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DateLine Sunday, 30 September 2007

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'Lepakshi"

A masterpiece of art in Andra Pradesh - India:

Last month my wife and I had the great privilege of placing our feet in yet another holy temple in India about 150 kilo metres away from Puttaparthy the most famous divine spot in of Andra Pradesh.

"LEPAKSHI' is a word associated with sires. Sales people refer to sari designs as 'LEPAKSHI DESIGNS' without knowing it's significance or the historical story. It is here in " Lepakshi" the story of sari art begins. In this temple there are thirty five rock pillars with beautiful designs and it is these designs that are placed on the Indian saris. The "Lepakshi" has thus become a centre of art In the world.


Lepakshi temple view

"Lepakshi" temple complex entirely built with rock is a landmark of the 15th century construction and to be specific, in the year 1533 AD. The great temple was raised by Virupanna a Governor of the Penukonda Province under Achyutaraya, the successor of Krishnad evaRaya Vijeyanagara empire who ruled from 1529-1542.

The temple is famous for his architect and construction value yet it is a POPULAR LEGEND THAT HAS MADE THE TEMPLE KNOWN ACROSS THE NATION.

According to the legend when the temple was nearing completion, king Achyutaraya, suspicious of the misuse of the royal treasury, by Virupana, ORDERED FORTH WITH REMOVAL OF HIS EYES. HOWEVER, WHEN THIS DREADLY NEWS REACHED VIRUPANA HE DECIDED TO REMOVE HIS OWN EYES BY HIMSELF AND PERFORMED THE TASK BY HIMSELF. HE HIT THE WALL OF THE TEMPLE WITH TWO EYES. AND THE BLOOD MARKS OF THE EYES STAINED THE TEMPLE WALLS.

UP TO DAY THE BLOOD STAINS ARE VISIBLE ON THE WALLS OF THE TEMPLE. THE GUIDE AT THE TEMPLE ADDED THAT THE RESEARCH DONE BY THE BRITISH HAS PROVEN THAT THESE TWO MARKS ARE OF HUMAN BLOOD.


A rock plate where food was served.

Virupana died at a time when the KALYANAMANDAPAM remained half Finished... The Kalyanamandapam is the most important building in the complex. The Hindu gods are positioned in the Kalyanamandapam at astrologically correct positions.

For example the twelve piller Kalyanamandapam, Brahama Nanda, Nataraja, Ramba, Lakshmi are sculptured as per protocol. The stone Marriage platform is of great artistic value.

There are three different entrances to the temple. The main temple is dedicated to Veerabadra. In this part of the building there is a an architectural surprise. That is the thirty feet tall rock pillars clearly seen hanging from the rock roof without a link to the ground. The guides explained the significance of these hanging pillars in balancing the entire temple.

This is one temple where there is so much sculpture on musicians and dancers. Fortunately only the wooden roof of the temple is the only thing missing and the carvings remain safe and undamaged. The sculpture of "the ideal man" and the "Ideal woman" are rare sculptures in the world.

The sevenhooded Nagalinga is one colossal single rock carving which is five and a half meters in height... There is a legend on the completion of this sculpture which indicates the quickness and the capacity of the sculpture artists.

It is said that the sculpturers came for lunch to the kitchen and the food was not yet ready and the sculpturers decided to do this Nagalinga. The women in-charge of the kitchen was shocked to see a completely new Nagalinga being carved by the time the rice was ready.

The biggest rock bull in the Andra Pradesh is a part of this complex. It is 10 metres in length and six metres in height. It is located around a kilo metre Away from the temple from where the top of the Nagalingam could be seen.

To any one who is interested in archaeology and history, or in sculpture and paintings LEPAKSHI is a pleasure heaven. Specially to those going to Puttaparthy, Lepakshi is a half day tour.

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Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
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