Lepakshi is a combination of two words ‘le’ and ‘pakshi’. The literal meaning of these two words together is ‘Arise Bird’ in Telugu. The story behind the origin of this name is purely mythological. A bird named Jatayu fell on the ground, wounded after a battle against Ravana who was carrying away Sita with him. When Sri Rama reached the spot, he saw the wounded bird and called out sympathetically “Le Pakshi” i.e. ‘rise, bird’. Therefore this place was auspicated with the name Lepakshi Temple.
Lepakshi Temple is also known as Veerabhadra Temple situated in Anantpur District of Andra Pradesh. The main point of attraction for the gadabout is the Hanging pillar. The name itself suggests the uniqueness of the pillar. Out of the total 70 stone pillars, one of them hangs from the ceiling. It does not touch the ground. One can easily check it by passing a thin sheet or cloth across it. Apart from this exceptional hanging pillar, the temple has a number of the poignant sculpture of God, Goddess, Dance postures and musicians and cents of paintings telling us the stories from Ramayana, Mahabharata and Purana.
The legends behind this 16th-century marvelous architecture are two siblings Viranna and Virpanna. They were the governor under the Vijayanagar Empire during the reign of king Achutaraya. A large Nandi (Bull) welcomes the devotees into the temple which includes 24 feet by 14 feet Fresco refers to a painting done in watercolor on wet plaster on stone or wall so that the color penetrates the plaster. The Nandi is the mount of Lord Shiva carved from a single block of stone.
It is the only largest structure in the world carved out on a single stone. A giant seven-headed serpent stands as the umbrella over the Nandi surrounded by very well maintained diversity of flower-bearing plants. The hills Kurma-saila on which the Lepakshi Temple is situated resembles the uniques shape of a tortoise.
So next time you visit this temple do pass the sheet below the hanging pillar to experience its uniqueness.