Lepakshi Temple, Ananthpur

While browsing the internet I came across one image of a temple showing a huge snake covering a Shivlinga (Sheshnag as per Hindu mythology). From the image it looked like an ancient temple. This was enough for me to click that and get more information on the place and the picture. It was an image of Lepakshi Temple.

The Lepakshi Temple is located in the Lepakshi village in the Ananthpur district of Andhra Pradesh. It is a popular archaeological site and is emblematic of the Vijayanagar architectural style that is known for its large mandapas, huge courtyards, and gopuras. Two brothers Virupanna and Viranna got this temple constructed in the mid 16th-century on a tortoise shaped hill known as Kurmasaila. True to its architectural style, Lepakshi temple has three sections – Mukha Mandapa, Artha Mandapa and Garbha Griha. The Mukha Mandapa is for dance and cultural activities, the second one is for worship and the Garbha Griha is for keeping the deity. The temple also has one Kalyana Mandapa or wedding hall with 38 pillars that are carved beautifully and are monolithic. A per mythological legends, Shiva and Parvati got married in this mandapa. Even Lepakshi has also been mentioned in the ancient India script called ‘Skandapurana’ and referred to as one of the hundred and eight prominent shrines of Lord Shiva.

There are many attractions in the temple such as huge image of Nandi Bull made from one large granite stone, granite pillars, three shrines of Shiva, Vishnu and Virabhadra, mural paintings of kings of Vijyanagar. The three shrines are built around a central pavilion. Walls of the temple have many stories dedicated to Ramayana and Mahabharatha. Also fourteen different forms of lord Shiva have been depicted here.

The Lepaskshi Temple also has a largest monolithic Nagalinga. It is exclusive in India and one of its own kinds. The interiors of the temple are decorated with paintings of dancers, drummers and musicians, such as Brahma playing the drum. The uniqueness of the paintings lies in the fact that only natural pigments have been used to make these. One can also see Lepakshi motifs in the form of birds, foliage and beasts. Most of the paintings have an orange and red background, displaying textile patterns and upon having a closer look at the paintings you will find that the hairstyles of people and their jewellery have been crafted with great detail.

Historians found this place very attractive, but this ancient temple in India is poorly maintained and perhaps less known. Due to lack of maintenance, weathering is damaging the priceless paintings and motifs. Solid steps must be taken to preserve the valuable possession in India. Not only this, but many visitors complaint about bad surroundings. There is no proper place for having lunch or breakfast and to stay even. So another fundamental question in addition to preserving such places is to make the surroundings tourist friendly. These steps should not only be taken just for one historical site but for all the heritage sites in India so that our priceless possessions can be protected and tourism can be promoted through these in India.

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Related Information:

Lepakshi Temple, Ananthpur

Temples in Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh Travel Map