Demon king Ravan abducted Sita from Panchavati and was flying in his chariot towards his golden Lanka when Jatayu stopped them. He fought a ferocious battle with Ravan to save Sita, but he was no match for Ravana’s legendary fighting skills. Lord Ram and his brother came searching for Sita, they found Jatayu instead, showing the direction to brothers to look for before dying. With absolute compassion, Lord tried to revive the bird saying, O Bird, rise- Translated in Tamil as LePakshi. Once, a powerful king of all birds, Nephew of Lord Garuda, Demigod old Jatayu was dead. Lord did his cremations like a son does of his father…
Got up early one weekend, and we were on the road towards Lepakshi on our Access. After super smooth 100 kms and some heavy duty breakfast, road turned narrow, dusty, rocky and trees turned to brown hiding behind boulders, we were in Lepakshi.
Lepkakshi offers few attractions. One is Jatayu park, where there is a giant Bald Eagle statue on boulders. You can see a small town Lepakshi from here. On top of the the boulder, there is an ancient monument dedicated to Demigod, the bird lord Jatayu, hidden from town.
From where ever you enter the town, you find the yellow painted Gopuram standing tall. If you look into the history, this temple was built in 1530, by two brothers, serving under Vijaynagar empire. Hence, the Hampi vibes. For mythology fans, it was built by Agastya Maha Rishi. There are seventy beautifully carved of pillars, on which roof is held aloof. Various themes from Ramayan and Mahabharat are painted on the roof with colors which refuses to fade away even after five centuries. Entire ceiling is packed with such colorful murals.
The main deity is Veerbhadra, most fierce Avatar of Shiva, who once defeated Vishnu in battle. Other Shiva avatars and his family members can be found on adjacent walls.
One of the architectural wonder for which Lepakshi is popular for, is Hanging pillar. You can pass a piece of cloth beneath it, it shall pass through. Reason is still not known. It is said that, once British Architect tried to move the pillar in order to study the structure, failing to do so, resulted in the Hanging pillar.
Largest Nandi in India
Lepakshi is also home of largest monolith bull in India. This huge Nandi is located few hundred feet away from main temple. One may imagine, that the original boundary of the temple must have been huge.
Another wonder of Lepakshi is a monolith multi headed giant Cobra. It is carved from single stone, inside which is the Shiva Lingam kept like a delicate egg. Monster snake has its tail coiled around the lingam, protecting it. Shiva is the Aadiyogi, source of yoga and Cobra is the symbol of rising energy, opening up, which is both vigilant and tranquil at the same time. Some say, the anger is like a snake coiling around your neck, if it controls you, you will be chocked to death, but if you wear it with congruence, it will ornate you.
Veerpuram Bird sanctuary near Hindupur
While coming back, before Bangalore highway, you will find a giant statue of Painted stock on your left. Take a turn, cross few villages and you will find yourself in Veerpuram village. This agricultural village is surrounded by trees, shrubs and small herbs, decorated with white, brown and pink birds . It is the best example of animal human co existence in India. Every march, more than 2000 painted stocks from Russia spend their summer vacation here, laying down eggs. Forest department has created few artificial lakes for them. These giant stocks create nests within week, made up with nearby shrubs. Some of them are of insecticidal tree, some of them will provide natural protection from predators. Villagers have developed a rapport with these foreign friends as they will be roaming around village without fear.
Devanahalli Fort: Birthplace of a tyrant
Devanhalli is a ground fort located 35 kilometers away from Bangalore, on National Highway. It was built in 1501 with mud, by a chieftain under Vijaynagar empire. Haider Ali rebuild the fort with stones. Fort is spread over 20 acres, now containing a small town inside. Fortified walls are wide, with total 12 semi circular bastions. Fort has a small memorial – four pillars on a granite stage, tagged as Birthplace of Tipu.
Main temple is Venugopalswamy temple, built in Vijaynagar architecture style. Apart from outer walls and bastions, there is no sign of history left in this place. While entering through the narrow gates, you get the feeling of entering the past, but shortly, streets crowded with honking bikes, electronic shops and colorful slums pull you back to the present timeline.