LEPAKSHI is a charming hamlet situated in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh and is part of the Anantapur District. It is about 120km north of Bengaluru in Karnataka. and 15km from the town of Hindupur. Although small, the hamlet has a lot of historical and religious significance for the locals. In the Ramayana, Lord Ram accompanied by Hanuman, meets the dying JATAYU. They help him to attain MOKSHA by uttering the words : LE PAKSHI which is Telugu for “rise, bird”. Hence the name LEPAKSHI.
The place is famous in South India for its Temples. There are three Temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Virabhadra. Another attraction of the place is a small hillock that is shaped like the back of a tortoise and has been named KURMA SAILA and located on the hillock are Temples of Sri Rama, Raghunatha, Papanatheswara and Goddess Durga.
The Temples are examples of the exquisite craftsmanship displayed by the VISHWAKARMA Brahmins, who were the sculptors employed for carving out the hard walls of the temples. Many people believe that even the famous Vishwakarma Sculptor — Amarashilpi Janakachari helped prepare the design and layout of the temples. In fact, famous sculptors of the time, including KAKOJU & MOROJU, helped prepare the carvings of the temple walls. On the walls are depicted various scenes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Interestingly, the carvings on the walls of the temples also inspire the designs for the famous LEPAKSHI Saris.
The chief attraction of LEPAKSHI is the VEERABHADRA Temple, dedicated to Lord Veerabhadra, which draws devotees from all over South India. The temple was built by two brothers —- VIRANNA & VIRUPANNA. It is an example of the Vijayanagara architectural style. Points of interest include a rock chain, hanging pillar, Vastu Purush, Durga Paadam and Lepakshi Sari designs. The paintings on the roof are made with natural colours.
The LEPAKSHI NANDI is a granite monolithic sculpture on the main road of LEPAKSHI, approximately 200 metres from the Temple. It is 4.5metres high and 8.23metres long, making it one of the largest Nandi in India. The sculpture has been positioned so that it faces the SHIVALINGA that is inside the Temple, and is shielded by a large serpent. The Nandi wears a KAASU MALAI (a bell chain), earrings and other jewellery. Legend has it that the NAGA of the NAGALINGA was carved out of a single stone by the sculptors while they waited for their mothers to prepare lunch.