Virabhadra temple, Lepakshi

Name of the Monument







 Veerabhadra Swamy Temple


Sri Satya sai

Andhra Pradesh

16th  century C.E


The  Veerabhadra Swamy Temple complex, perched on the Kurma Saila (Tortoise shaped hill) was constructed by Virupanna, an officer and Treasurer during the reign of Achyutaraya (1530-1542).       An important donatory record recently discovered belonged to the reign of Saluva Immadi Narasimha (1490-1506 C.E).  The record confirms that Papanasesvara temple existed 50 years earlier to Virupanna. This complex has Papanasesvara, Veerabhadra and Raghunatha (Chenna Kesava) shrines and other subsidiary shrines for Parvati, Ramalinga, Hanumalinga. To the south of the main shrine within the inner prakara there is a huge rock carved with Ganesa, linga worshipped by spider and an elephant and a huge Nagalingam, i.e linga canopied by a seven hooded Naga. 

            The best specimens of the Vijayanagara relief sculptures are seen on the composite pillars.  However, the best of surface decoration of the walls of the Veerabhadra temple, are the murals depicting the Puranic themes like Parvathi’s marriage, Kiratarjuniya, Bhukailas, Vatapatrasayi, Manuchola episode, different manifestations of Siva, Draupadi svayamvaram and Virupanna and his brothers worshipping Veerabhadra.  These murals happily blend action and repose, anger and calm, movement of stillness.

The gigantic bull in couchant posture is a grand cut out sculpture of a huge granitic rock.  This monolithic sculpture is a unique example of its kind in the country.  It faces west and is looking towards the Nagalinga located behind the Veerabhadra temple.  It is ten metre in length and of six metre in height. It is decorated with a necklace, muvvahara(?) and a hara of bells and has short horns. Datable to circa sixteenth century and stylistically belongs to Vijayanagara period.