Where: Lepakshi Temple, Anantpur district, AP
Famous for: 16th Century temple, Vijaynagar style of architecture, dedicated to Lord Virabhadra (lord Shiva). Star attractions: Monolithic Nandi, huge Sheshnag, Hanging pillars, painted walls & typical Vijaynagar architecture. Although temple is small by South Indian temple standards, but its densely packed with architecture & art.
Distance: 120KMs from Bangalore
Route: As shown in Google map snapshot there are two routes
a) via Chikballapur: NH-7. Excellent road. We travelled this route.
b) via Hindupur: SH-9. Its a SH that too in Karnataka, so I have least expectations on quality of road.
When: 17th October (Sunday). It happened to be Vijaydashmi, making our trip more auspicious.
Who: 4 of Us. Me, Rahul, Dinesh, Subhakant
How: In 2 bikes
Trip Meter: ~250Kms
Trip time: 7Am to 5PM
Weather: It was perfect for a bike trip. Cloudy day but no rain.
Waking as early as 5:00AM, that too on Sunday is always a tough task. Somehow I woke up 5:30 and forced others as well. After taking bath and completing routine Puja, we started at 7AM (1 hour late than planned departure). Driving lazily through empty streets of Bangalore, we reached Yelahanka by 8AM. After having cup of tea in a non-descript tea stall, we zoomed to Chikballapur (bypass) and had breakfast at Ranjita Restaurant, just few KMs after crossing Chikballapur bypass.
As Rahul was driving on buttered NH-7, I was trying my hand in Photography, an advantage seating as pillion. By 11:30AM, we were in Lepakshi village. First attraction was a huge monolithic Nandi (just 300 mts away from main temple). After half an hr photo session there, we went to temple. Although being an ancient temple and an auspicious day, that too Sunday, temple was not crowded (advantage of being in a small village). So we had nice darshan of gods, and again we were back to our photo session, which went over an hour.
By 1:30 PM, we completed our photo shoot up and started our return journey. At Kodikonda checkpost on NH-7, we lunched on heavy Andra meals,costing just Rs 65. By 5PM we were in Bangalore. After witnessing last darshan of Durga puja in Palace grounds and snacking on yummy samosas, Kachoris of Ram sweets in BTM, we were back to our beds by 7PM.
Overall it was an excellent day break from Bangalore. Food, weather, roads, festive atmosophere & company of friends were all perfect 10 to make it a perfect weekend.
Its a small village, hardly 500 mts in radius, centered around the temple. So one should not keep any expectations of food or ATM or other modern amenities. Hindupur is major town, just 15kms from here.
For food: NH-7 between Bangalore & Lepakshi has couple of good restaurants.
Kamat Upachar: 10Kms after Chikballapur ( Bangalore-Lepakshi direction) is a well known highway chain of restaurants, known for South Indian Veg food. Its coupled with BP petrol station, making it a perfect highway stop to refreseh & recharge.
APTDC: At Kodikonda checkpost. Exactly on the junction, where turn towards Lepakshi needs to be taken. Again a perfect stop to recharge bellies. It boasts of a nice children’s playground, neat & clean toilets, spacious restaurant & a big tiled parking space. Taste of Andra Veg Meals: 8/10 (4 votes) costing Rs 65 per plate.
Ranjita Restaurant: Few KMs before Chikaballapur, this is a decent stop to have south Indian food. Price is also reasonable & so is ambience.
There’s few more restaurants in and around Chikballapur. Few names I could remember are Punjabi Dhaba, Bamboo Grass dhaba.
How to reach Lepakshi?
Best way is by your own vehicle. Otherwise lots of KSTRC & APSTRC buses ply. Hindupur is the major bus stop, just 15Kms form Lepakshi. By rail, again Hindupur is the nearest major rail stop.
Nandi Hills: 22Kms off NH-7, between Bangalore & Chikballapur.
Jain Temple: Chikballapur. Clearly visible from NH7.
Skandagiri: A famous “night-trekking” spot.
1) Lepakshi & Nandi hills can be clubbed in single day plan. Nandi Hill is famous for sunrise & sunset. So it can be clubbed before or after Lepakshi visit. I recommend to see sunrise and then head to Lepakshi. Its just one has to wake very early (but I guess to have great views, one need to sacrifice some sleep. “Kuch paane ke liye kuch khona padta hai” or in 3 words “Law of conservation”)
Roads are excellent, temple is neat & clean. So please please donot trash. Use dustbins or carry your own trash.
Be “an explorative & not an exploitive tourist”.
Wish you a Happy Outing.