Updated: Jul 9, 2022
Lepakshi is a small hamlet in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, which is just over 120 km from Bangalore and 15 km from the town of Hindpur.
The temple town of Lepakshi is seeped in mythological grandeur.
The larger-than-life sculptures and exquisite friezes here are a rich repository of stories from Hindu mythology. It has shrines dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, Papanatheswara, Raghunatha, Rama and other deities.The entrance to the sanctum has the figurines of goddesses Yamuna and Ganga. The Hall's exterior columns are full of decorations in the form of carvings of soldiers and horses.
The northeastern part of the room has the images of Nataraja and Brahma along with that of a drummer. One can also see the carvings of dancing nymphs around it. The southwest hall has the image of Parvati flanked by the female attendants.
The deity Veerbhadra is deified in the sanctum sanctorum. A life-size image of his having been decorated with skulls could be seen. It is believed that Sage Agasthya has installed the image of Linga here.
Legend and History:
According to the first legend, Lepakshi found its roots in the legendary Ramayana when Ravana had kidnapped Sita. As he was taking her away, the bird Jataya tried saving her from his hand. Defeated by Ravana, he fell on the floor. As he was counting his last breath Lord Rama helped him attain Moksha by saying 'Le Pakshi' which in Telugu means 'Rise Bird.' Hence the name Lepakshi originated.
There is also another of two brothers Virupanna and Viranna, two brothers in the Vijayanagar Kingdom. Virupanna's son was blind, and it is said that he gained sightedness while he was playing around the Shivalinga in the temple.
Virupanna was one of the financiers of Vijayanagar. Blamed by others for using the royal treasury; some say for the completion of the temple while some say for curing his son, the king gave orders for taking off his eyes. Disturbed by the false accusation, he forestalled the punishment and threw his eyes onto the walls of the temple. Hence, the place got its name Lape-Akshi meaning the village of the blinded. Now the eerie part is that the temple wall still has the blood marks of the eyes.
A diminutive hillock that is shaped like the back of a tortoise is also an attraction. A town of architecture and shades, Lepakshi invites backpackers to experience and discover. Its closeness to Bangalore also makes it easier to make a day trip from there.