa, Natya mantapa or Ranga mantapa. There is also the Arda mantapa called Antarala and the Garbhagriha. Images of saints, divine beings and artists mark the pillars and walls.
A Unique Structure
Veerabhadra Temple mystery is deep-rooted in its one-of-a-kind structure. The temple also features miraculous hanging pillars. Besides, there is a cave chamber belonging to Sage Agasthya. Additionally, the walls also feature 14 avatars of Lord Shiva. The temple showcases the large Bull, Nandi and a 66o feet Shiva carved from a single stone. You will also come across a 12 feet monolithic Nagalinga.
Fresco Paintings at Veerabhadra Temple
The temple is famous worldwide for its rich display of mural paintings in Natya and Kalyana Mandapams. On entering a hall at the northeastern location, the ceiling featuring mural paintings will astonish you. These are scenes from the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, and the Puranas. The pictorial art reflects the grandeur of the Vijayanagara Empire.
Rich Fresco D
Additionally, the ardha mantapa features fresco paintings in the ceiling which is probably the largest in Asia. This portion also has fresco paintings of 14 avatars of Lord Shiva. Paintings of the builders of this temple are on the ceiling at a sanctum over the deity.
Deities at Veerabhadra Temple
There is a separate chamber on the eastern wing for Shiva and Parvati.
The Hanging Pillar
This distinct hanging pillar is suspended in the main hall. Devotees pass clothes from under it to check the uniqueness.
It’s the largest Monolithic Nagalinga in India. The sculptors built it in an hour just before they went for lunch.
Durga Padam or the footprint of Maa Sita
It’s one of the most remarkable attractions of the temple making it all the more interesting.
Lepakshi Saree Designs
These stunning saree designs are highly creative and are carved on the pillars.
Visiting the Lepakshi Temple
The temple is 140 KM away from Bangalore and is easily accessible through the National Highway NH7. You can also take a flight from major cities. Additionally, KSRTC buses regularly operate from Bangalore and Hindupur. Trains are also available to reach Hindpur Railway Station, which is only 14 KM away from Lepakshi.
Taking the rich tradition into consideration, this temple serves as a leading religious wonder and a major tourist attraction. Visiting this temple leaves you in astonishment and drives home a transcendental experience.