Lepakshi Travel Guide | Lepakshi Bangalore has plenty of options for one-day weekend trips, just a short distance from the city.
This time, we thought of exploring a place that is not only near Bangalore but also happens to be the first site from Andhra Pradesh to make it to the tentative list of UNESCO.
Our destination is the perfect model of art, architecture, and culture of the mid-Vijayanagara period, representing the continuity of cultural traits and transformation through the interchange of cultural values of Chalukyas, Hoyasalas, and Kakatiyas, has found a place on the global tourism map.
No wonder this historically and culturally enriched destination has won the 2023 Best Rural Tourism Village Award on World Tourism Day.
Yes, full of exhilaration and anticipation, we were heading to Anantapur. After all, we had a temple to explore.
Let me take you to the mesmerizing journey to the Lepakashi from Bangalore with our Lepakshi Travel Guide Blog
Plan for the Day
We had already spent half of our day at Gudibande Fort, Chikkaballapura.
With few surplus hours at hand, we thought of exploring the renowned marvel of architecture and a canvas entire of the world-famous fresco paintings, Lepakshi Temple.
Travel Time to Lepkshi Temple
From Gudibande Fort, Chikkaballapura, it takes only around 40 minutes to reach Lepakshi Temple, as the distance is nearly 24 Kilometers.
For someone starting from Bangalore, the time would be roughly 2 hours and 15 minutes, with the distance being around 123 Kilometers.
The timings for the Temple are 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. One can plan the visit as per a schedule where some nearby places can also be covered.
If you are planning a night stay at Lepakshi, there is an option – Andhra Pradesh Tourism Haritha Resort, which is at walking distance from Nandi Statue.
An AC room for two adults and one child may cost approximately Rs. 1100 to Rs. 1200.
Lepakshi Village | A Name with Two Tales
The meaning of the word Lepakshi is Lepa + Akshi – an embalmed eye or a painted eye. As per Virupanna’s tale, the eyes were embalmed after he plucked his eyes. This interpretation indicates the village of the blinded eye.
Another belief is that Jatayu, wounded by Ravana, fell here after a battle while Ravana was forcefully taking Sita Ji. When Lord Rama reached the spot, he compassionately addressed Jatayu, saying “Le Pakshi” – meaning, “Arise bird” in Telugu.
Veerbhadra Temple, Lepakshi
Dedicated to Veerbhadra, a deity created from Lord Shiva’s hair, to disrupt the Yagya (Yajna) performed by Daksha after the humiliation resulting in the sacrifice of Devi Sati, the temple is built in Vijayanagara style of architecture.
The temple was built in the sixteenth century by two brothers, Virupanna Nayaka and Viranna, who were governors under King Achutaraya’s rule.
An inch of the temple has yet to be noticed by the sculptors while showcasing their devotion and artistry in the form of intricate patterns on the idols and mural paintings.
Nandi Statue at Lepakshi
As per common belief, we should always have the darshan of Nandi, the most devout of Lord Shiva’s followers, before the lord himself.
This magnificent monolithic Nandi statue is around 500 to 700 meters before the main Sri Veerabhadra Temple (Lepakshi Temple).
With a height of around 20 feet and a length of 30 feet, this gigantic structure is believed to be the second largest monolithic in India, next only to the Gomateshwara statue in Shravanabelagala.
The Nandi Statue faces the giant 18-foot Nagalingam inside Sri Veerabhadra Temple (Lepakshi Temple).
On the temple’s outer enclosure is a beautifully carved monolithic structure, the Nagalinga, that stands nearly 15 feet tall.
Adorning the black granite Linga is a seven-hooded Naga-Prabhavali, representing the seven kings of Nagaloka, namely, Vasuki, Takshaka, Karkotaka, Padma, Maha-Padma, Sankhapala and Kulika.
The three coils of the serpent below the Linga are also carved very intricately.
As per the common belief, the sculptors finished carving this structure in one hour while waiting for their mother to prepare the lunch.
Lord Ganesha Idol
On the left side of the boulder on which the Nagalinga has been carved, is a beautifully sculpted Lord Ganesha Idol and Mushak Ji.
The Ganesha Idol is around 6 feet tall, and as always, we should have the Darshan of Prathamesh (Lord Ganesha) before seeking the blessings of Veerbhadra Swami Ji.
Incomplete Kalyan Mantapa (Lord Shiva’s Wedding Hall)
After taking the blessings of Lord Ganesha, one comes across a mesmerizing but incomplete Kalyan Mantapa that was being built to portray Lord Shiva’s Wedding.
At the entrance of the Kalyan Mantapa are idols of Raj-Rishis and Brahma-Rishis to welcome the guests attending Lord Shiva’s marriage.
The pillars have minutely detailed idols of Gods attending the ceremony, along with their respective animals and birds.
Picture Perfect Moment
The sculptors have captured a beautiful moment of the marriage where Himavan Ji, the god of Himalayas, and Parvati Ji’s father, is performing Kanyadaan while Lord Shiva is holding Parvati Ji’s hand.
A Tragic Tale | The Bleeding Eyes
Virupanna Nayak, one of the two brothers building the temple, was accused of mismanaging the funds without informing the King about the details of the temple’s construction.
