Some interesting features of 16th century Lapkshi Veerabadra temple, AP

16th century, Lapakshi temple, AP.  /
The temple  dedicated to  Veerabhadra in Lapakshi, AP is
popular destination for the tourists for many reasons. The temple  built in the 16th century by two brothers - Virupanna and Veeranna, who worked for the Vijayanagara king (the reign of Achyutha Devaraya period)  who ruled the empire from 1530 A.D to 1542 A.D, is an epitome of Indian temple architecture of Vijayanagara style. The main temple is follows  the plan as popularized by then rulers and is laid out in three parts, these are: The assembly hall known as the Mukha mantapa or Natya mantapa or Ranga mantapa; arda mantapa or antarala (ante chamber); and the garbhagriha or the sanctum.

There are many interesting features  in this temple and of them the following are worth our attention:
Huge stone bull Verabadra swami temple, Lapkshi, AP. pinrest com.
Veerapadra temple, Lapakshi, Ap. 16th C.
01. The monolithic stone Nandi (Bull), the largest of its kind in India next to  the second largest monolith in India - Gomateshwara, is  set   far  away from the shrine - about a mile and does not have  a madapa or any roof over it. It measures  4.5m high and 8.23m long as usual facing the Shivalinga. The bull wears a kasumalai,  a garland made of small coins like stuff well-carved in the stone. The other one being  monolithic  Nandi  at Brihadeshwara Temple, Thanjavur, TN where the consecration (abishekam) was held recently on the 5th of February after a long gap of 23 years.
massive  serpent/Naga. Lapakshi temple, AP. /
02. The Shivlinga in the temple that faces the bull is shielded by a  massive  serpent/Naga  with seven  hoods  and three coils  made of hard stone. The interesting feature is  the sheltering canopy over a black granite Shivalingam. It’s believed to be the largest Nagalinga in India. The one with the largest number of small stone Nagalingas is in Kerala. Mannarasala Sree Nagaraja Temple, close to  Haripad, Alappuzha district, is  an ancient and internationally known centre of pilgrimage for the devotees of serpent gods (Nagaraja).  Nestled in a forest  area, it has over 30,000 stone  images of snakes along the paths and among the trees, and is the largest such temple in Kerala.. 
Mmantap ) with ornate pillrs. Lapkshi temple, AP.
gently tilted hanging pilla, Lapakshi Veerabadra temple, AP.

03. As already mentioned in my post earlier, the hanging stone pillar  in the mandapa that is supported by 78 individual ornate pillars is a remarkable tribute to the ingenuity of the builders of Vijayanagara rulers. One of the pillars that hangs from the roof barely touches the ground and there is a paper-thin gap between the bottom of the pillar and the floor. 
stone image of God ganapathy, carved in the rock. Lapakshi temple, AP. /

04.  In the  temple’s outer enclosure, you will run into a mammoth Ganesha idol — hewn in stone and leaning against a rock. A rare piece of stone work, considering its size.
.16th century murals, Lapakshi temple, AP. Murals need restoration.
16th century, Lapakshi temple, AP.  /
05.  The Lepakshi temple possesses the finest specimens of mural paintings of the Vijayanagar kings, but many of them are peeling off due to poor maintenance and lack of heritage value on the part of temple management. Dating back to Vijayanagara rulers, there are many paintings that represent the traditional Indian artists. Among them,  the 24ft by 14 ft fresco of Veerabhadra  on the ceiling before the main sanctum, the largest in India of any single figure, is quite amazing. The rest of  the frescoes are mostly representations of Indian arts, showing minute details, fine color-blending  strikingly contrasted - black lime work against an orange-red background with some green, white, black, and shades of ochre-gold and brown mostly applied to a stucco surface specially treated with lime. The  subject of Shiva-Parvathi kalyanam (wedding) is an inspiration to budding artists. These paintings need special attention and need the expertise of experts and conservationists for their preservation that will help the posterity to know our age-old art-work and paintings.
Incomplete klyana mandap. Lapakshi temple, AP. travel escape.
06. The well-built Natya Mandapam or dance hall is a beautiful one with nicely-carved stone pillars. So is the Kalyana Mandapam that has splendid  eye-catchers; one being  the frieze of geese with lotus stalks in their beaksthat is worthy of mention.
Veerapadra temple, Lapakshi, Ap. 16th C.
Veerabhadra  is an extremely fierce and fearsome form of the Hindu god Shiva. He was specifically  created by the wrath of Shiva to destroy the Yagna (fire sacrifice) of Daksha, after Daksha's daughter and Shiva's consort Sati self-immolated in the sacrificial fire.  This caused extreme anger and frustration to the lord.
Bronze image of Veerabadra.

You will find several God Shiva here and they are: an impressive  Kankala Murthi, Dakshinamurthi (Guru of Gurus), Tripuranthaka or Tripurasurasamhara (vanquisher of demon Tripura); Ardhanareeshwara (the half-female, half-male form - equal representation of  Shiva and Parvati in one body), etc.  There is also a shrine  dedicated to fiery goddess Bhadrakali, though bearing an uncharacteristically serene expression.

Close to Hindupurin Ananatapur District, the temple is on the southern side of Lepakshi town, on a small  hill of a large  outcrop of  granite and related rocks; it is in the shape of a tortoise, and hence known as Kurma Saila.