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|Village in Mandal|
Kalyan Mantapam in Lepakshi
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Vehicle registration||AP 02|
Lepakshi (Telugu: లేపాక్షి)(Kannada: ಲೇಪಾಕ್ಷಿ) is a small village in Mandal located in the Anantapur District of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is 15 km (9.3 mi) east of Hindupur and approximately 120 km (75 mi) north of Bangalore. Lepakshi is historically and archaeologically significant as it has three shrines dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Veerabhadra. These shrines were built during the Vijayanagara Kings' period (1336–1646).
One of the main attractions in Lepakshi is a large Nandi bull made of a single granite stone. The place is known for mural paintings of the Vijayanagar kings. Many Kannada inscriptions dating back centuries can be seen on its walls. Legend has it that the Naga of the Nagalinga was carved out of a single stone by sculptors while they waited for their mothers to prepare lunch.
Stone carved pillars of the main temple
The famous Veerabhadra temple dedicated to Veerabhadra is here. Built by the brothers Viranna and Virupanna, the temple is a notable example of the Vijayanagar architectural style. It is renowned for its sculptures, which were created by the artisans of the Vijayanagara empire.
Points of interest in the temple
There are many peculiarities in this temple such as a rock chain, Vastu Purush, the Padmini Race Lady, the Hanging Pillar, Durga Paadam, Lepakshi saree designs, and others. The paintings on the roof are done in natural pigments. One noted spot in the temple is the "Eyes of Viroopaakshanna".
On a hillock known as Kurma Saila (tortoise shaped hill), temples of 'Papanatheswara', 'Raghunatha', 'Srirama', 'Veerabhadra' and 'Durga' are located. The Veerabhadra temple is the most important.
On the walls of this temple, several stories like the Mahabharatha and the Ramayana are sculpted. This village is renowned for having one of the best collections of mural paintings from the Vijayanagar Kings period. Many Kannada inscriptions dating back centuries can be seen on its walls.
According to history, due to a misunderstanding with the temple's builder, the king ordered him to be blinded. Hearing this, the builder plucked out his own eyes and threw them at the wall. Even today those blood marks are evident on that particular wall.
The monolithic "Nandi" sculpture, which is said to be the biggest monolithic Nandi in India, is synonymous with Lepakshi. It is 4.5m high and 8.23m long. The big granite bull is on the main road, about 200 meters from the temple. It has been positioned such that it faces the shivalinga shielded by a huge serpent inside the temple. It is the second largest monolith in India, after Gomateshwara. The Nandi sports a huge kaasu malai, a bell chain, earrings and other jewelry.
Connection with the Ramayana
The historic town of Lepakshi has been connected with an occurring of the Indian epic of Ramayana. According to the Valmiki's Ramayana, when Ram accompanied by Hanuman, met the dying Jatayu, they helped him attain moksha by uttering the words "Le Pakshi," which is Telugu for "Rise, bird". Hence the name, Lepakshi.
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