Lepakshi

Thamba and I went to Lepakshi today as Amma and Poppy stayed behind because of their trip to meet one of Kodai neighbors in Hosur. Lepakshi is small village close to Hindupur in Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh. It is lies 120 kilometers north of Bangalore and can be reached through Hyderabad national highway – NH7. Drive past Devenahalli airport literally straight in NH7, take the left after the toll and forest check post. Andhra Pradesh tourism and ASI has not done much for this elegant temple of 16th century. There are no sign boards anywhere as you drive through tropical deciduous forests.

Lepakshi hosts the Veerabhadra Swamy temple built by Virupanna and Veeranna, treasurers of Vijayanagar Empire. Seems they both used the money in the treasury without the King’s knowledge and was ordered to be blinded for this crime without a trial. Legend has that this temple was built by sage Agasthya and later it came to this sage by Virupanna.

The main deity of this temple is Veebhadra Swamy. It has two shrines – Siva on the right and Vishnu on the left. It also has a small place for Goddess Durga. The main attraction of this temple is a huge monolithic Nandi in granite stone. You have to enter through Natya Mandapam, which has life-size representations of musicians and dancers carved to exquisite details designed in Vijayanagar style. Ardha Mandapam or the praying hall comes after that has all the shrines. Kalyana Mandapam at back is a testament to the exuberance of Vijanagar architecture. Local legend has that Siva and Parvati got married on the same spot of this mandapam. This mandapam has most of the great Gods and Goddess of Hindu mythology, the witnesses of this holy union. At the end of the mandapam, there are like 40 pillars each depicting different designs on all the 4 sides. This apparently gave way to Lepakshi saree designs.

One of the main attractions (the least sought after one) of this temple is the mural paintings in the ceilings of Natya Mandapam. It has best repository of Vijayanagar art made from natural dyes. It depicts various scenes from mythology including local lifestyle. I could get some medieval saree wrapping style and designs from those murals.

Saree Designs


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