Lapakshi Veerabhra temple, AP is on the tentative list of UNESCO' s World heritage site!!

Veerabhadra temple, Lapakshi, AP.

One  of the centrally protected monuments of national importance, the good news is famous  Lapakshi  temple dedicated to  God Shiva, - Veerabhadra   is recently included on a tentative list of the UNESCO's World Heritage list. This tag is in recognition of the temple's architectural wonders and cultural ethos. The state government and particularly the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India)  and heritage lovers  had been trying for this prestigious heritage tag  for a pretty long time.  

Lapakshi temple, Andhra

The 16th century Hindu temple  of  Lepakshi in the Anantapur district (35 km/22 mi from Penukonda), AP has  shrines dedicated to the trinity gods Shiva, and Vishnu. Primarily,  Dedicated to fiery  form of God Shiva, - Veerabhadra in the sanctum, it is one of the outstanding  temples of India widely known for architectural marvel and  sculptural finesse of the Vijayanagara  rulers.  

At this temple  there  is a  profusion of carefully  made  carvings and  fresco paintings on the walls and ceiling  (made from natural pigments)  that include episodes from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas. They adore the NW  part of the hall.. The striking feature is the choice of colors and correct proportion of  images of the deities. The murals and painting appear faded because of time factor.  Threre are h frescoes featuring the incarnations of God Vishnu. 

An important pilgrimage center (divyakshetras) of Lord Shiva, the builders of Veerabhadra temple  were Virupanna Nayaka and Viranna,   brothers who were Governors during the Vijayanagar Empire  under  King Achutaraya, The temple is said to have been  built in 1530 or 1540. The central shrine, it is mentioned,  was built well before the Vijayanagar empire. 

Kakatiya kingdom,

The amazing features of this temple  are:

01.  There is a  huge monolithic Nandi (Shiva's mount: bull - 20 ft tall  and 30 feet in length ) image in an open yard  set away from Shiva's shrine within the temple precinct.  This is the largest stone nandi  made from a big single block of granite. The huge nandi has a series of stone bells around the huge neck in the form of a garland. The second largest monolithic stone Nandi is at Brihadeeshwara temple, Thanjavur, TN  built by the great Chola ruler King Rajaraja about 1008 years ago.

7 headed serpent and Shiva lingam,

02. A small Shiva lingam is under the hood of a 7 headed serpent (Naga). The Naga stone image is a huge one without any roof cove over it. The small Shiva lingam is on the coiled bed of  naga and on the outer skin,  marks are quite visible on the sculpture.

03. The  ardha mantapa (ante chamber),  measuring  23 by 13 feet  that carries frescoes of the 14 avatars of Lord Shiva  is  said to be  Asia's largest one.   

04. The outer columns in the hall - mantap stand on decorated plinth - blocks of carved images of horses and soldiers; the slim columns with eaves  are impressive  

05. Large stone columns dominate the open space in the middle part of the mantap. There are  Carvings of Brahma and Vishnu on pillars in the manadapa
06. Standing well-armed  in a fearful form  is  God Shiva's stone image in the sanctum and and hall close to the garbagriha is replete with pillars adorned with  images of a saints, guardians, musicians, dancers and 14 avatars of Shiva. Figurines of  river  goddesses Ganga and Yamuna stand on either side of the entrance to the sanctum,

07. The Mukha mantapa (assembly hall),  arda mantapa or antarala (ante chamber) and the garbhagriha (sanctum) are normal parts of this temple  as in other places. On the temple premises, there two prakaras. The outer wall has 3 gates and the access to the sanctum is trough the gate on the inner wall. 

Hanging pillar, Lapakshi temple,

Hanging pillar, Lapakshi temple, AP

The main attraction in this temple is  the apparently "hanging pillar."
Among the 70 stone  pillars, one  monolithic pillar hangs   from the roof of the Veerabhadra temple barely touching the floor; the pillar is slightly dislodged and touching the ground only on one side.

Visitors to the temple has a strong belief that  that  passing objects across the gap under the pillar will bring them prosperity and peace of mind.