Lepakshi is a small town located in the Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh. It is located 15 kilometers east of Hindupur by train and about 130 kilometers from Bangalore. It’s just after the border separating Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and it takes around 2 hours to reach.
Lepakshi is a good place for those travelers who enjoy places of art and ancient marble monuments, and for those who want to separate themselves from the typical tourist routes. During the sixteenth century, Lepakshi was a center of pilgrimage and commerce.
Built in the style typical of Vijayanagara architecture, the temple features many exquisite sculptures of Gods, goddesses, dancers and musicians, and hundreds of paintings on the walls, columns and ceiling. Lepakshi is very important in the historical and archaeological aspect. It is a complex that has three sanctuaries dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Veerabhadra. This last temple built by the brothers Viranna and Virupanna, is an example of the Vijayanagar architectural style. It is famous for its sculptures, which were created by craftsmen from the Vijayanagara empire.
At the front of the temple is a large Nandi (bull), a sculpture of Shiva, which is carved into a single block of stone, and is said to be one of the largest of its kind in the world. One that stands out it a giant statue of a 7-headed cobra with a shiva lingam in front. There’s also a big statue of Ganesh.
The temple is divided into three parts, with 38 unfinished monolithic pillars. The three parts form a triangle. According to a local legend, the god Shiva and Parvati were married in the place where the Kalyana Mandapa is located.
The temple is surrounded on the outside by an enclosure. A second interior enclosure contains the important part of the temple. Its most refined parts are the Mandapas “Natya” (Dance) and “Ardha” (Adoration). The first one is decorated with sculpted pillars with musicians and dancers in real scale in various positions.
The place is famous for being one of the best deposits of mural paintings of the kings of Vijayanagar. Many ancient Kannada inscriptions, which appear on its walls, are dated centuries ago. On the walls of these temples, there are several sculpted stories such as mahabhaaratha, ramayana, etc. Also, on the ceilings there are beautiful paintings made with mixtures of natural colors.