Why Is Lepakshi Veerabhadra Temple So Famous?
Veerabhadra Temple is a 16th century temple situated at Lepakshi, in Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh state, India. This temple at Lepakshi is famous for its sculptures, carvings and paintings. This temple is one among the divyakshetras (holy temples) for Lord Shiva devotees.
The temple is constructed in Vijayanagara style of architecture. It is constructed in 1530 or 1540,during the reign of King Achutaraya of Vijayanagar dynasty. It was constructed by two brothers, Virupanna Nayaka and Viranna, who were governors under King Achutaraya.
Lepakshi Temple mural paintings includes scenes from the great epics, Ramayana & Mahabharata and also from Puranas, depicting the Vijayanagara pictorial art in its full grandeur. The fresco paintings inside the ante chamber is said to be largest such painting in Asia. These Lepakshi fresco paintings are well preserved.
Veerabhadra temple at Lepakshi has two enclosures. The outer one has three gates; northern gate is the one which is normally used. The eastern inner gate takes you to the assembly hall, at the entrance to the sanctum sanctorum (sanctum sanctorum means the innermost sacred place in any Hindu temple). Sculptures and paintings adorn every inch of the hall and the ceiling. 14 avatars of Lord Shiva are depicted on the pillars here in this hall. Small statues of goddesses Ganga and goddesses Yamuna can be seen at the entrance to the sanctum sanctorum.
Carved images of soldiers, horses, etc, can be seen on the exterior columns of this hall. Pictures of Goddesses Parvathi, Lord Shiva’s consort, flanked by female attendants can be seen on the southwest part of the hall. North eastern part of this hall has the paining showing Natesha with by Brahma and a drummer on each side.
There is a “hanging pillar“, an engineering wonder, in this temple. One out of the total of seventy pillars hangs from the ceiling. You can pass thin objects like a sheet of paper or a piece under this pillar.
Veerabhadra temple at Lepakshi is classified as a Monument of National Importance, by the Archaeological Survey of India.
At around a 600 meters from this temple, there is a colossal statue of Nandi, carved out of a single stone. It is one of the largest Nandi statues in the world.
How Do I Go to Veerabhadra Temple and the Nandi Statue at Lepakshi?
Veerabhadra Temple is situated on the southern side of Lepakshi town, at around 600 meters from the city center.
Lepakshi Temple is at a distance of around 140 kilometers from Bangalore. Lepakshi Veerabhadra Temple is at around 35 kilometers from Penukonda Town, a nearby major town in Anantapur district. Hindupur is another nearby city.