Lepakshi Temple

About The Temple

Notable Aspects of Lepakshi Temple, Anantapur Is Its Architecture And History

Veerabhadra temple is located in Lepakshi, in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. It is built in the southern region of Lepakshi town and is one hundred forty kilometers away from the city of Bangalore. The temple was constructed during the sixteenth century, 1530 to 1540. Viranna and VirupannaNayaka, who were brothers and governors of the Vijayanagara empire, undertook the creation of this temple. According to the Hindu religious text, Skanda Purana, it is considered to be among the Divya Kshetras.

Temple’s cultural significance

The notable temple is a popular center of attraction for numerous deities all over the country. The holy place of lepakshi temple comprises of dance hall where rituals are performed. There is a huge monolith structure of Nagalinga, here. Once you enter the interior court, you will find a stunning statue of Lord Ganesha. Several other sculptures are etched on granite pillars inside the temple. You will find etchings of the fairy Rambha along with the portrayal of Lord Shiva’s performance of AnandaTandava. There is also an inscription of Lord Brahma’s playing of drums. Carvings represent divine musicians, drummers and dancers. Flawless and exceptional paintings adorn the walls of this historically and culturally significant place.

Importance of the presiding divinity

Principle deity of this splendid temple is Veerabhadra. This is indeed a magnificent sculpture that comprises of intricate mandapams. The Prakaram entail beautiful sculptures that include fourteen forms or avatars of Lord Shiva. According to certain religious beliefs, Virabhadra is essentially a super-being who was created by the wrath of Shiva or Rudra. Along with Veerabhadram his wife or consort, Bhadrakali was given life to by the wrath of Devi. The main deity in this temple is shown to be carrying weapons. Historians state that Virabhadra was created during the time of destroying Daksha’s fire sacrifice or yagna.

Principle idol for reverence

The idol of presiding divinity, Veerbhadra is made completely from black granite. This imposing deity is six feet tall, in height and is placed in the sanctum sanctorum or garbha gruha. Origin of this God is associated with the mythological history of DakshaYaga. Lord Shiva created Virabhadra by lashing and whipping his matted locks. This was due to deep sorrow and anger due to Sati Devi’s self-immolation. The origin of Virabhadra is considered a significant occurrence in Shaivism. When Shiva came to know about Sati’s martyr in the sacrificial fire, he plucked two locks of hair and thrashed them in the ground. This resulted in the birth of Rudrakali and Lord Veerabhadra.

Presence of other shrines

The Skanda Purana comprises of a reference in regards to Lepakshi. It states that there are one hundred and eight essential shrines or Shaiva Kshetras. The chief deity is obviously Veerabhadra, who is a furious and livid avatar of Lord Shiva. Other divinities who find lace in this temple are Goddess Parvati, who also wears a livid and sad appearance. Numerous shrines are dedicated to Sri Rama, Virabhadra Swamy, Raghunatha, Durga, Papaneswara, Shiva, and Vishnu.

Essential rites and rituals

The main shrines of Virabhadra Swamy and Goddess Durga are worshiped in this holy place. The lepakshi temple timings are 5:00 am to 9:00 pm. This temple is open throughout the week. Rites and rituals that are performed here were classified and sanctified by Shri Shankaracharya. Apart from worshipping Lord Virabhadra, worshipping of various other Gods and Goddesses takes place. Some of them are Sri Kashi Vishwanatha, Ganesha, Parvathi, Nandi, Narayana Swamy, Chandikeshwara, Uthsava Murthy, Kalabhairava. Priests and pujaris perform certain rituals. These include Navagraha Puja, Rudrabhisheka, Panchambrutha and Akki Puja. Pujaris also conduct special ceremonies and sacraments like Agni Kunda, Muthina Pallaki, Veergasa, Dolu, Danuur Masa Puja and others. By performing specific rituals, you can certainly attain ultimate moksha.

Popular celebrations and events

Pilgrims from all over the world visit Veerabhadra temple for taking part in a ten-day long festival. This special celebration is Asvayujamasam. A major highlight of this event centers around the celebration of temple chariot. Numerous weekly, monthly and annual fairs take place all over the Anantapur village and areas surrounding this renowned place of worship. Traditional rituals and celebrations are held by the scriptures of Agamas. Some of the other major festivals that take place here are Sambhulingeswara Kalyanotsavam and Durgamma festival.

However, the most popular annual festival is that of Rathotsavam or car festival that is conducted in the temple, itself in February. The season of festivals usually starts around the month of October which continues till February. This place is ideal for celebrating and organizing events like mundane functions and marriage ceremonies. Other festivals include Pongal, Deepawali, Navratri, and Mahashivratri. Special pujas like Purnima and Ekadashi are also celebrated with great aplomb and splendor.

Famed pilgrimage center

Every year, several pilgrims arrive at the famed pilgrimage town of Puttaparthi. The prime reason for doing so is to visit the veerabhadra temple lepakshi of Anantpur district. Another popular reason for visiting this noted temple is to witness and participate in the chariot festival that goes by the name of Rathotsavam. This temple witnesses high footfall rate during February month when the ten-day festival and religious celebrations take place. Lepakshi is a historically significant pilgrimage center because of its renowned architecture.

