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.