Lepakshi Temple : Day Trip from Bangalore

 Trip to Lepakshi temple from Bangalore

Me in the Lepakshi Temple

Lepakshi is a small village in Ananthapur district in Andhra and is famous for the Veerabhadra Swamy temple, which is also known as Lepakshi temple. It is just a couple of hours from Bangalore and is great spot for a day trip. There are 3 places to visit in Lepakshi, the famous Veerabhadra Swamy temple, the Nandi Statue and there is a Jatayu park on a hillock nearby 

Outer Verandah of Veerabhadraswamy temple

Historical Significance of Lepakshi :

Le-Pakshi, in Telgu means "Rise Bird", it has historical roots in Ramayana. When Sita was being abducted by Ravana, Jatayu had tried to stop the demon, and was injured and fell on the ground at this place. When Lord Rama was following the trial of Sita and saw Jatayu wounded, he said "LePakshi", which became the name of this place. It is said that the temple has a footprint of real Sita on the rock, which is still preserved. 

Beautiful Intricate carvings at Lepakshi Temple

How to Go : 

Lepakshi is ~120 Kms from Bangalore so going by self-car is the best option. If going by bus, you can take the KSRTC bus from Bangalore to Hindpur, and from Hindpur it is 15 kms to Lepakshi which can be done by local transport. The bus takes around 3 hours. 

We went by our own car, we started in the morning at around 7 am, and reached Lepakshi by 10ish, with a breakfast break in between. Car parking is available right at the entrance of the temple, there are lots of small shops outside selling toys, food, prasadam at the entrance of the temple

You can carry some snacks from home and eat there, as not too many restaurants at this place. 

Each Pillar is a unique story in itself @ Lepakshi temple

Veerabhadra Swamy Temple:

Also known as Lepakshi temple, it is a living temple, holding lots of mysteries inside it. You will find local people who are regular visitors offering prayers, and there will also be lot of tourists who will be busy clicking pictures. The architecture, the carvings on stone, the beautiful open air mantappa, each pillar, each wall has a story hidden in it.  

This temple was built in 1583 AD by two brothers Verupanna and Veeranna from Vijayanagara empire. While mythology suggests this place to be auspicious from Ramayana times, and one puranic lore credits the temple to be from the time of Sage Agastya from ancient times. 

The temple compound has approximately 70 pillars, one open air Kalyana Mantapa, a monolithic Natraja, Ganesha temple and open alleys with lots of pillars, carvings and paintings. 

Lots of devotees at the inner shrine @ Lepakshi temple
Wall Murals which have been preserved from old era
One of this Pillar is hanging of the ground @ Lepakshi Temple

The Hanging Pillar 

This is one famous attraction in Lepakshi temple, out of the 70 pillars, there is one pillar which hangs off the ground, and it is an unsolved mystery, You can pass a newspaper or a think handkerchief to prove it. Many scientists have tried to unravel the mystery of hanging pillar, but when they tried to remove this pillar, all other pillars started shaking. 

Hanging Pillar @Lepakshi temple

Ganesha Temple :

I first visited the main shrine, the pillars and then went outside to visit the Ganesha Temple. You will notice that the sculpture is made with single stone, and there is a snake tied around the Ganesha belly. Its unique but shows similarity to the Sasivekalu Ganesha in Hampi. 

Ganesh Temple at Lepakshi

Naga Shrine:

This is the largest serpent shrine in India, and it is a sight to behold. There is a 7 hooded Naga coiled around the Shiva Linga. It is said that this is monolithic which means built by carving one stone. There is a legend which says that the Naga was carved by the sculptors on a single big Basalt rock while they waited for their mother to prepare lunch

Naga Shrine @ Lepakshi

Open Air Kalyan Mantapa:

This is a place with lots of pillars showing carvings with dancers, warriors, divine nymphs, every pillar has a story to tell. There is a legend which says that this Kalyana Mantapa was build for marriage of Shiva and Parvati, but brother Virupanna had spent a lot of money from the royal exchequer and was found guilty of embezzlement, and work was stopped midway.

Open Air Kalyana Mantapa at Lepakshi
Me and my Daughter enjoying the sun

Sita's Footprint:

It is said that when Ravana was kidnapping Sita and taking her to Lanka, Jatayu tried to stop them, and for the brief moment Sita's foot touched the Lepakshi ground. This is where her foot print is still seen on the rock, and it is said that the foot is always wet, some magical water always flowing in it. I was trying to locate this foot, but it seems I missed it, hence no picture. 

 There are halls outside the main shrine with lots and lots of pillars, you can rest here and spend time. 

Long Halls with many pillars @ Lepakshi temple

Once you come out of the Lepakshi main temple, there are 2 more attractions nearby. 

Monolithic Nandi Statue :

As you enter the village, the Nandi statue is very evidently visible, it is the second largest Nandi in the world (the first one being the Bull Temple in Bangalore). It is beautiful, there is a small park made around it and parking is available. We did not get down here, just bowed it from outside and went onwards.

Jatayu Park:

The Veerabhadra swamy temple is built on a turtle shaped hill, and one of the peaks you will notice a big bird Jatayu status is built, the is a park built nearby by the tourism authority. There is a small ticket at the base, and then there is a short climb up to the view point. There is a birds eye view from the top and you can notice the Nandi Status and Veerabhadraswamy temple from top. It is skippable in my view. There is a small icecream shop near the ticket counter from where you can purchase cold drinks and packaged icecream for your climb. 

Jatayu Park with a Bird status above the rock @ Lepakshi temple
Family is tired and wants to sit under a rock
View from the top of Jatayu Park

Tips for the journey:

1. Leave early from Bangalore, because as the day gets hotter you will feel exhausted and the temple hill/stones will be very hot

2. Carry some food and water with you, there are not many options to eat. There is one Andhra Tourism restaurant which offers decent thali nearby, we went there for our lunch (picture below)

3. Caps and Sunglasses

4. You can combine Lepakshi trip along with Gandikota if you wish. We just did a day trip, went in the morning and were back by evening to Bangalore

5. Road is smooth,and this time I was driving (my first highway drive), so I really enjoyed

The only decent restaurant to eat Lunch @ Lepakshi