The secrets and history of marvel called Lepakshi (Part 1)

A visit to a small town leads to a gigantic part in back to our past. Presenting a series of events and travel diaries about Lepakshi. The idea is to try and showcase the silent features along with the magnanimous histories.

Lepakshi Part I – Nandi

Lepakshi is a small town situated approximately 125 kms north of Bangalore towards Hindupur. The whole journey is a smooth drive on NH-7 with majestic rocky mountains on both sides. As the road diverts towards Lepakshi ie. 16 km left of Hindupur, information boards by APSTRC crop up on by-lanes. This site is maintained by ASI.

The magnanimous structure of Nandi the bull, comes into view – our first stop.

This is a 6 m high and 10 m tall structure of Nandi. Our eyes felt too small to behold such grandeur.  Some interesting points we found out, thanks to a very ‘young’, high spirited 90-year-old ‘paati’ (grandmother in Tamil) and some work on our part:

  • This is the highest Nandi in whole of India followed by Thanjavur, Briharideshwara, Chamundi hill Nandi , Nandi hills , Rameswaram Nandi.
  • This is a monolithic Nandi ie. carved out of a single rock. Nandi looks resplendent, decked with necklaces of beads, bells and traditional earrings.
  • If one stands on the right of Nandi, a little towards the rear end, one can view the enormous Seven-hooded Shiva Lingam of the famous Lepakshi temple.
  • At the center of Nandi’s neck, there is a clear carving of the 2-headed eagle symbol. As per Hindu mythology, this is called Gandaberunda (also known as the Berunda). The Gandaberunda was a physical form displayed by Lord Narasimha, Man-Lion incarnation of Vishnu. It had slayed Sharabha – incarnation of Shiva. This also happens to be the official emblem of the Karnataka.Same symbol is found in Briharideshwara and Rameswaram temples as well. In Ancient times, it was used as an emblem by the Chalukyas, Hoyasalas, Wodeyars kingdoms in the past.

  • The double headed Eagle symbol was also associated by the ancient Byzantine Empire, Roman Empire and the Ayuthya kingdom of Thailand. This worked as a powerful seal for the rulers to communicate.

There is a small hill composed of huge rocks and who’s atop stands a watch tower looking over ‘Sita’s padam ‘ – foot imprint of Sita, Lord Ram’s wife. The climb to this hill top is a little tedious as there is no proper route cut out, but trekking is still manageable. High velocity wind and slippery rocks could be a challenge. But one can have a very rewarding view of Lepakshi from this hill top.

This is the 1st Part of the ongoing Lepkshi series, watch this space out for more.