Saturday, 8 February 2020

Hanging pillar of Lapakshi, Andhra - a technical wonder of bygone-era!!

Hanging/ floating piller at lepakshi temple, AP shutterstock.com
Veerabhadra temple lepakshi, AP, en.wikipedia.org.
It is needless to say that  many historical Hindu temples of India, in particular, besides being fascinating are not only famous for their unique temple architectural styles but also for their size and  amazing  and imaginative features that are just quite awe-inspiring and mind-goggling. The Nellaiappar temple in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu and Hampi temple complex in Kanataka  are best known for their musical vertical rock pillars.  As for huge halls with 1000  artistic pillars, the temples that immediately come to our mind are the vast Ranganathar temple complex (the largest functional temple in the world) of Srirangam, Tamil Nadu and the Arunachaleswarar temple of Thiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu  that is dedicated to one of five elements (Pancha boothas) Agni (fire).  Likewise  Ajantha and Ellora temples of Maharashtra are  big old cave temples built centuries ago.
Hanging/ floating piller at lepakshi temple, AP onlinetemple.com/
Among the fascinating temples of India equally famous is the
the Veerabhadra temple of  Lepakshi town (10 mile from Hindupur railway station)  in the Anantapur district, Andhra Pradesh. One of the centrally protected monuments of national importance, it was built in  the 16th century and  the architectural  style is that of the Vijayanagara  period.   Found here in profusion are impressive carvings and and paintings  of exceptional beauty. The temple has many  architectural  marvels and among them is the hanging  stone  pillar.
Hanging/ floating piller at lepakshi temple, AP onlinetemple.com/
In the hall (mandapam) of  the Veerabhadra temple that is supported by 70 stone pillars, one stone pillar  will baffle the imagination of scores of visitors to this temple. What is called a hanging pillar from the roof  is a monolithic one  barely touching the floor. This particular  pillar hangs or floats without any support. More often than not, driven by sheer  excitement  and awe, many visitors pass thin objects such  as paper, towel, etc through  the thin gap between temple floor and the bottom of the pillar!!  They do it with considerable ease without ever pushing the objects. That how did the builder of this temple achieve this  great feat as far back as the 16th century is a myth that can never be answered.  Here, the belief  has been that  'passing objects through the gap under the pillar brings prosperity, peace of mind and welfare to the family.  This pillar stands as a testimony to the the engineering marvel  and imagination of ancient and medieval India’s temple builders.
just tilted. Hanging  piller at Lepakshi temple, AP mapio.net
 During the colonial era, a British  engineer wanted to get to the bottom of this architectural wonder  behind this hanging stone column and was keen to test the technical aspect. Unfortunately, he could make only a vain attempt  to know the secret. No sooner had he tried to  dislodge the pillar  than, to his dismay, found out that it caused the movement of adjacent pillars  as well to maintain the equilibrium.  Fearing for his life, he ran out of the temple as fast as he could. The pillar is gently tilted due to his misadventure.
Geologically,  the place  is  more or less like a Shield Area and known for earth's stability. However, it is said, it is built as to   withstand any seismic event. The temple dating  back to 1583 was built by the brothers, Virupanna and Veeranna, who were initially in the service of the Vijayangar  rulers.
This temple is built in a place where according the legend  a huge bird Jatayu  and a devotee of Sri Rama of the Hindu epic  Ramayana fought with the demon king Ravana of Lanka when he was on his way to Lanka  after abducting Sri Rama's consort Sita in the jungle. In the ensuing battle in the sky, the bird  fell after being injured by Ravana. When Sri Rama came to the spot and saw the dying bird, he told  Sri Rama what had happened to him. Upon which Sri Rama  compassionately, said, “Le Pakshi” - ‘rise, bird’ in Telugu. hence the name of this place  is called Lapakshi.
The Lepakshi temple has countless  other architectural wonders. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veerabhadra_Temple,_Lepakshihttps://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/travel/The-hanging-pillar-and-other-wonders-of-Lepakshi/article13383179.ec