How To Reach

Provision of comprehensive transportation methods has made traveling to Virabhadra temple in Lepakshi an easy process. The veerabhadra temple lepakshi is situated in the region of Anantapur district.

 

  • In case, if your main route is Bangalore, then the Virabhadra temple’s location is at one hundred twenty kilometers. From the town of Anantapur, you have to travel approximately for fifteen kilometers for reaching this ancient shrine.
  • By taking the West route at Kodikonda, check-post from the Bangalore-Hyderabad National Highway-7, you can reach lepakshi temple from bangalore easily. The nearest bus station is Anantpur Bypass if you want to avail bus transportation.
  • This well-known temple is also accessible via major railway stations. Some of the nearby stations are Hindupur, Virapur, Anantpur, Narayanapuram, Taticherla, Somalapuram and Basampelle.
  • An important factor worth remembering is that there are no regular or direct flights from major cities. However, the nearest airport is Hindustan Airport in Bangalore, which is one hundred and eighty-five kilometers away from Anantapur district. Tirupati Airport is another option from where you can obtain a car, bus or train transportation for arriving at the temple.
  • If you are traveling by road, then the Chikkaballapur and Bagepakki route from Bangalore will be convenient for reaching Lepaskhi. In case if you are opting for arriving at Lepakshi by car, then the approximate distance will be one hundred and twenty-five kilometers.

 

Nearby Attractions

Apart from the Veerabhadra temple in Anantapur region, Andhra Pradesh, there are several commendable places of interest here.

  • Raidurga Fort in Anantapur is a prominent tourist attraction. However, this once invincible fort is now practically in ruins. It comprises of renowned temples for Narasimhan, Jambukeshwara, and Hanuman. Another notable place is the Yadiki Caves that falls between Tadipatri and Gooty. Geemanugavi cave is situated at five kilometers.
  • Hemavathi is a historically significant place, and the Hemavathi Fort is among the oldest forts in Andhra Pradesh. Exceptional architectural examples of Pallava and Chola era are Siddeshswara Swamy temple, Mallikarjuna Swamy temple, and Doddeswara Swamy temple.
  • Dharamvaram is a renowned place, known for its cotton and silk weaving industry. This place is located approximately at forty-seven kilometers from the region of Anantapur. Dharamvaram is notable for puppets made from leather and exceptional silk sarees.
  • Aluru Kona is a small hamlet that is situated at five kilometers away from Tadipatri town, near Anantapur. The Ranganathaswamy temple is a famous place of interest here. Gooty Fort is reachable from Anantapur by covering a distance of fifty-two kilometers. A noteworthy aspect of this fort is that it is among the oldest hill forts at Andhra Pradesh and has a shape and design of the shell.
  • If you travel seventy kilometers from Anantpur, then you will arrive at Penukonda Fort. This fort is positioned on the route of Kurnool-Bangalore. Penukonda was known as Ghanadri or Ghanagiri and was considered to be the second capital of Vijayanagara kings.
  • A famous and significant place situated at ninety-seven kilometers from Lepakshi is Puttaparthi. This is the birthplace of renowned Godman, Sri Satya Sai Baba. Prasanthi Nilayam, better known as the Abode of Highest Peace was an ashram established by Sai Baba in 1950. Some notable sites worth seeing here are Gayathri Mandir, Subramanya Mandir, Sarva Dharma Stupa, Poona Chandra Auditorium and Sai Kulwant Hall.
  • Tadipatri is positioned almost ninety kilometers away from Lepakshi, Anantpur. A prominent temple in this town is the Chintala Venkataramana Temple that comprises of a lofty gopura.

 

History Of Temple

Certain interesting myths and legends are associated with the Lepakshi temple. Legends state that when Ravan abducted Sita and was taking her to Lanka, a large bird interrupted his journey. This bird was Jatayu who was in a frail and weak form but who still fought bravely against Ravan to protect and free Sita. However, he was eventually defeated and killed by Ravan. The place where Jatayu fell is said to be the now renowned Veerabhadra temple. When Ram saw the fatally injured bird, he compassionately said to him “Le Pakshi” which translates in Telugu as “Rise, Bird”.

This temple is said to be sanctified by a celebrated and noted Sapta Rishi, Agastya Muni. According to legends, Sage Agastya was a spiritual luminary and yogi from the south. Various rituals, practices and other features of this holy place have been established and inspired from Sage Agastya. A notable attribute is the lepakshi temple hanging pillar that is an integral part of the seventy pillars. It is called the Hanging Pillar because it is positioned on the edge, without any support or balance. Virabhadra temple is essentially renowned for its commendable and fantastic architectural features, designed by Vijayanagara architects.

Another notable aspect that you will notice in the temple premises is a large footprint that is said to belong to Sita Devi. This temple’s inner enclosure comprises of two red spots that are distinctly visible on the western wall. Then there are noticeable dark maroon stains, present near the Kalyana Mantapa. These red spots and stains supposedly belong to Virupanna, who was a famed treasurer of Vijayanagara Empire. Legends elaborate that these marks are from Virupanna’s bleeding eyes. For this reason, Lepakshi is often called the village of ‘the blinded eye’.