Recently I have traveled a famous temple of South India is Veerabhadra Temple, it is in Lepakshi village (Andra Pradesh).
Best time to visit: You can go anytime here but avoid in summer.I would suggest in late December to late February and morning will be the best time.
Road Condition: The distance between Hyderabad to Lepakshi temple is around 500 K.M. I went there by my beast Volkswagen POLO. It took 7 hrs to be there. The road is very good and smooth. There is multiple Tollbooth that may bother you for a while but the road is very good.
Food or hotel: There is no very good Hotel near this place but you can find ok accommodation here. You can have food at Andra Pradesh government hotel.
How to reach: Alternatively, you can use the APSRTC, KSRTC buses or the Railways from Bangalore to Hindupur. From Hindupur, APSRTC buses are available to Lepakshi (We don’t know their frequency. You have to check that to adjust your timings and convenience).
Please Note: The temple is still functional, and active worship and sacred rituals keep going on. It is hence important to preserve silence and keep decency within the temple complex. There isn’t any footwear stand as of now. If you arrived there in a hired or your own vehicle, better keep it inside. Footwear is not allowed inside the temple complex.
Entry Fee: There is no entry fee to temple.
Photography: Photography is allowed anywhere inside the temple complex, except inside the “Garbha grihas”.
Vijayanagara empire, The legendary Lepakshi, also known as Veerabhadra temple. The hanging pillar in Lepakshi attracts many visitors and is an architectural wonder to witness. The temple is situated in a small village, Lepakshi, of Anantapur district, in Andra Pradesh. It a very famous weekend gateway from Hyderabad as well as Bangalore. This village was founded in around 1538 AD by Maharaja Aliya Rama Raya of the Vijayanagara Empire, but it has various stories which state it relation with Ramayana and legends says that it has the presence of Lord Rama. The belief is that when Lord Rama met dying bird Jatayu, he helped him to take moksha by saying “Le Pakshi” which means “rise bird”, this has given the name to village Lepakshi.
Veerabhadra Swamy temple is built in Vijayanagara styled with the 100-pillared dance hall, intricate carvings, paintings on the ceilings, and the most astonishing architectural marvel hanging pillar that barely touches the ground, the monolithic(the structure formed from single large block of stone) Nagalinga, the monolithic Nandi,and the unfinished wedding hall. The temple is built on a tortoise “kurma Sailam” hill.
Though the temple has beautiful architecture, you will get a feel that temple never got completed. As per history Virupanna, the royal treasurer was accused of drawing funds from the state treasury for construction of temple without kings’ permission. When the king came to know when he took his own eyes and throw them on the wall as a punishment, the two reddish spots on the western wall of inner enclosure are said to be blood stain of his eyes and after that work of temple come to a halt which was never taken forward again. This can be seen from unfinished “Kalyan Mandapa”, a marriage hall behind main temple complex and several other unfinished structures are still there. This leads to another story from where the village name came “Lepa-akshi” or, “Lepakshi”, i.e., a village of the blinded eye.
The huge Nandi is about 200 meters from the main temple. The temple complex is surrounded by two walls and the outer enclosure wall has a maintenance facing north which is very rare as Hindu temples are usually East facing, though we have some west and south facing as well, North is rare. On the entrance, you will be welcomed by a huge monolithic Nandi (15 feet high and 27 feet wide), carved out of a single rock and can see the inner entrance of the temple, which is wonderfully carved out of stone. One thing that you can notice is that the outer and inner gate or entrance are not aligned together.
As you enter inside the Veerabhadra Swamy temple, you will be mesmerized by the intricately carved pillars with dancers, musicians with various musical instruments in the main “Mukha mandapa” (also called ‘Nitya Mandapa’ or ‘Ranga Mandapa’). On the ceiling, there are very fine mural paintings of the Vijayanagar kings, which is the specialty of Vijayanagara architecture and also there is a 24 by 14 feet painting of Veerabhadra on the ceiling before the main sanctum. Though the paintings are now deteriorating due to water seeping and time as they have been there for centuries. In Garbha grihas, main shrine hall, there is a life-size sculpture of Lord Veerabhadra, the fiery form of Lord Shiva. The main temple is still alive and pooja keeps on going here.
There exist a monolithic Nagalinga, the largest Nagalinga in India with three coils and seven hoods forming a canopy over a black granite Shivalingam, there is Ganapathi idol just behind the Nagalinga, one thing that is noted here is that the pillars on both sides that support the roof for the Ganapathi idol are not symmetric. The left one is designed more intricately in comparison to the right. As you can see the top designs of the pillars are different. This is uncommon to have such incoherent structures. This is obviously among one of the incomplete structures in Lepakshi.
Nearby Ganapathi idol there are several pillars carved so beautifully and have inspired several saree designs. There is various design among pillars in Lepakshi which are now used in saree border of Lepakhsi. Even though it is unfinished, it won’t fail in amazing you of the fine craftsmanship of the sculptors.
Things to do nearby
The Vijayanagar Empire once had a flourishing industry of silk weaving, a tradition which is still well preserved. Dharmavaram, a town near Lepakshi is a well-known silk weaving center, while Hindupur is famous for south cotton. Both these places make for excellent shopping destinations, while Puttaparthi, a pilgrim town near the village is perfect for a spiritual afternoon.