Amazing hanging stone pillar of Lepakshi temple, Andhra

Many Indian Hindu temples are quite fascinating and are known to have some kind of magnificent features that may baffle our imagination such as huge monolithic bull - Nandhi at Big Temple, Thanjavur, musical stone pillars  Nellaiappar temple, Tirunelveli, TN (if struck they produce musical notes matching various octaves),  1000 pillar hall(mandabams) at Sri Ranganather temple complex at Srirangam and the Arunachaleswarar temple complex at Thiruvannamalai, TN, etc

Le Pakshi, Andhra, Ravana killing

Above image" Ravana killing Jatayu.

The small historical village of Lepakshi near  Puttapurthi in  Ananthapur district of Andhra, 10 mile from Hindupur railway station on the Guntakal-Bangalore line, has  many  architectural marvels. 
It is about 75 miles (120 km) from Bangalore, another IT center.  Lapakshi is a sermon in stone, a repository of sculptural wonders that need special talents. Here Lord Sri Rama is said to have met the huge mythical bird 'Jatayu'whose wings had been struck by the king of Lanka  Ravana (Lankeswaran) who was on his way back home with his hostage Sri Sita Devi, wife of Sri Rama.  Sri Rama said compassionately to the wounded bird  ''Le Pakshi'' (Arise bird in Telugu). Hence the name Le Pakshi  (also in Sanskrit Pakshi means bird).

Lepakshi temple was  built by the brothers Viranna and Virupanna  during the reign of Achyutha Devaraya  who ruled the Vijayanagara empire from 1530 A.D to 1542 A.D. This temple, on a hillock known as Kurma Saila (tortoise shaped hill), is a treasure-house of beautiful Vijyanagara style of architecture and eye-catching paintings of 16th AD. There are three temples in one. 

The main shrine is dedicated to  Veerabadra,  the fiery god created by Shiva in his rage after the Daksha Yagna and the immolation of Parvathi and the other deity is  Papanaeswara (Lord Shiva). The third being  Sri Ragunatha (Lord Vishnu). The Arthamandabam (prayer hall) and Naatya mandambam are the added attractions. The Natyamandabam (dance hall) has exquisitely sculptured  stone pillars dramatically depicting life-size representation of music and various dance poses carved with meticulous care. Veerabadra temple was, legend has it, established by sage Agastya initially. 

Monolithic bull, Lapakshi temple, Andhra. AstroVed

According to history, the temple's builder,Virupanna, a treasurer in King's court was accused of misusing the funds for building the temple and  the king ordered him to be blinded. Hearing this, the builder as a punishment removed  his own eyes, dashed against the wall and died. Even today those blood marks can be seen on a particular wall.

Lapakshi, hanging pillar

Hanging pillar. Lapakshi, Andhra. Procaffenation

One of the wonders in this temple of beauty and artistry  is, among the 70 stone pillars, there is a  monolithic pillar hanging  from the roof of the Veerabhadra temple barely touching the floor. This pillar hangs or floats without any support. Visitors  can pass objects  such as paper, towel, etc in the gap between temple floor and the bottom of the pillar!! People who come to the temple  strongly believe that  passing objects under the pillar brings  them prosperity and peace of mind.

Hanging stone pillar,Lepakshi temple, Andhra,
During the British period a curious British  engineer  wanted to know the technicality behind the  hanging pillar in this temple. Upon  trying to dislodge the pillar, to his dismay, found out that it caused the movement of adjacent pillars to maintain the equilibrium. Though it is not an earthquake area (supposedly ''Shield'' area and geologically a stable region),the temple, it is believed, can withstand any seismic event.

Serpent with a big hood, Lapakshi temple,

Monoithic bull. Lapakshi temple, Andhra AstroVed

Another sculptural wonder of this temple is the monolithic stone Nandi (Bull), the largest of its kind in India. It is 4.5m high and 8.23m long, located about a mile away from the  main temple and does not have a roof over it. It is so placed  that it faces the  huge Shivalinga with a three coiled huge serpent's  seven hoods forming the canopy over it. Said to be the second largest monolithic stone figure in India, after Gomateshwara, the Nandi sports a huge kaasu malai (coins in the form of a garland), a bell chain, earrings and other jewelry beautifully carved in the stone.  Another huge monolithic stone Nandhi is in the 1000 plus year old  Big temple - dedicated to Bragadeshwara (Lord Shiva) in Thanjavur city, TN built by the great Chola king Raja Raja.