Thursday, July 24, 2008

Visit to Lepakshi

Lepakshi is a small village, set back in time. Situated 480 km from Hyderabad, and It is 15 km east of Hindupur and about 100 km north of Bangalore.

We thought of starting early and got up at 5 a.m but since both me and my husband hate to wake up early on a weekend we stayed in bed for a while and by the time we started out it was already 8a.m. But not to worry we got a bus to Hindupur from majestic bus stand and we were off. But our trip was not going to be a smooth one. The bus broke down around 12km from Hindpur so we took an auto rickshaw from there. Lucky for us there are a lot of service autos connecting all those small villages to Hindpur. when we told the driver that we wanted to go to Lepakshi temple he dropped us at a bus stand where a lot of private buses to Lepakshi are available. By that time it was already afternoon and we were hungry. We searched for a restaurant but all we can find is a small hotel that provided meals, which I should say that we were able to eat only because we were hungry. I suggest u take ur own lunch if u r planning to go.

From there we got a bus to Lepakshi, just a 15 min ride in a crowded bus is not that bad. We reached the temple and to our shock we realised that the batteries in our camera were not charged. Since we took 3 sets of batteries with us I tried all combinations and one of them worked so I was not able to get as many pictures as I wished I had. We hired a guide who basically told us the story of how and why the temple was built. Want to read the story? I think you would like it better when a professional told it, and the place also would add to the mystic. but if you are still interested read my next blog, because this one is for my visit only. Now where was I, yes we hired a guide, took the tour. And had some great pictures.
The weather was favourable, thank God. It was cloudy all day and drizzled a bit when we were in the temple. The light shower of water on an already heated rocks has rather cooling effect. The place looked even charming in the rain.

The Temple is built on a turtle shaped hill called 'Kurma Saila' . There are 5 'Lingas' in this place and each one has its own history. One of which was placed by Lord Rama when he found 'Jatayuvu'(A bird which tried to Save Sita). Another was placed there By Lord Hanuma and so on...All these small temples were noted and a huge temple was rebuilt in its place by 'Virupanna' a treasurer of Vijayanagara Kings, when he had a vision from his deity 'Veerabhadra' asking Virupana to build a temple for him.

The temple is divided into three parts - the 'Mukha Mandapa', (also called 'Nitya Mandapa' or 'Ranga Mandapa'), the 'Artha Mandapa' and 'Garbha Griha', and the 'Kalyana Mandapa', with 38 carved monolithic pillars in grey sandstone is unfinished. These three form a triangle with a common Mandapam.The temple sanctum stands in the middle of two irregular enclosures and the entrance is through a huge hall which is the 'Mukha Mandapa'. The pillars in this hall bear sculptures of different deities major and minor. We can see Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma, Devi Parvathi watching a dance performance of 'Rambha' who dances according to the steps of 'Brungeeswara' (the three legged dance teacher of the Devas, who keeps on danceing with any of his two legs at any given time.....tiring isin't it). There are musicians also.

Adjacent to the main hall is a pillar , hanging from the ceiling. A heavy pillar of it size hanging from the celing is quiet intriguing. A British Engineer — studying the uniqueness of the pillar about a century ago — disturbed the delicate balance. The ceiling here that is more interesting. The frescos that cover the entire space are reputed to be the most important specimens of Vijaynagar pictorial art. Painstakingly done, these narrate events from the life of the patrons of this temple as well as episodes from the Mahabharatha and Ramayana. In one corner, the brothers Viranna and Virupanna are shown worshipping Shiva and Parvathi in the company of courtiers. These are of great interest, as they provide details of costumes,ornaments and hairsyles of an bygone era. Apart from these, these are many sculptures depicting puranic episodes like those of 'Ananthasayana', 'Dattatreya', 'Chaturmukha Bramha', 'Tumburu', 'Narada' and 'Rambha'. The 'Artha Mandapa' and 'Garbha Griha' is where we find the main deity is an almost life-size image of Veerabhadra carrying weapons. And in the ceiling is a painting of Veerabhadra with Virupanna dutifully offering obeisance. There are also minor temples of Durga, Vishnu, Vinayaka, and the 'Nava Grahas'. A pillar here shows the pefect images of man and woman.

Outside the compound is a magnificiant multi-hooded Naga shielding a granite Linga. It is shaped out of a natural boulder and is an awe-inspiring spectacle. The big granite bull is on the main road, about 200 metres from the temple faces this Linga. 'The Kalyana Mandapam' is a standing monument to the exuberance of Vijayanagar art but it is left unfinished. Here we find on one pillar Lord Shiva and Devi Parvathi in the middle of their marriage ceremony. Parents and other deitys attending the ceremony. Lord Bhrama Inviting the guests and many more sculptures. The best specimens of the Vijayanagar style of sculpture and mural paintings are found in the Natya and Kalyana Mandapams (dance and wedding halls). The different pillars of the Kalyana Mandapa contain different designs on each face which are used as borders for sarees now a days.

Lepakshi is a must see if u are a devotee, or interested in history and architecture or just like taking photos. This place will not disappoint you.
All in all a day well spent. We had no more troubles getting back to banglore, and we spent the next day resting in the comfort of our home.

also read...

Story relating to Lepakshi

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