India is not just a country with rich cultural heritage and tradition, but with enormous architectural wonders and mysteries which have raised the eyebrows of scientists around the world. The numerous temples in India are the living examples of engineering genius of our people.
One such wonder is the Lepakshi temple which is located in the Anantpur district of Andhra. Each stone here has a story to tell which describes the genius thinking of the architects. The Lepakshi temple has reference in the ancient scripture Skandapurana which is referred to as one of the most significant temples in India. The temple is believed to be built by saint Agastya during the times of Vijayanagar Empire under the King Achyuta Devaraya. The genius architects of this temple are two brothers named Virupanna and Veeranna who were well known for their unique designs.
The temple is situated on the hills of Kurmasaila which resembles the shape of a tortoise. The story of Lepakshi originates from the times of Ramayana, when the bird Jatayu tried to save Sita from Demon Ravan. In the fierce battle, it is said that Ravan cut one of the wings of Jatayu which fell on the rocks of these hills. When Lord Ram came across Jataya lying near the place, he encouraged the bird to rise saying “Le-Pakshi” which means : Rise, Oh bird”
The other story which surrounds the temples is that Virupanna’s son was blind from birth and his devotion towards the lord helped him get his eye sights back. But when the news reached the King, he was told that Virupanna was using King’s treasure to cure his son’s illness. The King then ordered to remove the eyes of Virupanna, but when he heard this news, he himself volunteered to remove his eye and threw them against the walls of the under constructed Kalyana Mantapa inside the temple premise. Thus, the place got its name as Lape-Akshi (village of the blinded eye). It is said that even today people are able to see the blood stains. This is also believed to be one of the reasons which earned the name Lep-Akshi.
The temple has many structures which are architectural marvels. The Hanging pillar of the temple is one of the main attractions which has made scientists wonder. The hanging pillar here doesn’t touch the ground and is hanging from the roof. This unique structure had once puzzled the British engineer Hamilton who wanted to forcefully pull the pillar down and make it touch the ground. He believed that it was an architectural aberration and tried to rectify the pillar.
Hamilton forcefully made one corner of the pillar touch the ground, it resulted in a tectonic shift of the entire temple. When he studied the building architecture, he realised that the pillar acted as a ballast to the hall’s roof. So, any changes made forcefully would bring the entire structure down.
The temple also has a magnificent rock-cut sculpture of a huge serpent with three coils and seven hoods, which is regarded as the largest nagalinga in the country. It is said that the sculpture was carved in an unimaginable short duration while the artisans were waiting for their meals to be prepared.
So, the entire temple is a architectural marvel which cannot reproduced by anyone and showcases the pride of India.