Veerabhadra Temple is located at Lepakshi village in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple has been on a very large granite rock built on a granite rock, which is in the shape of a tortoise. And hence it is named as Kurma Saila. Kurma takes the meaning of Tortoise. The Veerabhadra temple, Lepakshi was believed to be built in 1530 by the two brothers Virupanna Nayaka and Viranna who were Governors under the Vijayanagar Empire during the reign of King Achutaraya.
The temple depicts artistic skill of the Vijayanagara architectural style, which was said to be in existence from 16th century. Near to the temple is a big idol of Nandi, the mount of Lord Shiva, stands at a height of 660 feet, which is made out of a single block of stone. And this 660 feet idol of Nandi is considered to be one of the largest Nandi in the world. There is a cave chamber in the sanctum of the temple where saint Agasthya was believed to have lived while installing the sacred Shivalingam. The main temple is comprised of three major parts:
- Mukha mantapa or Natya mantapa or Ranga mantapa (Assembly hall)
- Arda mantapa or Antarala (Ante chamber)
- Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum)
The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Veerabhadra, a super being created by the wrath of Lord Shiva, and was described as a warrior. Lord Veerabhadra is a life sized image, who is fully armed and decorated with skulls. The other deities of the temple are Goddess Parvati, consort of Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma, Lord Natesha, Goddess Ganga, Goddess Yamuna, image of multi hooded serpent covering the Shivalingam etc. The temple also contains the images of Bhikshatana, one of the aspect of Lord Shiva, saints, guardians, musicians, dancers, saint Bhringi, and it even have the images of the builders of the temple. Apart from the images of various gods and goddesses the temple contains the special images of fourteen avatars (incarnations) of Lord Shiva and ten avatars of Lord Vishnu.
The different avatars of Lord Shiva are Lord Yogadakshinamurthy, Lord Chandes Anugraha Murthy, Lord Bhikshatana, Lord Harihara, Lord Ardhanarishwara, Lord Kalyanasundara, Lord Tripurantaka, Lord Nataraja, Lord Gouriprasadaka, Lord Lingodhbava, and Lord Andhakasurasmahara and so on. The fresco in the ceiling of Ardha mandapa of Veerabhadhra temple is considered to be Asia’s largest fresco which stands at a measure of 23 by 13 feet. The temple ceiling and halls are adorned with the histories of two great epics Ramayana and Mahabharata depicted in the form of scenes.
The temple remains open from morning 5.00 AM to 12.30 PM and in the evening from 4.00 PM to 8.30 PM.
- Mahashivaratri – February/March
- Tirukarthikai – November/December
The approach from the National Highway NH7 to Hyderabad that takes a branch road at the Karnataka-Andhra Pradesh border leading to Lepakshi, 12 km away. Another route to reach the temple is from Hindupur which is 35 km from Penukonda.
The nearest railway station to Veerabhadra Temple is Hindupur railway station Junction which is 12 Km away from the temple.
The nearest airport to Veerabhadra Temple is Puttaprathe airport which is 41 Km away from the temple.
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