Without clarity, the king ordered Virupanna to be blinded as a punishment.
Out of sheer disappointment, Virupanna gouged his eyes and threw them on the temple’s wall.
Two spots with blood-like stains on the wall are believed to be withstanding centuries to tell the tale of this tragic incident.
Lata Mantapa | Hall of Creepers
After crossing the incomplete Kalyan Mantapa, one witnesses the Lata Mantapa, an assembly of 36 pillars with detailed carvings of Lata or creepers.
These patterns are believed to have inspired the weavers for ages while making beautiful Saree borders.
The Sculptors’ Saucer
Who needs to keep looking for an ordinary set of saucers if one is a sculptor?
Beautiful sets of saucers are carved on the ground by the sculptors, which are believed to be used for food.
Sita Ji’s Footprint
The impression of Sita Ji’s (Lord Rama’s wife) right foot can be seen near the statue of Hanuman Ji.
The little spring of water from an unknown source constantly purifies the footprint.
One of the five Shivlingams of the temple, Tandaveshwara Shivlingam, is near the Mantapa where there is a hall for pilgrims.
We also noticed that some devotees had kept a marriage invitation card on the Shivlingam.
The Sanctum Sanctorum
The temple’s interiors are an artists’ paradise that speaks of the grandeur of Vijayanagara pictorial art and sculpting supremacy.
The ceiling has frescoes of 14 avatars of Lord Shiva, which also boasts of being Asia’s largest mural painting.
The sanctum sanctorum has a life-size image of the presiding deity, Veerbhadra.
One would also see the remaining three Shivlingams: Papavinasheswara, Ramalingeshwara, and Hanumanlingam.
One will also see shrines of Ganpati Ji, Bhadrakali Ji, Parvati Ji, Durga Ji, and Vishnu Ji.
There is also a cave chamber in the sanctum, where Sage Agasthya is believed to have stayed.
Natya Mantapa (The Dance Hall)
Soon after one enters the temple, a Shatpatra Kamal (Lotus with Hundred petals) on the ceiling welcomes you.
This is also the center of the Natya Mantapa or the Dance Hall, which comprises 12 pillars with different beautiful idols of dancers, including Rambha and other musicians and Gods.
The Hanging Pillar
All the 70 pillars inside the temple are art pieces in their terms with intricate figures of deities, sages, dancers, and musicians.
But what sets this one pillar apart is that it is a miraculously hanging pillar.
As the pillar hangs from the ceiling, one can easily pass a cloth from one side to another.
Out of curiosity, a British engineer had dislodged the pillar from its original position to understand the secret of this architectural marvel.
Jatayu Theme Park
Just 1 Kilometer from the main Lepakshi temple is a theme park that APTDC has developed in collaboration with the village locals.
The entrance fee for the Theme Park is Rs. 10 per person, and a giant Jatayu Statue is installed on the top of a boulder.
One can buy some ice creams, cold drinks, and water bottles at the store in the Theme Park.
Jatayu Moksh Ghat Temple
Finally, is a small temple nearly 1.5 Kilometers from Veerbhadra Temple.
It is believed that Lord Rama had performed the last rights of Jatayu, the bird that fought with Ravana during Sita Ji’s abduction at this place.
Places Near Lepakshi Temple
From Lepakshi Temple, there are ample beautiful destinations that one may opt for. Depending upon your interest and the time of the day, you can visit one of the below-mentioned places:
- Vatadahosahalli Lake, Chikkaballapur – Approx. 30 Minutes, 15 Kilometers
- Gudi Bande Fort, Chikkaballapur – Approx. 40 Minutes, 25 Kilometers
- Veerapuram Bird Sanctuary, Hussainpuram – Approx. 40 Minutes, 32 Kilometers
- Sri Vidurashwatha Temple, Halaganahalli – Approx. 50 Minutes, 32 Kilometers
- Avalabetta Top, Chikkaballapur – Approx. 1 Hour, 43 Kilometers
- Adiyogi Statue, Isha Foundation, Chikkaballapur – Approx. 1 Hour 15 Minutes, 64 Kilometers
- Nandi Hills – Approx. 1 Hour 45 Minutes, 93 Kilometers
Location Map to Lepkashi from Bangalore
You can reach Lepakshi Temple by following the below map:
Some Tips for the Lepakshi Temple
Wear hats or caps for protection against extreme sunlight during the daytime.
Wear light-colored clothes to avoid absorbing more heat during the daytime. Keep drinking water to avoid getting dehydrated and carry bottles for that.
Don’t forget to have a refreshing glass of flavored sugarcane juice near Nandi Statue.
Summary & Conclusion
Let me summarize a few crucial details about this marvel called Lepakshi Temple:
- Distance – 123 KMs from Bangalore
- Timings – 6:00 am to 6:00 pm
- Parking Space – Ample
- Parking Charges – Rs. 80
- Entrance Fee – Free
- Eatables – Carry your eatables.
- Drinking Water – Carry your water.
- Toilet – The toilet is available at Jatayu Theme Park, 1 Kilometer from the main temple.
- Activities – Pooja, Historical Sight-Seeing.
A Vlog Of Our Lepakshi Travel Guide
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