The Veerabhadra temple at Lepakshi, or the hanging pillar temple in India, is an exemplary work of ancient Indian architecture, Vijayanagara architectural style to be precise. Located approximately 120 km i.e. a 2 hour drive from Bangalore, Lepakshi is a small village in the Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh.
Lepakshi Hanging Pillar
This beautifully carved stone pillar hangs from the ceiling and reaches a few millimetres above the temple floor. Nobody has been able to find out how exactly the kings architects managed to suspend such an immensely heavy stone pillar from the ceiling. In fact, you can easily pass a cloth under this pillar, an act often shown by the local guides. During the British regime, a British engineer got his men to shift the pillar to find out the secret. Unfortunately, this caused the pillar to touch the floor at one corner besides altering the structure of the roof to some extent.
Lepakshi Temple Attractions
Lepakshi is also home to the famed temple complex built by Vijayanagra kings way back in 1583. This temple is built on a rocky hillock called Kurma Sailam or tortoise hill. The first marvel you encounter is a colossal Nandi located almost a mile before the temple. It is 27 feet in width and 15 feet in height and rumoured to be the largest monolithic Nandi in India.
Ganesha and Naga
The temple also features a huge structure of Lord Ganesha carved in stone, leaning against a rock. Near this is a huge Naga with seven hoods and three coils, towering over a black Shivalingam, protecting it.
You get to see some intricate and beautiful specimens of fresco paintings on the ceiling just before the main sanctum sanctorum. The 24 feet by 14 feet fresco of Veerabhadra, the main deity of this temple, is spectacular. The famed Shiva Parvati Kalyanam (wedding) is also depicted here. These frescoes have been painted using natural shades of green, brown, white, black and ochre on a lime treated surface.
Natya Mandapam and Kalyana Mandapam
Other eye catching attractions are the Natya Mandapam with 100 pillars and an unfinished
Kalyana Mandapam with intricately carved stone pillars. The ancient artisans who sculpted these pillars have given attention to detail resulting in a spectacular display of ancient mythology and architectural designs in this structure.
Lepakshi temple is a must visit site on your itinerary if you happen to be near Bangalore or Anantpur. Ancient Indian Architecture has given birth to many such marvellous structures in India. Visit this site on ancient Indian monuments for more fresco paintings and inscriptions at Lepakshi .