Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lepakshi - The Little Hampi

   "Lepakshi" village is located about 14 km from Hindupur in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh State. It is famous for the Veerabadhra Swamy temple, said to have been built by Virupanna during the 16th Century. The temple is known for its paintings of the Vijayanagar period which are named after the temple, as Lepakshi Paintings.The main features of the temple complex of Lepakshi are the Moolasthamba, Nandi Monolith, the Natya Mantapa, the Seven Headed Serpent, the Asampoorna (incomplete) Kalyana Mantapa, and the Latha Mantapa. Each feature being unique, has a different story to tell and true to its name.
Nandi or the Big Bull
         The 'Asampoorna Kalyana Mantapa' has a very interesting story behind its incompleteness. The reason is attributed to Virupanna, who was the treasurer, in charge of all the financial aspects of the kingdom. A few ministers and their sub-ordinates who were against Virupanna, falsely accused him of atrocities not committed by him. On listening to all these, and presuming them to be true, the king also suspected Virupanna of the same and decided to punish him. It was ordered that Virupanna's eyes should be plucked off. On hearing the king's verdict, Virupanna was shattered. He knew that he would never betray his king. He was true to his conscience and very firm about not committing any sin. Hence, as a sign of devotion, Virupanna himself plucked off his eyes and offered them to his king  The blood stains on one of the side walls, and the mark left on one of the walls while he threw  his eyes off against the wall is presumed to be linked to this story of Virupanna. The false accusations on Virupanna of not having taken permission from the king for building the Kalyana Mantapa and spending money unnecessarily, and the subsequent acts lead to the incompleteness of this Kalyana Mantapa.
Blood Stains of Virupanna's Eyes 
    Though the Mantapa is incomplete, it looks grand and one can only wonder how it would look if it were complete. The Mantapa was being built for the celebration of the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi. A huge pillar depicting the same, with the priest blessing them, welcomes us as at  the side entrance of  the Mantapa. On one the entrance pillars, there is a carving of two monkeys, which, by the skill and intelligence of the sculptor, is made to look like four monkeys. Also, there is a carving of a cow, with one body and three heads, which actually depicts three cows in three different forms.
Entrance to the Asampoorna Mantap 
Priest Blessing the Couple
Carving of the Cow
Guests attending Lord Shiva's Wedding
    The pillars inside are arranged in the form of a circle and depict the guests who attended the marriage. The list of guests is as follows, Meenadevi, Himavantha, Devendra, Agni, Vishwamitra, Varuna, Bruhaspathi, Brahma, Vishnu, Vaayu, Kubera, and Vashishta. The Lord guests came on their respective vehicles (various animals and birds) to bless the married couple.
   The pillar carrying the carvings of  Himavantha, shows him in a standing posture, while he carries a bowl of water in his hand for performing the Kanyadaanam ritual (The ritual of giving his daughter. Kanya means a girl, bride or daughter and  Danam means to give away, Gift ), wherein, the father entrusts his daughter to the groom by washing the groom's feet and gives custody of his daughter to the bridegroom.There is also a beautiful carving of Sadashiva with five heads and ten hands welcoming the guests.
Lord Sadashiva
   The 'Latha Mantapa', situated besides the Asampoorna Mantapa has 39 pillars carrying wonderful carvings of shapes and designs, unique in its kind, on each side of its pillars. The designs have long been used in making the borders of silk sarees. It is an amazing treat to the eyes.
Latha Mantapa
 Pillars carrying unique designs
 
    A little further away from the Kalyana Mantapa are seen the plates used by the sculptors for having their food. From the size of the plates, it can be easily guessed that the size of man at that time was pretty huge. There is a notion that these plates were also used for mixing colors, like a palette and used for painting.
  A few yards away is the 'Seetha Hejje' or the impression of Seetha Devi's right foot. The impression of her left foot is supposedly at Penugonda's Veeramma Betta. From the toe of Seetha Devi's right foot, water springs up and a small amount of it is always present, which is its specialty.
Seetha Hejje

 To be continued......

 


22 comments:

  1. An incredible temple, superb carvings, fascinating history and awesome captures as always! And, as always, it is a delight to visit your blog! I'm looking forward to the continuation! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Excellent post. I think you have missed the Shiv Linga with the serpant hood there.

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  3. Fascinating post about an interesting place.

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  4. Reading your posts is like reading a fascinating page from a book full of stories depicting our glorious past. Spectacular architecture taking us to a different world. Very beautiful, enjoyed it a lot.

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  5. Sooper article, Lepakshi is so close to Bangalore yet so far away!!!

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  6. Amazing! Your site has long been bookmarked by me for checking out whenever I plan for visits in Karnataka and every visit here only reinforces the impression!

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  7. looks great against the clear sky :)

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  8. Great carvings! The big bull on top is fantastic.

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  9. Beautiful. Thank you for refreshing my memory.

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  10. The kalyana mantapam looks exquisite with its intricate carvings.Nice photographs,and thank you for sharing it on fb.

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  11. This is a lovely secluded temple. Excellent post!

    www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.in

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  12. Nice coverage of Lepakshi D :) Looking forward for your part II

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  13. I have been wanting to go to Lepakshi for some time, you have covered it very well. It seems office politics have been around for some time...

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  14. What a magnificent temple. The carvings are exquisite. I can only imagine what the entire structure would look like if it were completed.

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  15. Beautiful post! Made me want to visit Lepakshi.. Do post the 2nd part soon!

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  16. Beautifully shot pictures! I am yet see Lepakshi.

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  17. Wow! Inspired me to visit Lepakshi

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