08 June 2009

Trip to Lepakshi

How could i showcase the eagerness inside to drive down to Lepakshi over a weekend after i had seen some road trip photos of this place. The day arrived soon, when we planned to start our Saturday morning early in the morning and pull over at this famous place. Indeed it had been a long time i had driven to some place and we choose the long overdue, Lepakshi.

The Drive: Neighborhood was still asleep and the weather was cloudy as we left Bangalore. Soon as the Sun surfaced over the horizon, we were nearing Chikabalapur.
The directions are pretty straight forward to reach this place. From any place in Bangalore, you need to head towards the new International Airport in Devanhalli and from there on, continue straight on Hyderabad Road. Lepkashi is actually a small village on the outskirts of Andhra Pradesh and hence lies quite close by as you leave Karnataka State Limits. The distance is around 125 Kms from Bangalore and may vary from which point in Bangalore you are starting.
We stopped over for a quick cup of tea and enjoyed the beautiful surrounding. The drive is extremely beautiful and the roads are quite good apart from minor issues. at few points the road has bad patches.

  • There are lot of diversions throughout since lot of maintenance work is happening but mind you, the stretches are beautiful and the road is fun to drive on. I was wondering that for miles and miles of that fantastic road, there was hardly any traffic. We were cruising above 100 kmph through the most of the journey. the drive has typical curves and most of the places, you could have a visibility of more than 4-5 Kms due to the levels which is a delight while driving. Soon as you enter Andhra, spotting the turn towards lepakshi can be tricky for some. You cross over the "RAKSA ACADEMY" on the left side which is nearly impossible to miss...the right side would be a RTO Check post. Be a little slow since you would need to take a left after the academy. I could not see any boardings to help but a small market and a broken road on the left is the point to look for. This place resembles the small bus stands in villages. Lepakshi is around 15 Kms inside from this point.Reaching In:
    The road inside is bad almost throughout, so the 15 Kms take a while to finish but suddenly you forget about hectic roads of Bangalore and the surroundings are soothing. As you reach, first is the Nandi Bull park with the biggest nandi statue in the country. The place is nicely maintained and amidst the village. The Nandi statue has been carved out of a single stone and faces the main Shiva temple of Lepakshi. You can ever seek help of a guide there to get to know the complete details of it. We got to know the Alzankar on the nandi and the other related stories to the carving of the statue there. We spent some 30-40 mins enjoying the place and clicking some shots. Still early morning(8:30), the weather was cloudy and we rested in the lawn for a while.
    The weather was magical for sometime and i could get a good photo of the Nandi against that backdrop of the sky. The well maintained park in front just adds to the beauty of this place.Also found some Murals and carvings on the stones lying down in the Park. The villagers around this place take very good care of this place. I could not see any traces of any garbage or something which tells me that the other way round. Even met a amma who every morning comes over and cleans the place for worship and sets up everything.We were the first to arrive there. Even a family of monkeys was sitting and sticking together on the temple wall. :) Though the temple opens up early and the place looked extremely hushed early morning time.Near the main gate, a young boy sold raw mangoes with salt and gave us a fantastic look as we just arrived. There was a drinking water station near by and a small place to rack up shoes for visitors.We got our first glimpses of the temple main entrance. The temple really looked beautiful and neat. The cleanliness of the place was just overwhelming by now.The main temple, is around 100 mts from the Nandi Bull park. The temple is built on a high platform and hence gives a very medieval feel. Outside the main gate, the board tells you that the temple falls under the ASI now and photography has been relaxed for this place, provided you don't film this place and use it commercially.After we got near the main entrance, the magnanimity of the temple could be felt. There were few guides available on the entrance, off whom we indulged one to show and detail us the temple. The insides of the temple are all stone carvings and have been maintained quite well.Also we could see some of the statues being damaged which is sad part. the priest and the guide both acknowledged that visitors try and temper with those carvings sometimes resulting in those damages.Shown here is the Durga Maa in her full grace. We were