Bharat Virasat-Veerabhadra Temple

Veerabhadra Temple

Place of Worship.


The Veerabhadraswamy temple is a Hindu temple located in the Lepakshi, in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The temple is dedicated to Lord Virabhadra, a fierce incarnation of Lord Shiva. Built in the 16th century, the architectural features of the temple are in the Vijayanagara style with profusion of carvings and paintings at almost every exposed surface of the temple. The temple stands on the southern side of Lepakshi town, on a low altitude hillock of a large exposure of granite rock. The fresco paintings in the temple are particularly detailed in very bright dresses and colours with scenes of Rama and Krishna from the epic stories of the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Puranas and they are well preserved. There is a very large sculpture of Nandi (bull), mount of Shiva, about 200 metres (660 ft) away from the temple which is carved from a single block of stone. It is 6.1m in height, and 9.1m in length, and is bedecked with garlands and bells. The temple was built around 1530 AD by the brothers Viranna and Virupanna Nayaka, who were Governors under the Vijayanagar Empire during the reign of King Achyuta Deva Raya. The temple is of the Vijayanagara architectural style. The main temple is laid out in three parts: The assembly hall known as the Mukha mantapa or Natya mantapa or Ranga mantapa; the ardha mantapa or antarala (ante chamber); and the garbhagriha or the sanctum sanctorum. The temple is encircled by two enclosures (prakara). The outermost walled enclosure has three gates, the northern gate is used regularly. The inner east gate is the entry to the assembly hall, which is a large sized open hall designed with a large space at its center. The paintings in each bay on the ceiling of the main mandapa, the antarala and other shrines, depict the grandeur of Vijayanagara pictorial art. They are painted over an initial plaster layer of lime mortar. The colour scheme consists of vegetable and mineral colours of yellow, ochre, black, blue and green blended with lime water; the background is generally painted in red colour. Apart from figures of gods and goddesses, in the presence of the devotees arranged in rows, the frescoes also depict the incarnations of Vishnu. The paintings are in striking compositions where the particular emphasis is on the period costumes and facial expressions. The fresco in the ceiling of the ardha mantapa (ante chamber) measures 7.0 m × 4.0 m. It has frescoes of the 14 avatars of Lord Shiva. There is a separate chamber with Shiva and his consort Parvathi carved on a boulder on the eastern side of the temple complex. Another shrine contains chamber an image of Lord Vishnu. There is huge granite boulder, also on the eastern side, which has a carving of coiled, multi-hooded serpent providing an umbrella cover over a Linga. The apparently "hanging pillar" is yet another attraction in the temple. There is a gap between the base of the pillar and ground through which cloth and paper can be passed, as the pillar is slightly dislodged and touching the ground only on one side.

Constructed in:

16th century CE