explained the complete story behind about Durga Maa by the Priest there.We went around the whole temple and kept getting amazed by the various facets explained by the guide. We were shown the main deity of temple and its complete story by the priest. The guide then showed us the carvings of Ideal man and Women and their characteristics. He then showed us that lepakshi is the only temple where lord Shiva and Vishnu Face each other, else everywhere else they are kept besides each other.He also showed up the Ramalinga which was setup at the place where jatayu was found by Lord Rama. The place got its name from the same story. While jatayu sighted Ravana taking away Sita, he fought and got hurt badly. he was found lying down at the same place by Lord Rama. Rama said " Le Pakshi" which in Sanskrit means "Pleas Getup, Bird " and on the same, the village was named Lepkashi.
    I was just mesmerized by the Parvati Aman and her excellent dressing here. The temple is really old and low on funds but maintained excellently.Then we saw the Dance hall formations or Indra and this was quite fascinating. he took us to this huge pole which is attached to the top but is almost 1 inch above the ground.The guide told us that long back a British Scientist researched on the same and confirmed pole being in air and also being the epicenter of the balance of the whole hall.
    We moved towards the back and found a huge Shiva Linga and snake mounted over it. The guide explained the complete story about it also as to how the linga was brought from kashi to be kept here since the snake statue was a little damaged. There are lot of excellent carvings through the temple and one can enjoy those there.The incomplete dance hall of Shiva parvati's Marriage engulfs in itself, some of the most unknown and amazing stories from our mythology.The Guide is a must have for exploring this temple to understand the actual details around the temple.Every portion of the temple engulfs some or the other story behind it. During a huge festival there, these halls are used for the visitors to stay there.While the day unfolded in front of us we were overwhelmed by the beauty and the historical past of this temple. We took around 2.5 hrs to go through this place completely, and then relaxed in the lawn of the temple, where we had our lunch. The day was setting in and the temperature was now increasing.
    Finally having a relaxed hour there and small nap and fun talks, we planned to start back. On the way back, in the village limits, we saw a huge gathering of people on the banks of pond. I stopped the car and we say that villagers were dealing in fresh fishes. they had lot of teams inside the pond and few of their people sitting on the edge making deal. You could order the type of fish you want and they would find that for you. these were full fishes being sold here and they were as huge as 15-20 kgs...i was just even scared to see those big fishes.
    The entrance of the village has these huge storks planted there to show you that birds have made this place as their natural habitat. The trip finally ended with we reaching back at home in Bangalore by 3pm.
  • Directions: Catch up the BIAL Road which leads to Hyderabad and continue till the RAKSA academy in Andhra Pradesh. from the junction on the road here, Lepakshi should be around 15 Kms.
    • The road is excellent all most throughout but the humps are bad in the Karnataka areas. drive cautiously and try to tackle those humps at 45 degrees.
    • We could sight very few petrol stations through the trips so just ensure you have enough fuel with you. The most of the petrol stations we could see was in the 25-30 kms stretch in Andhra. Don't know whats wrong with Karnataka though.
    • Also not many good places on the way to stop by so plan for your breakfast accordingly. We decided to take a munch around chikabalapur but could not find a place to stop for family. Luckily we had sandwiches packed for the lunch.
    • There are no options literally available at this village, Lepakshi apart from packed items like chips, biscuits for consumption and there is no good place to eat here. we had lunch packed with us so enjoyed the place the best way. If you plan well, the garden at the temple serves as a great place for a good picnic with the family.
    • Excellent grapes are sold mid way so do find out sometime and try picking few.
    • Do ensure that the extra tyre is in place since through the long stretches on this road, there is hardly any help available, if needed.
    • Enjoy the ride through excellent views and landscaping. Have a fun filled and safe trip.
    Warm Regards,
    Saurabh mittal, quitefar@gmail.com


  1. this is one heck of a review... enough to inspire ppl ... cool keep it up....

  2. Lovely review.. nice pictures and very informative.. Hope to hit the place soon!


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